--> Gill Blog: A Little Controversy is Good

Gill Blog

Monday, October 20, 2003

A Little Controversy is Good

I was once involved in a great organization called Toastmasters. Not only was it a fantastic place to hone the art of public speaking, but it also worked wonders in sharpening one's debating skills. Get a little Toastmasters training under your belt, and you could debate anybody. The underlying assumption, of course was that such debate would occur face to face. Wouldn't you know it, this little thing called the Internet came along and threw all the old rules out the window! All is not lost, however, as we now we have these amazing little forums called weblogs. Although my intention is to stay entirely focussed on the emerging world of real estate continuity (unless, of course, I am distracted by the sight of pigs in flight), I'm going to shift gears for a moment and transform the platform into a soap box so I can put my debating hat on. Now where the heck is that Toastmasters cheat sheet...ah yes, right here...

Last Thursday, one of our favorite weblogs, Rob's, mentioned my "Outsourcing Scapegoats" note (October 14). That caught the attention of Jim of, 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.


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