Why Do We Keep Giving Our Jobs Away?


This is an article I originally wrote back in December 2004 about the problem of outsourcing American jobs to other countries. I recently found it and was surprised at how nothing has changed in the last ten years and this piece is still pretty spot on. Actually things may be even worse. There’s a greater number of aging baby boomers to work some of these jobs, and they are having an even harder time, often being terminated from their jobs 10-15 years before retirement age, now dipping into their retirement savings to live – but that is another story for a different day.

I hope this trend of corporate greed at the expense of this country’s health and welfare changes soon. Personally, I think if you outsource jobs to other countries that can be done by American workers, you should be heavily taxed. I think companies who maintain their workforce in the United States should be given tax breaks, at least for a period of time.

I note in my article I am NOT an economist or historian, nor am I necessarily politically inclined, so I don’t know all the background about these types of things, but I know enough to know they can be done judiciously and pragmatically. Of course, this will most likely cut into some profit margins – so though it can be done, I am sure it would be a fight. In honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought I would share it with you & see what you think.

 Outsourcing American Jobs Dangerous Trend

I love to read Molly Ivins’ nationally syndicated column. Today’s article was Ivin’s review of two books. One of the books mentioned, “When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor” by William Julius Wilson, discussed the problems with joblessness in the inner city ghettos. She uses a quote from the book discussing his solutions, which she states as critical for all of us not just for poor inner-city blacks – “The problems of joblessness and social dislocation in the inner city are, in part, related to the processes in the global economy that have contributed to greater inequality & insecurity among American workers in general & to the failure of U.S. social policies to adjust to these processes. It is therefore myopic to view the problems of jobless ghettos as if they were separate from those that plague the larger society.”

This made me think, as I read, that a large percentage of the American workforce is now in danger of this “jobless ghetto” syndrome. I heard President Bush say, during one of the debates, that the key to ending unemployment and government assistance needs is EDUCATION for 21st century jobs. The way I see it, the market is becoming considerably service and technology based. The jobs of the 21st century are huge in the area of technical assistance (development, programming, maintenance) and customer service. These are also the jobs that have been outsourced to other countries, for considerably cheaper labor costs. This is a dangerous trend that has been on the rise in the last five years.

Now, I am not an economics or history expert, but the way it appears to me is that in the last half century jobs have increasingly changed in proportion concerning manufacturing and service-oriented jobs. In the early years of this country up until the first half of the 20th century, manufacturing was a huge part of the economic base. The last half of the 20th century saw a large majority of these jobs being outsourced to other countries because it was cheaper for the manufacturer. This left the service-oriented and technology fields as a way of providing jobs for American citizens. As proved from my last five calls to Dell, and other computer parts manufacturers they are involved with, ALL of their technical support has been outsourced, often times to places where the technicians’ English is accented so heavily, even if they are the most intelligent in the world, I can’t understand a word coming out of their mouths.

If we are sending all the manufacturing, customer service-oriented and technology jobs overseas, what jobs does that leave for Americans? Medical professionals, lawyers, dry-cleaners, and fast-food/restaurant jobs are a few of the jobs left. Do you recognize the large gap in salaries between the first two jobs I mentioned and the second two jobs – the haves and the have-nots?

Do not misunderstand me, I understand the importance of a global economy, but in my opinion we have taken the concept entirely too far. When there is no balance, a considerable amount of middle-class jobs disappear from the U.S. landscape. If this trend continues, jobless ghettos could be as common as tent cities during the Great Depression.

Just something I was thinking about, something I think about often actually.

(And RIP Molly Ivins, you are missed by many!!)

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12 thoughts on “Why Do We Keep Giving Our Jobs Away?

  1. Another thing disturbing is that now, even the better paying jobs, doctors, engineers, lawyers are hired from other countries, all being educated aboard and then brought to the U.S. and work here for less. So the job gap will decease but more toward the lesser wage. The U.S. worker both skilled and unskilled are being screwed. When the U.S. professionals “higher class” wake up to it maybe something will be done. A scary trend and serious problem. Good post!

