A modest proposal for solving outsourcing

Put forward by Alexei Izyumov in the Boston Globe:

We may not want to admit it, but every time we buy a foreign-made product, we inflict direct damage on the US job market. When we choose a Daewoo over a Ford, someone in the Detroit area loses his paycheck. When we load up on Chinese-made suits or Indian shirts, another textile factory in South Carolina closes down. On average, every American is directly or indirectly responsible for more than $5,000 in imports annually. Other things being equal, this means that import purchases by every 10 American consumers effectively send one domestic job abroad.

So, why are we hearing so much about corporate offshore outsourcing and so little about the job outsourcing by consumers? Everybody seems to hate corporate CEOs selling US jobs to foreigners on the cheap. But on moral grounds the crime committed by ordinary consumers looks even worse. If anybody deserves the Benedict Arnold label, they do.


We hereby appeal to all professional economic patriots, especially these among state and federal legislators: Do not waste your energy fighting the paper tigers of corporate outsourcing. Have courage and go after the main enemy. Make these traitorous consumers repent! Lead them by the way of personal example: Allow no more Italian suits, French perfume, German cars, or Chilean wine in your households. And no more foreign trips either -- you know that every vacation spent in Paris or Cancun means tourism jobs lost in Chicago or New Orleans or Boston.

Leading by example may not be enough. Some stubborn consumers will not give up their imported toys voluntarily. In that case, you will need to take harsher measures. Consumers are switching to foreign beer? Slap on a tariff of 100 percent! Still drinking? Make it 1,000 percent. Set a quota on imported cars and make the price of a Kia higher than that of a Cadillac. Do all that is necessary to stop the invasion of imports, even if it takes shutting off the borders. It can be done. Just look at North Korea.

[via Daniel Drezner]

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The "main enemy" is

The "main enemy" is government subsidies to the export of capital: transportation subsidies; foreign aid and World Bank loans for infrastructure projects to support capital investments overseas; political support to repressive, anti-labor regimes; political guarantees of foreign investment against nationalization; and international patent accords protecting Western capital against the rise of native-owned competition.

something else the

something else the opponents of outsourcing don't understand is that it is a two-way exchange. When corporations go abroad a lot of infrastructure resources are required. High bandwidth connections, new workstations and servers, and all sorts administrative costs (i.e. travel, phone calls, etc)

in turn, those young Indian teenagers that are faking their names and accents to help you get your credit cards statement corrected over the phone are also buying the latest CDs and fashions from the US.

So all those guys losing their minimum wage jobs in the US are bound to get better paying jobs when they learn a new more advanced skill set.

What's unfortunate with this

What's unfortunate with this op/ed is a not-insignificant portion of it's readers will think the "solutions" should be imposed as soon as possible, even if in diluted form.

Interestingly, the article

Interestingly, the article was 9 paragraphs long, and it took me until the 7th paragraph until I realized the column was (thankfully) satirical.

What Hueter said. In a

What Hueter said. In a post-reductio world, we shouldn't be giving protectionists any ideas.

I'd just point out that "Buy

I'd just point out that "Buy American" makes as much sense as "Buy Third World".

The “main enemy” is

The “main enemy” is government subsidies to the export of capital

Nonsense. State subsidies to capital represent a tiny fraction of the trillions of dollars of capital movement every day, unless you consider state securing property and enforcing contracts to be a subsidy.

- Josh

He forgot the importance of

He forgot the importance of holding public demonstrations where you smash Japanese radios...