Wednesday, January 28, 2004


Here's a great article by Wired on outsourcing, via Instapundit. A lot of folks in my old industry do not feel at all positive about this, naturally. But I agree with the writer of the article. The reason that the phrase "the only thing constant is change" has become such a cliche is that it's so true.

Coming off the heels of that review of The Last Samurai, the idea of change is still on my mind. It's really easy to romanticize yesterday- the farm seemed more romantic than the factory, which was better than the cubicle. But in free markets, change always improves the general welfare, because people make choices that are in their interest. That may seem simplistic, and it is a little bit, but it's worked for a long time.

Nobody has ever succeeded in stopping the forces of the future. Japan was perhaps the most successful, but they paid a heavy price for it. And that's the thing we need to realize- the adjustments will happen, and we can either let them happen now in an incremental way, or we can hold them off for a while and be forced to make them later in a much more catastrophic way. It's hard to argue with the market logic of an educated English-speaking Indian doing a job that costs $70K in America for $8K in India, and doing it just as well. If his services aren't as good as the American's, then the American's got nothing to worry about. The fact that the jobs are going overseas means that the consumers of the good, that is, the managers hiring labor, think they're getting a better return on their investment, and as free market economics has always taught us, it's the consumer of the good who's in the best position to make that decision.

We can't let the people who are being hurt by the change drive the policy. I'm all for compassion, and we should have it, but destructive self-interest frequently masquerades as compassion. Our farms learned to compete; so did our factories; so can our cubicle farms.

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