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    1. Thanks distantshipsmoke2013 – I appreciate your kind words! Scary part is, I originally wrote this 10 years ago, noting the trend had already been going on at least 5 years. That makes 15+ years now & we wonder why unemployment is so high! Something needs to change, because the ramifications of it not changing could be severe for us all! Thanks for following!

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  2. I wish that jobs would stay in American – but people overseas will work more hours and for less pay. From a business stand point it makes sense to send the jobs to people who not only want and appreciate them, but work so incredibly hard for less money. Here, we want high pay, benefits, holidays, vacations, etc. So who are the bad guys? The corporations that are sending the jobs overseas or us for wanting so much? I don’t know how to answer that myself.

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    1. If I Won Powerball (oh I have a long list of things I would do if I won LOL) – that’s the problem, our country allows corporations to dangle a carrot out in front of some of the most disadvantaged & of course they suck it up in a heartbeat. They are being taken advantage of (totally another story for another day) and those companies are becoming richer & richer. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against wealthy people – I have many friends who do quite well for themselves. I have no animosity for, nor am I envious of, those who have more than me – typically, in my opinion, I have enough. I know many wealthy people are quite generous. I also am not a socialist – but if America wants to be great, we need to take care of our own. How can this country prosper when there are no jobs here. There needs to be some sort of patriotic civic responsibility by those corporations to support their own country in the game. To me, what they do is like America training their best athletes for the Winter Olympics & then rooting for Russia. AND I don’t think we – the American workforce in general – wants too much. We want to be equitably compensated and respected for what we do. We want jobs . . . come on corporate America how much profit is enough – because that’s what it all boils down to. The sad thing is, we shouldn’t need legislation, tax cuts, penalty tax . . . to me it should just be common sense. But money and greed and profits are heady . . .
      Sorry – that was a whole post all on it’s own . . . LOL! Thanks for the comment & the follow!!

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  3. I agree whole heartedly Sadie, even though I live in Canada – it is happening here too. Just yesterday I spoke with my phone carrier(Bell Canada) and it was in India. The problem unfortunately is intrinsic to our capitalist market driven economy. Even Socrates commented on it in 2,500 BC – the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Every year a larger percentage of the wealth is held by a smaller percentage of the population. Socrates said it would lead to a dictatorship as those few with the majority of the wealth put someone in power to protect their riches. (A democracy would eventually address this inequality because the majority wish it so – hence the power is taken from the democracy to protect those with a stake in maintaining status quo.) Even Roosevelt once said that the occasional revolution is necessary to balance societies.

    Having studied business, I can easily see why the business structure and rules we currently have will inevitably lead to one of these bad ends eventually. I hope ferverently that there is another solution but minds much greater than mine have declared not. This is a very large trend and will likely take centuries to play out but seems unavoidable. We have time to work on it but my guess is that those who would have to support any change would likely not wish to participate to their own detriment.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Paul! I totally agree – not sure how to fix the problem exactly and your right, it’s not in the best interest of those that can facilitate change. AND when I get someone in India, representing an American company, I ask to speak to someone on American soil & I am transferred to someone who at least sounds American, I am always nice about it, & understand everyone needs to work, but I expect my country’s companies to have representation here at home. Since you mentioned it 🙂 – there’s been talk of a revolution here since the 1960’s ☮☮

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  4. “jobless ghettos”

    Generates a scary image, but too true.

    Sadie, I have a lot of stuff on Molly Ivins on my site. I do hope you might check that out sometime.

    At any rate, it gladdens me when I meet someone who appreciates and remembers Molly, a great Texan for good and damn! was she funny!
    I have read all her books and ferreted out all I could from You-tube.

    Thanks for visiting my site. I appreciate your time.
    –Lance

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    1. Lance, yes very scary images . . .
      Glad to meet a fellow Molly fan 😉 I have been slowly but surely making my way through your site . . . with great enjoyment! Have laughed & learned!! Thank you for that & thanks for commenting!!

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  5. Interesting piece, I think we’ve have exactly the same thing in the UK. I don’t know what the solution is, if indeed their is “a solution”. Adapt and survive are my only useful thoughts. Warm regards Don

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