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Lonewacko wades into America's Debate About Outsourcing

IANAE, IFASOTAEMCMETGO*. Nevertheless, herewith are presented a few outsourcing links:

The WSJ reports that "Foreigners outsourced far more office work to the United States than American companies send abroad in 2003" (see the graphic). However, what do you expect the WSJ to say?

Paul Craig Roberts says in 'The Harsh Truth About Outsourcing' that the model on which outsourcing is based is outmoded due to the ease of transporting goods over borders (Internet, jet planes, etc.)

From 'Outsourcing critics cite labor laws in other nations':

Labor groups upset about job losses say U.S. companies are hiring workers in foreign countries in part because employment laws are often looser abroad... Employees working in foreign countries for U.S. companies are generally not covered by U.S. employment laws, which cover such issues as sexual harassment, age discrimination and worker safety. Instead, the workers are covered by employment laws in their own countries that U.S. labor officials say are often not as strict.

(Lonewacko notes: But, that's a good thing! China's problem with political dissent results in massive benefits to the U.S economy. Talk about win-win!)

From the NYT comes the article 'Experts See Vulnerability as Outsiders Code Software'

There are several good links about outsourcing here.

Yale Global is a blog about... globalization, and it's from Yale.

A blogging cheerleader of outsourcing is Daniel Drezner. He points to this attempt to a) smear Paul Craig Roberts via a neato ad hominem, and b) incidentally attack his thesis about Ricardo.

I posted the following comment to the Drezner post:

The example given in the &c article about the T-shirts and the software illustrates the fantasy world that those who only look at the bottom line inhabit. This is especially true among libertarians.

What if, for instance, the Chinese or the Indians think developing software is in their long term interests, and even if they can make more money selling T-shirts they decide to concentrate on software? What if they're thinking long-term and trying to make the U.S. lose its edge in software development? What if they want access to as much U.S. information as possible for, let's say, future reference? What if some of them want to insert trojan horses into things? Putting trojan horses into software is a lot easier than doing it with T-shirts.

As a software developer, I realize it's possible to insert difficult-to-detect bugs and trapdoors into software. Look up, for instance, MS's attempts to make it difficult to trace using a debugger portions of MS-DOS (or an early version of Windows, I forget). That was featured in one of those "Undocumented MS-DOS (or Windows)" books. Look up some of the other wacky tricks MS's crack engineers have used, like jumping into the middle of an instruction (turing data into an opcode). Imagine how difficult it would be to detect such trapdoors in a large system like an OS.

Seriously, some of these outsourcing/globalization proponents inhabit a fantasy world similar to that enjoyed by those who go to StarTrek conventions dressed as Ferengi. The ones who aren't delusional make Scrooge look like a short-sighted Catholic Worker.

*I Am Not An Economist, In Fact Any Sort Of Talk About Economic Matters Causes My Eyes To Glaze Over

Politics · Tue, 03/23/2004 - 00:05 · Importance: 1