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Thursday, July 12, 2012


At the moment President Obama is engaged in painting his opponent, Mr. Romney, as an outsourcer. Which, by implication, must be very bad. 

Here is my issue.  Some, perhaps many, of those who demonize outsourcing also profess to be 1.) world citizens and 2.) supporters of wealth re-distribution.  Wouldn’t outsourcing address both of those concerns on a global basis?  (p.s. this post was driven by my conservative trait of “intolerance for ambiguity”).

The article below provides an alternate view of outsourcing.


  1. I have long wondered why I'm supposed to be upset at the idea of jobs moving overseas. No doubt I want my friends and neighbors here in the USA to have jobs, but I also want people in Indonesia and El Salvador to have jobs.

    I also admit to not being smart enough to have a fully formed opinion on this/anything.

  2. So Tom, are we to infer that you have no problem with outsourcing? Or are you merely pointing out the inconsistency of being anti outsourcing of American jobs and pro worldwide full employment?

    I'll go ahead and say that I see outsourcing as inevitable in a world economy. What we need is world labor unions. Given the total impracticality of that at this time, we'll have to let the market run its course and homogenize the world cost of labor, which will not be a short term process. (With all the various laws in the many countries I can only hope).

    1. Yes in both cases.

      1. As a business decision I have no problem with outsourcing (or the reverse in-sourcing) – across the street, across the nation, or across the pond.
      2. The current characterization of outsourcing as “shipping American job overseas” and as all bad does indeed bother me. If a business man selects a vendor based on price that seems reasonable. If the vendor happens to be overseas how does that suddenly become bad? Is outsourcing also bad when companies in other countries outsource to companies in the US. As you point out the world labor costs will eventually equalize in a free market. Indeed, many jobs outsourced to India in the 60s-80s are coming back home for that very reason.

  3. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3036697/ns/msnbc_tv-hardball_with_chris_matthews/#48180114

    I'm not a big fan of Chris Matthews' show on MSNBC, but I saw this clip earlier (he has a guest host today, Michael Smerconish, who I don't mind so much) and thought I'd share since it is also being discussed here at YA.

  4. I thought Kinsley did some nice "SCIPing" (a YA neologism) in his article. It does seem that outsourcing has something for everyone, promoting world citizenship and wealth distribution and unfettered free markets. Maybe this is why NAFTA enjoyed so much bipartisan support?

    I agree with Tom and Bruce (as well as Smerconsish's points that Dan referenced) that there seems to be a sort of global-market-inevitability about the practice. But it's hard for me to be enthused about it.

    For about a decade, my parents lived in a small town in the Appalachian hills of Virginia (my Dad was a public health dentist there, took a dental trailer around to elementary schools and saw all the "free lunch" kids). It's a beautiful part of the world, and somewhat depressed economically. After NAFTA, lots of small factory jobs "went south," and that hurt an already iffy local economy, hurt people my parents knew.

    It's hard to argue against the points Tom and Bruce raise. And as Dan's post suggests, yes, I sit here in my house literally surrounded with the returns of outsourcing. But in terms of what's best for the USA, my mind isn't made up as to how that should all work, and I'd guess I'm not alone. I'll be curious to see how much traction Obama's anti-outsourcing message gets.