5.05.2004

Hooray for outsourcing Newsday.com (5/2)

It's no surprise that outsourcing is so intense an issue this election year: America is far from recovering all the payroll jobs it lost in the recession that ended in 2001. Outsourcing - American businesses sending jobs abroad - seems a plausible cause of the sluggish job recovery.

Worse, although it has been common in manufacturing for decades, it is now affecting higher-paid, more technical occupations - jobs like writing software, interpreting X-rays, or manning computer help-desks; the kinds of jobs that appear intrinsically linked to a bright U.S. economic future. In the high-tech recession, for example, computer maker Dell Inc. dumped 5,700 U.S. jobs, then hired 2,000 workers in India to field tech-support calls.

Politicians are eager to respond with laws to discourage sending jobs abroad but such reactions are premature: It's way too early to assess whether outsourcing poses a substantial threat to U.S. workers or the economy. Estimates put the number of jobs affected in the 250,000-300,000 range, but there's little hard data to back that up.

More to the point, economists of various political persuasions agree: Outsourcing is fundamentally good for the nation's economic growth, and so for American workers. By cutting the cost of doing business, it makes U.S. companies more competitive; it allows them to concentrate on what they do best; it therefore encourages creation of more highly skilled and highly paid jobs. By spurring growth abroad it creates new markets for U.S. goods; and it helps hold down costs for American consumers.

Yes it creates markets for U.S goods: none of which are made in America anymore.

This article is such total bullshit, read on...
But what outsourcing also unequivocally does is hurt American workers who lose jobs that are shipped to India or Ireland or South Africa. And what America has not done is provide sufficiently to ease the pain of that kind of dislocation and to speed the return of workers to well-paid and satisfying work.

That's not just a political issue: Losing a job means not only lost income, but also lost confidence and lost productivity. It can mean personal anguish, family turmoil and uprooting to find new work.

It also means lost tax revenues, strained social services, empty office buildings (uh oh, someone's gonna lose some money there), the loss of skills and knowledge... oh the list goes on and on and on. Unfortunately so does this silly opinion piece.
That's the worry: Losing a job to a software company down the road or to a call center in Omaha doesn't seem nearly as threatening as losing it to an Asian nation where pay is a fraction of what it is in this country. Those low costs suggest high-tech service jobs will move abroad wholesale, and pull down the wage scale for American high-tech workers in the process. Another worry: It seems to mean that income that would otherwise circulate in this country will go benefit India or Canada or the Philippines, at America's expense.

Both worries are overstated.

Oh gee, thanks: >whew<
Compared to the size of the U.S. work force - about 135 million people - the 250,000 jobs a year that may be going abroad now is a modest number. During much of the '90s, the U.S. economy routinely generated that many new jobs every month; in March it added over 300,000 jobs in this country. Besides, U.S. trade statistics that track flows of funds for services show no surge going into offshoring; this country takes in $60 billion more a year in income for services Americans sell to buyers abroad than U.S. firms and consumers pay for service bought from overseas.

And as we all know, those firms are just giving out that money to the unemployed! Yay! Problem solved! Isn't America great? USA!! USA!!
Good jobs stay home

The kind of tech jobs that do get offshored tend to be those that can be routinized, requiring less skill and commanding less pay. Work that requires close communication with clients or key coworkers, or an awareness of what competitors are up to or of U.S. market conditions, won't go abroad.

What assholes this bastard at Newsday is. We'd like to introduce them to these folks and explain that they didn't need their silly old jobs because they weren't any good anyways.

We can't wait until they start offshoring newspaper editors and columnists. Bastards.

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