What goes around... comes around!
NYTimes columnist, Thomas L. Friedman, currently in India joins the outsourcing debate with a sensible argument backed with facts.
"What goes around..." [NYTimes registration required] argues why it is good for the Westerns countries to outsource jobs to India...
"How can it be good for America to have all these Indians doing our white-collar jobs?" I asked 24/7's founder, S. Nagarajan....
Well, he answered patiently, "look around this office." All the computers are from Compaq. The basic software is from Microsoft. The phones are from Lucent. The air-conditioning is by Carrier, and even the bottled water is by Coke, because when it comes to drinking water in India, people want a trusted brand. On top of all this, says Mr. Nagarajan, 90 percent of the shares in 24/7 are owned by U.S. investors. This explains why, although the U.S. has lost some service jobs to India, total exports from U.S. companies to India have grown from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $4.1 billion in 2002. What goes around comes around, and also benefits Americans.
"It's unfair that you want all your products marketed globally," argues Mr. Kulkarni, "but you don't want any jobs to go."Now if only the demagogues who see things in black and white would stop to consider that outsourcing has many shades to it!!
He's right. Which is why we must design the right public policies to keep America competitive in an increasingly networked world, where every company — Indian or American — will seek to assemble the best skills from around the globe. And we must cushion those Americans hurt by the outsourcing of their jobs. But let's not be stupid and just start throwing up protectionist walls, in reaction to what seems to be happening on the surface. Because beneath the surface, what's going around is also coming around. Even an Indian cartoon company isn't just taking American jobs, it's also making them.