When i wrote about offshoring last week, i got some advice from readers - "don't ignore the suffering of those who lose their jobs". It was good advice.
Well, my friend David Kirkpatrick got a lot more hate mail when he wrote about offshoring two weeks ago. In David's most recent column, he shares with us some of the most violent hate mail. It's worth reading. These people are angry.
Their anger and the pandering that the democratic candidates are now doing on this subject doesn't change my view on free trade and the free flow of jobs across national borders one bit. I think its good for the economy and its inevitable in the long run. As David points out in his column:
The economist Jagdish Bhagwati, who wrote "In Defense of Globalization," replied to Kerry on the New York Times op-ed page last Sunday. "In a world economy," he wrote, "firms that forgo cheaper suppliers of services are doomed to lose markets, and hence production. And companies that die out, of course, do not employ people." A similar point was made in a recent interview by Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore's founder and senior minister, speaking of the competition between nations, he said, "If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you're putting yourself out of business."
I really don't know what to say to these people who are out of work. But I do know that my companies that outsource some stuff to India and Russia also are hiring people in skills that aren't easily outsourced like sales, sales engineering, account management, system design, marketing, and business development.
I'd like to see these unemployed people's anger channeled in a productive way so that they can find new work. It may not be the same work, but working is a lot better than sitting at home fuming.