Saturday, February 14, 2004

Outsourcing and levels of analysis

My contribution to a discussion on MaxSpeak entitled (ironically) OUTSOURCING IS GOOD FOR YOU:



I'm puzzled that people have such a hard time with questions like this. Regardless of the details of various economic theories, it's perfectly possible that outsourcing and free trade, like many other large-scale social changes, is a net gain in the aggregate and in the long-term, yet causes much misery to individuals in the short term.



For an analogy, industrialization caused tremendous misery and dislocations, but was on the whole a good thing. Globalization is likely to be the same, although we don't know yet.



It's not surprising that academic economists should take the long-term view and support this process while ordinary individuals put their own self-interest first. Trying to come up with a binary answer to "outsourcing: good or bad" seems incredibly simpleminded to me.



Or as Aleister Crowley put it, "The universe is a practical joke of the general at the expense of the particular."

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