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Edward Hugh has a lively and enjoyable Facebook community where he publishes frequent breaking news economics links and short updates. If you would like to receive these updates on a regular basis and join the debate please invite Edward as a friend by clicking the Facebook link at the top of the right sidebar.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003


Looking over a bit more the Econ4Dean site I, like Frans, am pleased to see that they are not a group of uncritical whimps. One of the difficulties I have with supporting a political party is the apparent need to put up and shut up. It is also, as I now understand, not an official campaign site, but rather a group of Dean-supporting bloggers with an economy oriented site. As such I have no difficulty at all putting them in my sidebar. Additionally they are dealing with the revelant issues:

One aspect of the outsourcing debate that I think has been overlooked by most sides is that it is not just lower-level IT jobs that are being outsourced to India. Because of India's preeminent technology universities, the country is producing workers who are able to do the kind of innovative high end research and development work that is done in the U.S............

On the one hand, this high-level outsourcing implies a tremendous source of productivity growth through cost savings that results in lower prices for consumers, greater profits, higher exports of goods and also eventually some offsetting job creation in this country. It also does a tremendous amount for India, whose workers have devoted themselves to the kind of intense training that is required to perform at the highest standards in the world. Why should they be deprived of the opportunity to earn their rewards?

On the other hand, as with international trade, generally, this outsourcing has created a geographically concentrated set of dislocated workers in specific industries (e.g. software engineers in the Bay Area) . Only these workers are workers who are already quite high-skilled and for whom its not so obvious what the next rung on the ladder is. This makes the standard economist line of job assistance, retraining and relocation seem somewhat out of place. Still, what exactly are the policy alternatives? While the transition will certainly be painful --as it has always been for blue-collar workers-- eventually a growing economy will provide the new jobs that are not always apparent to us now. The most sensible policy is to make a real effort to cushion the blow through programs like trade-related unemployment assistance and health care subsidies which are currently vastly underfunded and not applied to the service sector that has been hit by outsourcing. America's demographic shift in the coming years will also provide new opportunities as many skilled workers will be leaving the labor force.

Incidentally, love him or hate him, I think you have to recognise that his supporters are doing interesting things internet wise. The latest evidence of this: someone has just produced a 'desktop Dean' RSS news aggregator.

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