Friday, April 21, 2006

Offshoring, layoffs, and disposable Americans

A note on a couple of recent radio interviews… On WBUR, Tom Ashbrook hosted an On-Point program on Offhsore Outsourcing. I thought Ashbrook did a good job of holding the participating economists' feet to the fire on just what the future holds for American workers. If the future of the American economy is to be built upon face-to-face personal services, can we all make a living as massage therapists to each other? Did we all get college educations so that we could tell our children to go into a career in plumbing? I was a bit startled about how blithely unconcerned some of these economists seem to be. It must still be difficult to offshore economists at this point.

On a related topic, a few days ago NPR ran an interview with Louis Uchitelle, the author of The Disposable American: Layoffs and their Consequences.


JohnCVermont said...

Ironcially, I have been rather reluctant to advise people to enter the IT field. If I read the new cover of Information Week all is well in the US IT sector but I do not see it.

Again, I advise young people around me not to discount going into the "The Trades". Many independent businesses start out as a simple one-person contracting outfit whether it be plumbing, carpentry, or electrical.

The Economy is supposedly doing great. Why do find that difficult to believe?

Jeff said...

Apparently there is some buzz going around in CEO circles that they're becoming alarmed that American students are getting into majors like sports medicine instead of high tech, but what did they expect to happen with the ruthless brand of laissez faire market forces that they unleashed? The consequences are entirely predictable.

Advising the young to go into the trades might become the most sane approach if the cost of college tuition keeps going the way it is going. It may be more cost-effective instead to bankroll your son in starting his own small business. Once he's got his feet and some maturity under him, he can go to college to study whatever he'd like to.

As for the state of the ecomomy, I'd call these very precarious times, especially with the price of oil where it is today.