Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 25, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

A SMALL VICTORY....Factory workers who lose their jobs because their factory is moved to China are eligible for extended unemployment payments, federally funded retraining, and relocation allowances under the Trade Adjustment Act. Earlier this month, the Labor Department ruled that computer programmers who lose their jobs to outsourcing are eligible for the same assistance.

The immediate impact of this is welcome but probably small. However, it strikes me that this is an important precedent, both legally and socially. In the future, globalization is going to affect far more service jobs than manufacturing jobs, and recognizing that service industry workers need help when free trade agreements put them out of work is a welcome acknowledgment of reality.

Kevin Drum 11:39 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (64)

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Something more intelligent would be to fund more baisc and applied research and continue to innovate so Americans perform continuously more value added work and leave commoditized jobs for developing countries. As long as anti-science politicians run the country we face falling farther and farther behind...

maybe all those intelligent design and other faith based breakthroughs will solve our problems... or not.

Posted by: r_m on April 25, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Bush and the Republican Congress oppose including trade adjustment assistance as part of our free trade agreements, for basically the same reasons that Republican Congressional staffs don't want to play softball with Democrats.

The precedent is not going to mean anything, as long as the party and ideology in power is fundamentally opposed to government providing insurance to people, who actually suffer losses.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on April 25, 2006 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Free trade unions should be integrated with trade agreements.

Solves the problem, where is the democratic party on this?

Posted by: Matt on April 25, 2006 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Small potatoes indeed - i think they already pretty consistently run out of TAA assistance money before they can help everybody who qualifies; and the package has gotten pretty lean over the years. for a long time i've favored scrapping TAA as part of a complete overhaul of the Unemployment Insurance system (incorporating wonk-tastic features like wage insurance, extended COBRA assistance, expanded job search & other employment services, a more generous & portable job training voucher, etc.)

not that hard to pay, for either, if you're willing to subsume piecemeal programs like TAA into it; if you're willing to expand the tax base of the federal UI tax from it's current ridiculously low / regressive basis (0.8% on the first $7,000 in earnings); and if you'd be willing to try to capture a sliver of the profits from outsourcing that accure to consumers & businesses in the US (e.g. a 1% tarriff, some effort to tax profits earned by foreign subsidiaries). And some of the additional federal UI taxation & spending would just be replacing what the more forward-thinking states are already doing - we get a more consistent & helpful system that gives an indirect boost to states that are already doing the best job in this area.

Posted by: TW on April 25, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

The problem is that computer programming was one of the jobs we were going to train all of the displaced factory workers to do. What do we train the displaced programmers to do? Mow lawns?

Posted by: CN on April 25, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

If Dems are smart, they should propose a 50% outsourcing tax. If a job is outsourced to India, for example, for every programmer hired at $12K per year, the outsourcing entity should have to shell out $6K per year for a pool of fund that is meant solely for the purpose of providing long term assistance to workers displaced by outsourcing of jobs. Even with this tax, the corporations will save money, and so it will be a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Posted by: lib on April 25, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

What do we train the displaced programmers to do? Mow lawns?

we should train them to be gladiators, and then pit them against each other in mortal combat. winner gets 40% of his previous salary, for life.

Posted by: cleek on April 25, 2006 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Why should people get different benefits if their job is moved to India vs. Alabama?

This is silly nativist jingoism.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on April 25, 2006 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Speaking of a welcome acknowledgment of reality

After 25 years as a teacher in public high school, one of my biggest gripes is the pressure we get from the business leaders to put out a higher quality product. That quite often is translated by state governments and local school boards into get all your kids ready for and into college. Traditional trade and technical curriculum are being axed.

It is some of those very same business leaders who without a moments thought will pack up their entire operation over to Bangalore where they can pay the college educated of India one-tenth of what they pay Americans. Meanwhile, barely literate plumbers, painters and electricians from other lands are driving around to their worksites in their new F-150 pickups securely making scads of overtime in a job that, unlike them, will never be exported.

Posted by: Keith G on April 25, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why should people get different benefits if their job is moved to India vs. Alabama?

Because Americans can move to Alabama to follow their jobs.

Isn't the nation supposed to exist for the benefit of its citizens?

Posted by: Constantine on April 25, 2006 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

Why should people get different benefits if their job is moved to India vs. Alabama?

Is that a serious question?

Posted by: lib on April 25, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Something more intelligent would be to fund more baisc and applied research and continue to innovate so Americans perform continuously more value added work and leave commoditized jobs for developing countries. As long as anti-science politicians run the country we face falling farther and farther behind... Posted by: r_m

Nice thought, but we no longer have much of an edge if any in value added industry. When you have engineers driving cabs in India, you know that the world is already over supplied in labor at all levels. Furthermore, the higher you move up the production chain, the fewer people are needed for these positions. We could produce more engineers and scientists, but they still be in competition with those in East and South Asia willing to work for 1/2 or 1/4 the wages.

