Sunday, July 20, 2008

Sick of Do-It-Yourself

Ellen Goodman is tired of jobs being farmed out to her.

The outsourcing of work to other countries has produced endless ire. But what about the outsourcing of work to thee and me?

For every task shipped abroad by a corporation, isn't there another one sloughed off onto that domestic loser, the consumer? For every job that's going to a low-wage economy, isn't there another going into our very own no-wage economy?

The job has not been "saved," it's been taken out of the paid sector, where employees have a nasty habit of expecting salaries, and put into the unpaid sector, where Suckers 'R' Us.

An MIT economist assures me cheerily that many Americans are willing to accept less service for lower cost. In a society built on the value of self-reliance, I am told, we may even feel virtuous when we put together our own bookcase or install our own hard drive.

But I have yet to find an economist who has figured out the human cost of "lower cost," or tallied up the transfer of labor from companies to customers.

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