Hundreds of thousands of American lives were lost gaining the independence of America. Since America’s birth, the nation has risen to become an icon, a super power, a land of freedom, and opportunity. With globalization America is losing its independence. Outsourcing brings us never seen before problems. Rising unemployment, education decline, importing problems, and using American monies to boost foreign economies are what we can expect from outsourcing jobs to foreign countries.
Because American corporations and manufacturers are outsourcing American jobs, unemployment in America is on the rise. Job losses are continuing to increase due to outsourcing and show no signs of stopping. Unemployment rates are climbing to phenomenal rates. Unemployment rates, since the “mild recession” of 2001 have risen from 4%-6%, a 50% increase (Nounou & Yasgur, 2003). New York City’s unemployment rates have skyrocketed to a rate of 8.6%, higher then the national average (Nounou & Yasgur).
We have heard that outsourcing is a new form of international trade and would help the United States (U.S.) in the long run. What has started out as a slow flow of manufacturing relocation is becoming a raging river of job relocation outside of the U.S. White collar outsourcing is expected to increase up to 40% over the next five years with 3.3 million service related jobs moving offshore by the year 2015 (Otterman, 2004). The amount of job relocation is equivalent of a major city’s population. This brings up concerns for future employment for our younger generations.
Outsourced American jobs are not coming back and more American jobs are leaving the U.S. Houston (2006) says that any position in America that can be outsourced, or any product that can be manufactured at a cheaper rate, has the potential to be taken from American workers and relocated to foreign countries. Not only are American service jobs at risk for outsourcing, but white collar, technical positions, and occupations that require higher education are at risk to outsourcing as well (Otterman, 2004). Otterman states that 473,000 information and technology positions will be moved offshore by the year 2015.
The decline in American education in certain knowledge based areas can be attributed to outsourcing as well. According to pro-globalization groups, outsourcing will increase the need for skilled labor in America. This should mean that America will see an increase in education, specifically in the area of technology. These “skilled labor” positions requiring higher education are flooding out of America, being outsourced to foreign countries. An American worker is not going to pursue a degree in a discipline that cannot be used in the workforce of the U.S. In the next 8 years over 500,000 information-technology and customer service related positions will be relocated to India alone (Gerdes, 2006). According to Gerdes electrical engineers unemployment rates are sitting at 6.2%. Do we not need anymore electrical engineers? Worker’s unions now are complaining about job losses requiring an educational discipline being outsourced (Ribeiro, 2005).
Education of American workers is paramount for our country if we want to be able to maintain the needs of our own people. How can we urge the education of the fields that are being outsourced when our students graduate they have no job availability due to outsourcing? Will America resort to paying astronomical amounts of money to foreign countries with these educational backgrounds to come to the U.S. and provide the same services we are outsourcing?
Job positions that are being outsourced can still be found in the U.S. but these positions are not lucrative to the American worker. Wage inequality has made it so the prospective workers have to lower their standard of living to be able to provide for their needs (Nounou & Yasgur, 2003). American students will have a problem with spending approximately 40,000 dollars on an education that will yield them only a 30,000 dollar a year job.
Outsourcing challenges America with importing problems. Balancing supply and demand from foreign markets and customer service are occurring problems. Post 9/11 port delays from the scrutiny of the Department of Homeland Security hinder the speedy delivery of products from reaching the American consumer (Trommer, 2007). Outsourced customer service representatives in foreign countries have no investment in the American public and cultural barriers become problems for the customers. Accents, cultural differences, and poorly spoken English make it easy for misunderstandings to become common between the customer service representative and the American consumer. These misunderstandings cause frustration on both sides of the phone line. Being thousands of miles away from the American customer makes it easy for a service agent to represent falsely the company they work for and make false promises of resolution to the customer.
With outsourcing, American companies save on the cost of manufacturing of goods and the importation of mined materials. Yes, outsourcing does do this for America, but at what cost? The U.S. is willingly contributing to child labor and the violation of human rights. Is this too harsh of a statement to make? Outsourcing is not done to increase foreign relations, make better quality products, increase trade, or improve the American economy; it boils down simply to economics. Diamonds mined by child slavery find there way to the fingers of American brides. Child miners working 12 hour shifts work for food but receive no wages (Foreign Policy, 2005). According to Foreign Policy, diamonds uncovered in these African mines take only weeks to travel to India to be cut and polished and land in showrooms across the world, including America. India cuts and polishes 70% of the world’s diamonds (Foreign Policy). The child labor force in India earns about 60 dollars a month and the children sleep on the floors of the factories they work in (Foreign Policy). According to Foreign Policy, last year 4.5 billion dollars were spent on engagement rings alone.
