Offshore outsourcing: can it be reversed?

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester, 12/9/12

For as long as most of us can remember, our society collectively has been sending work and jobs abroad.

I just saw the holiday exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum, including the usual model train display. What struck me there this time, since I was mulling over my current topic, was that after World War II the US government encouraged the importation of model trains from Japan (some under American brand names), in order to help restore one small part of a defeated enemy’s economy. That was very nice of us. I suppose American importers got a good deal, the taxpayer probably helped, and US model train factories probably lost business and workers.

In the 1950′s I recall struggling along with my father to install in our front hallway a sliding closet door made in Japan. It was a real operational challenge and the instructions were virtually incomprehensible, clearly written by a Japanese worker with a spotty school background in English. Well, that situation evolved rapidly.

For a couple of decades now, Chinese imports (almost entirely cutting off the Japanese and subsequent Mexican sources) have had clear and fluent instructions. Our phone operators in India are trained to speak with American accents, and Dinesh is given a new customer service identity as Dennis. After all, this is globalization, which for us means that everyone should sound like us (or, at a minimum, they should make sense to us).

Will jobs that have been outsourced abroad ever return to the US? …

continue reading at Politics: A View from West Chester

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax, Nathaniel Smith

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