Commentary

Whatís fair about outsourcing?

Reason’s Jacob Sullum notes that cutting and pasting with desktop publishing software has replaced actual cutting and pasting. It’s also eliminated those publishing jobs associated with the obsolete method: Was that fair? The question can’t really be answered, and the reason goes to the heart of the ongoing debate about offshore outsourcing of jobs by U.S. companies. Fairness, a concept appropriate in resolving schoolyard disputes and adjudicating legal cases, does not apply to market outcomes, which are not dictated by a referee or judge but arise spontaneously from the interactions of myriad individuals engaged in voluntary, mutually beneficial exchange. Like the people who used to work in newspaper composing rooms, call center employees replaced by lower-wage workers in India don’t “deserve” to lose their jobs. But that does not mean they have a right to keep them, any more than candle makers had a right to block electric lighting or blacksmiths had a right to prevent the introduction of the automobile. Read the whole article here.

Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.