A Little Controversy is Good
Last Thursday, one of our favorite weblogs, Rob's businesspundit.com, mentioned my "Outsourcing Scapegoats" note (October 14). That caught the attention of Jim of nyc99.com, who takes a dissenting view on the whole issue of outsourcing and offshoring in this post, probably because the phenomenon has affected him more directly than perhaps it has affected me. (By the way, if you were ever thinking about setting up a weblog of your own, Jim's site is clearly one of the best laid out blogs in cyberspace.)
Jim suggests that before forwarding my position, I should come up with a viable solution for displaced friends and neighbors. His solution, and the one continually put forth by Mr. Dobbs, is to protect ourselves from the blight of cheap foreign labor and, in effect, prepare ourselves to start paying $100 for a bunch of grapes we purchase at the supermarket. My solution: let friends and neighbors labor market hear the truth about what the markets are really telling us about the future, and act accordingly.
The negative consequences of government restrictions on outsourcing are worse than simply higher priced goods and services. Besides distorting basic pricing signals which underly the efficient functioning of economies in general, "protectionist" policies would artificially keep workers in the dark about the need to adapt to rapid shifts in the global economy underway. Jim's position seems to suggest that what you don't know can't hurt you. I say be prepared, for days of reckoning that are coming right at us.