Friday, July 13, 2012

US Companies Would Outsource Jobs To Be Near Suppliers, New Markets, Talent And Knowledge Of Local Tastes Even If Wages Were Not Lower

From Bloomberg Opinion, "Obama-Romney Debate Over Offshoring Is Phony and Harmful" by the Editors:
Virtually all U.S. companies and consumers have benefited from the lower cost of clothing, cars and computers made overseas. At the same time, hundreds of millions of people in emerging markets -- more than the entire population of the U.S. -- have climbed out of poverty because of the free flow of goods and services across borders. Globalization is transforming people in Asia and elsewhere into consumers of U.S. products. Eventually, some jobs will flow back to the U.S. because of rising wages abroad, a stronger Chinese currency and inexpensive natural gas. Such “inshoring” is already happening.

For U.S. corporations, globalization isn’t just about cheaper wages. Companies create jobs outside the U.S. to pursue sales opportunities in new markets, get closer to suppliers in fast-growing regions and employ people who understand local tastes. Even if labor costs were equal, companies would still hire abroad because that’s where the talent pool is. India, for example, has an abundance of young, college-educated IT workers. Companies that don’t do any of this for patriotic reasons will be at a disadvantage to European and Asian competitors, probably resulting in lost market share and more U.S. layoffs.

As millions of Americans who have seen their living standards diminished can attest, there are brutal downsides to globalization. U.S. institutions have done a poor job of cushioning the blows to workers compared with some other advanced economies such as Germany. But it’s a little late now for Obama, or any other politician, to pretend that offshoring is somehow unethical or un-American. [Emphasis Added.]

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