A Side of Outsourcing You Won't Hear From Lou Dobbs
Outsourcing and the Internet are helping "microbusiness" owners to thrive, USA Today reported in a recent edition. That’s funny. As Lou Dobbs would have us believe, outsourcing does nothing but turn middle class Americans into economic cannon fodder for major corporations.
"Competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency are nothing more than code words for 'cheaper labor,'" Dobbs complained in the "Exporting America" chapter of his latest book "War on the Middle Class."
By "finding cheaper labor all over the world," major corporations have created a level playing field all right, "they obviously mean to cut the American standard of living down to the level of the third world," snarked the Harvard-educated business anchor.
But far from being reduced to eating beans and rice and living in sodden hovels, American entrepreneurs have coupled outsourcing with ingenuity and made successful businesses based on the Internet.
"Fed up with rising labor costs, a new generation of entrepreneurs is launching millions of tiny companies" without hiring any full-time employees. At some 20 million workers they comprise one-sixth of the civilian non-government labor force, USA Today reporter Jim Hopkins noted in his December 11 Money section story.
"In place of paid employees, owners harness new technologies to outsource work, often linking up with other like-minded” innovators to harness “a virtual assembly line spanning the globe," Hopkins added. One microbusiness owner, "Mary Ferrin experts to sell $150,000 in party games this year, a 50% jump from 2005."
Of course Ferrin does outsource work to partners "in Greece and Canada" but as an individual member of the middle class herself, would she constitute a defector in Dobbs’s so-called war?
In a February 7, 2005, Mother Jones magazine interview, Dobbs insisted that regulation to stop outsourcing may be "entirely necessary" before adding that he’s "all for it" with "apologies to the libertarians."
Dobbs’s apologies might also be due to innovators like Lisa and Mark Solomon, a husband and wife team who sell gifts at thebillablehour.com. Government regulation is one factor preventing them from hiring staff.
The high cost of "workers’ compensation insurance, health benefits, federal and state payroll taxes, and complying with workplace regulations" prove a significant disincentive for the Solomons to place employees on the payroll, Hopkins reported.