Outsourcing—Blessing or a Curse?
The world is flat; better get used to it
NAFTA will cause a giant sucking sound as jobs go south.
"Save Your Job, Save Our Country," January 1993
To watch Lou Dobbs on CNN rail nightly about the loss of U.S. jobs to overseas workers is to believe that we are all doing each other's laundry, but nobody is making the shirts, and that the entire economy will implode tomorrow.
Dobbs, 60, a Harvard graduate with a degree in economics, briefly worked for Union Bank in Los Angeles before moving to Yuma, Ariz. to take a $75-a-week job as a police and fire reporter. Except for a brief fling with the dot-com madness of 1999 when he left CNN to head up the Internet start-up, space.com, Dobbs has been a reporter and TV host virtually all his life.
In other words, Lou Dobbs has never been CEO of an established company that had to make hard choices about being efficient or being out of business.
Dobbs is not alone. The elimination of jobs by greedy American corporations whose only interest is saving money is red meat for self-righteous politicians who proclaim outrage and imply the entire process is positively unpatriotic.
In the view of many, Dobbs—and Ross Perot and the legion of hand-wringing fear mongers over the purported evils of outsourcing—is dead wrong.
Two weeks ago the Fifth Annual Donnelley Information Privacy Forum was held at the St. Regis Hotel in Aspen, Colo. Attendees were treated to truly fascinating sessions (including Q&As) featuring Bill Clinton, Colin Powell, the manic business guru Tom Peters and the Yale School of Management's peripatetic Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Ph.D., among others.
While the overall theme of the conference was privacy, the hot topic of outsourcing permeated many of the sessions. The title of the dinner discussion featuring Bill Clinton (Senator Hillary Clinton strolled in just as the festivities were getting under way) was "Outsourcing: Blessing or Curse for America."