Feb 222004
Authors: Colleen Buhrer

There is talk, and some action, about outsourcing jobs that can

be done cheaper in foreign countries. At a time with high

unemployment rates in the United States, is it smart to be sending

jobs overseas?

“President Bush’s top economist, N. Gregory Mankiw, said last

week that outsourcing was ‘probably a plus for the economy in the

long run,'” reported the Washington Post last week.

Mankiw supports the theory of comparative advantage, which

argues that countries should specialize in the products they can

produce the cheapest and import everything else. So, as Mankiw told

Congress, “If a thing or a service could be produced more cheaply

abroad, then Americans were better off importing it than producing

it at home,” according to The Economist. “As an example, Mr. Mankiw

uses the case of radiologists in India analyzing the X-rays, sent

via the Internet, of American patients.”

It is true that this method has been shown to be successful in

the long run, but how does that help our economy right now?

Right now, people are out of jobs. Approximately 60,000 people

in the Denver metro area are searching for jobs right now,

according to Glennda Alcarez, from Arapahoe Douglas Works! How does

outsourcing jobs help these people right now?

This is the flaw in Mankiw’s plan. By sending more jobs

overseas, the economy may be slowed even more in the short run. The

economy needs more time to rebound. It is too early to be

aggressive with a still faltering economy.

Despite the fact that the business-funded Conference Board’s

research shows that the economy has been improving since last

spring, Ken Goldstein, the group’s economist, warns that bumps in

the road can still hinder the rebounding economy, according to the

Washington Post.

“Consumer confidence could falter if job and wage growth don’t

continue to strengthen,” Goldstein said in the article.

It has been argued that outsourcing will not change anything

because it “accounts for a tiny proportion of the jobs constantly

being created and destroyed within America’s economy,” according to

the Economist. But tell that to the radiologist, to use Mankiw’s

example, who just lost her job to someone in India.

Regardless of how many jobs outsourcing takes away, it is still

taking away jobs at a time when they are desperately needed.

Outsourcing may be good in the long run, but taking these jobs

away hurts an already weakened economy right now.

Colleen is the managing editor for The Collegian. She is double

major in political science and technical journalism.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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