OUTSOURCING AMERICA

Maybe you've noticed that America's call-center jobs are largely being outsourced to India. Well, you say, I'm more skilled than that, so I can't worry about it. Then you note that our accounting jobs, legal research, and architectural drafting work is being taken to India, too – but, hey, you do sophisticated stuff, so you can't sweat those losses. Lately though, you've also seen that our country's high-tech computer jobs are being shipped to India – and uh-oh, that's getting close to what you do. Still, you say, I'm a professional, by gollies, so I'm okay.

Maybe you’ve noticed that America’s call-center jobs are largely being outsourced to India. Well, you say, I’m more skilled than that, so I can’t worry about it. Then you note that our accounting jobs, legal research, and architectural drafting work is being taken to India, too – but, hey, you do sophisticated stuff, so you can’t sweat those losses. Lately though, you’ve also seen that our country’s high-tech computer jobs are being shipped to India – and uh-oh, that’s getting close to what you do. Still, you say, I’m a professional, by gollies, so I’m okay.

Well… good luck. The latest surge of jobs heading to India might well include yours. Such outfits as Citigroup, Boeing, and Eli Lilly are now moving out the work of white-collar elites – including investment banking, aircraft design, and the clinical testing of drugs. “High-end outsourcing” is the new wave, and it’s pulling away the professional work of well-educated Americans who’ve been enjoying six-figure salaries, nice homes, and the good life.

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Economist Alan Binder, a former top official at the Federal Reserve, says: “We have, so far, barely seen the tip of the offshoring iceberg, the eventual dimensions of which may be staggering.” How staggering? Binder says that up to 42 million American workers – about one-third of us – are looking at a rude awakening.

What’s the middle-class future then? Binder says America needs to increase jobs that have to be done in person so they can’t be outsourced – jobs like doctors and police officers. Yeah, well, I’m thinking we’ll need lots of police officers to contain everyone who can’t be a doctor! And… how exactly, are the rest of us to pay for seeing the doctor?

It used to be “them” who had to worry about outsourcing. Now it’s “us.” Our politicians have got to quit pretending that this is not a problem – and start developing policies to revitalize American’s middle-class.

“India’s Edge Goes Beyond Outsourcing,” New York Times, April 4, 2007.

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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