RE: Don't believe the offshore hype?

Subject: RE: Don't believe the offshore hype?
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2004 12:14:24 -0500

> Now, it seems to me that such a policy runs afoul of
> reality on several levels. US consumers and US workers
> are one and the same; a company that large is its own
> market, and can't get rid of one without losing the other.

While that may be good rhetoric, it's poor logic. Microsoft employees are
NOT the major consumers of Microsoft products. Nor does (did) the US big
three auto manufacturers ever sell the majority of their automobiles in
the Detroit area. Steel mill workers and other raw material transformation
workers are several layers removed in the economics of steel consumption.

The recent spat over steel imports to the US reflects how the US worker =
US consumer argument is simplistic and refuses to encompass the realities
of an interdependent and complex economy. The tariffs are to be lifted
under the influence of automakers who claim that for every job saved in
the steel industry more were lost in the auto manufacturing sector.

Should those same US companies lose their international customers, many US
jobs would disappear. You can't honestly discuss protectionist measures
while denying the reality that refusing to buy from "other" locales also
immediately implies those "other" locales will stop buying from you. And
how do you define "other" locale? North Carolina is far cheaper than
Silicon Valley or New York City, Montreal cheaper than Vancouver or
Toronto, New Jersey is perhaps cheaper than Connecticut, a town an hour
away may have better conditions for a factory or office. All of these
moves have the same impact on "local" workers. Reacting vociferously only
once an imaginary line defining "others" is crossed is a little late (and
I'd add the 'R' card as well).

Regardless, of where the jobs go they will go or change. Job migration is
a reality that has existed ever since workers started specialising and
stopped being peasants working on sustenance farms and making their own
tools. Job elimination and evolution are undeniable realities as well. If
you don't want jobs to migrate, your productivity has to be better than
the competition's, or your quality or function has to be better than the
competition's to satisfy a niche market. Job elimination due to outside
competition (competing products) or internal productivity increases is a
harder beast to tame.

Food production is now a multi-billion dollar industry vastly larger than
it was in the early part of this century. Yet, a tiny fraction of our
respective populations now work the land. Would it be preferable to go
back to the days when 90% of the population did farm work?

Similarly, cottage industry lost out to factories as those could beat the
productivity of the local manufacturers. Manufacturing jobs are lost as
the factory next door wins more marketshare. Jobs are lost as the factory
modernises and productivity goes up. Or, the job numbers stay stagnant and
become a diminishing percentage of the population under those same
conditions. There has been a sharp reduction in manufacturing jobs (both
real and as a percentage of the overall workforce) long before sending the
work to Mexico or Asia were acceptable.

The only way you can keep all the jobs and conditions as they are today is
to punish innovation and reward mediocrity. The USSR tried that already.
5-year production plans and all. I think you can judge for yourself how
glamorous that success was.

WORLD workers = WORLD consumers. :P

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer

PS: Sorry for the slightly incoherent rant ...


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RE: Don't believe the offshore hype?: From: France Baril

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