All entries for Saturday 14 January 2006

January 14, 2006

Outsourcing Primer

The Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment hosts an easy to read document on outsourcing which answers some frequently asked questions. On this issue what jobs will take prominence in the US & Europe as many tasks are carried out elsewhere, it says the following

Uncertainty frightens people. Imagine telling a farmer in 1900 that in 100 years, farm jobs will only be 2 percent of the workforce. What jobs could possibly come along to replace the farming jobs?

Federal Express and Motorola and Intel and Microsoft and General Motors; The farmer couldnít imagine the products that these companies would make.

Imagine being told a decade ago that some people would make their living writing software for iTunes. ďWhatís iTunes? Oh, itís a place where people download music into their iPods. What is downloading music?Ē

Think how much the world has changed in just 10 years, and all the jobs we couldnít have imagined that are now here. A quarter of all Americans now work in jobs that didnít exist in the Census Bureauís occupation codes in 1967.

Read it in full here.

Itís understandable why smart individuals who see value in concrete plans and forecasts find such suggestions unacceptable; the desire to take control of proceedings and engineer an ideal state of affairs though intervention is irresistible though history suggests itís misguided. Few politicians would stand up and admit that their knowledge of future technological developments, patterns of competitiveness and consumer preferences, both here and abroad, is severely constrained. Therefore actively preventing the outsourcing movement is at least as risky as embracing it, particularly when we consider the higher average living standards resulting from the latter policy.

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