“If you have gone to shop for a new soccer ball for your child there is a good possibility that this product has been made by someone your child’s age or younger” (Azam, 1996, ¶1). According to Azam, over half of the world’s soccer balls are made in Pakistan. Azam states that four and five-year-old children who are hand stitching these soccer balls will earn an astounding 60 cents per day. At what cost are the outsourcing companies willing to do to save money?
Outsourcing is supposed to boost the American economy; instead American monies flooding into foreign markets are boosting the wrong economy. American monies that should stay in the U.S. to pay American workers are being sent to foreign economies. Statistics show that by the year 2015, 136 billion dollars in wages will leave America to pay outsourced workers (Nounou & Yasgur, 2003). Nounou and Yasgur show us that countless numbers of jobs are being created, just not in the U.S.
American money is raising economical growth and the quality of life in foreign markets, while the same is declining in America. Studies show that the growth of India’s IT based jobs during 2001-2002 increased 70% due to American outsourcing (Nounou & Yasgur, 2003). Foreign educational fields are increasing in knowledge based areas due to the need for the newly created specialized jobs in these foreign countries.
America is losing its independence by becoming dependent on products we are now outsourcing. The American workforce is demanding higher paying jobs and more job opportunity while corporations and manufacturers are turning a deaf ear. Education in the fields we outsourced will become scarce. Our products will continue to be made by slave labor, which is a practice America has said we stand against. Foreign countries will soon surpass America economically and the foreign economy we built will start to demand higher reasonable rates from these outsourcing companies. America stands to benefit by exporting our services and products by producing the quality products America is known for and allowing America’s experts to provide services to foreign countries. By doing this we would see an increase in American employment, a rise in education, less of a dependency for imported goods, and a tremendous boost in the American economy. Stripping off the façade that surrounds outsourcing reveals the simple truth. Outsourcing only benefits corporations and manufacturers with financial gain and cripples the American people. We need to fight for an independent America once again.
*Note from the author: This paper is written and well researched from the Devil’s Advocates point of view. I strongly believe that interdependence on foreign nations can benefit all parties involved. However, concerns and issues surrounding globalization and trade are real. Regardless of where you stand, one must be able to view both sides of the issue when making decisions on how a country should view foreign policy.
Azam, F. (1996, June). NIKE: Nike shoes and Child Labor in Pakistan. Retrieved June 22, 2007, from http://www.american.edu/TED/nike.htm
Foreign Policy (2005). A Trail of Diamonds. In Foreign Policy (pp. 84-89).
Gerdes, L. I. (2006). Outsourcing Threatens American Workers. In Opposing Viewpoints: Globalization. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
Houston, P. D. (2006). Barking Up the Right Tree. In Phi Delta Kappan, 88, (p.67). : Retrieved June 11, 2007, from InfoTrac OneFile via Thomson Gale: from http://find.galegroup.com/ips/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T002&prodId=IPS&docId=A151608644&source=gale&userGroupName=uphoenix&version=1.0
Nounou, E., & Yasgur, S. (2003). E-Journal: the Impact of Outsourcing on the American Worker. Drum Major Institute. Retrieved June 22, 2007, from http://drummajorinstitute.org/library/article.php?ID=5195
Otterman, S. (2004). TRADE: Outsourcing Jobs. In Council on Foreign Relations: Retrieved June 22, 2007, from http://www.cfr.org/publication/7749/
Ribeiro, J. (2005). Indian call center workers charged with Citibank fraud. In InfoWorld. : IDG News Service. Retrieved June 22, 2007, from http://www.infoworld.com/archives/emailPrint.jsp?R=printThis&A=/article/05/04/07/HNcitibankfraud_1.html
Trommer, D. (2007). Intensified Import/Export Initiatives Imperil Electronics Supply Chain. In Briefing Center: Retrieved June 22, 2007, from http://www.distributioninsider.eetimes.com/intensified.jhtml