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2006 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Well, for some it's not much easier to "follow" your job across the country than it is across the ocean.

Posted by: Ringo on April 25, 2006 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Globalization is simply progress. Did we provide government handouts to slave holders after the civil war? Did we pass out tax dollars to change the signage on drinking fountains and bathrooms in the 1960's? How long did we give tax breaks to blacksmiths and horse breeders after the invention of the automobile? Did we give lifetime pensions to human computers after the invention of electronic ones? What about those guys who put up the Burma-Shave signs?

Bleeding heart liberals cry about the silliest things.

Posted by: Al on April 25, 2006 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Funniest Al post ever!

Posted by: shortstop on April 25, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Corporations are thugs.

Posted by: camille roy on April 25, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK
Globalization is simply progress.

Largely, progress in the redistribution of wealth from the poor in the participating countries to the rich in the participating countries.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Go Al! When jobs "go" to India, poor people in India benefit, which "passionate liberals" might be expected to think is a good thing.

As for the school teacher, bitter because he can't afford an F-150, I'm sorry, but I don't feel sorry for you. Get a job in the summer as a painter if you want some big wheels. (Yeah, you'll have to hang out with "barely literate" rednecks and other yahoos, but the experience might actually do you some good.)

There are things we ought to do to prevent the top 1% of the country from swallowing half the profits, but railing against "globalism" is exactly the wrong way to go.

Posted by: Alan Vanneman on April 25, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Given that we're already having trouble producing enough C.S. graduates, I can't help but think that this will only serve to make the profession look more unattractive.

Posted by: abb_road on April 25, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Alan Vanneman, you shallow, little man.

Not only did you (purposely?) misread my post, but your assumptions about me are off, to say the least.

I would take the effort to list your errors, but I lack the time (that second job, you know).

Posted by: Keith G on April 25, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

"The problem is that computer programming was one of the jobs we were going to train all of the displaced factory workers to do. What do we train the displaced programmers to do? Mow lawns?"

That's not a bad idea, then we can deport all the illegal aliens. Its a win-win.

Posted by: c on April 25, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Now what we need is to be able to CHARGE the scumbags who outsource for the extra costs. These parasite industrial pieces of shit leverage the blood, sweat and tears of US employees to make the money to allow them to then shift those jobs to China and India.

Posted by: POed Lib on April 25, 2006 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

There are things we ought to do to prevent the top 1% of the country from swallowing half the profits, but railing against "globalism" is exactly the wrong way to go.

Here's hoping that your job is offshored, the sooner the better.

Today's conservassholes like yourself are very happy to celebrate the right of others to lose their jobs so that you can continue to buy $39 DVD players.

Are you an economist?

Posted by: POed Lib on April 25, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

As for the school teacher, bitter because he can't afford an F-150, I'm sorry, but I don't feel sorry for you. Get a job in the summer as a painter if you want some big wheels.

This strikes me as a bad example. I can lease an F-150 for $200/month - that's pretty small beer.

Yesterday I was driving behind a Ferrari. The license plate said "LAW PAYS". That made me laugh, but then I remembered my class warfare training, and crashed into him. That'll learn him.

Posted by: craigie on April 25, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

I read recently that the latest profession that can expect a great deal of off shoring is law. Apparently, many large US firms have come to the conclusion that much of their international law type positions can be handled by skilled lawyers in India at rates at least as low as 1 / 20th the current corporate lawyer pay.

I don't wish this type job loss on any group, but it will be kind of amusing to hear the people who were instrumental in rationalizing so much offshoring squawking about their own job losses.

Posted by: helena on April 25, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK
I read recently that the latest profession that can expect a great deal of off shoring is law. Apparently, many large US firms have come to the conclusion that much of their international law type positions can be handled by skilled lawyers in India at rates at least as low as 1 / 20th the current corporate lawyer pay.

Well, with moving much of the rest of their operations to India, I'd expect its not just their international law needs that will be increasingly met by Indian lawyers.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

This will all work itself out as we import brides from India.

Posted by: craigie on April 25, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday I was driving behind a Ferrari. The license plate said "LAW PAYS". That made me laugh, but then I remembered my class warfare training, and crashed into him. That'll learn him.
Posted by: craigie

I hope you kicked his ass when he got out to cry.

I read recently that the latest profession that can expect a great deal of off shoring is law. Apparently, many large US firms have come to the conclusion that much of their international law type positions can be handled by skilled lawyers in India at rates at least as low as 1 / 20th the current corporate lawyer pay. Posted by: helena

I think that is a bit of a stretch or mischaracterization as most countries are fairly restrictive of who can practice law, and with regard to international law, it's been a multinational affair for decades anyway. It is very common for the largest U.S. firms to have offices on both coast, London, Tokyo or whereever the partners feel a need to work.

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

We should be altering the "free" trade agreements to be fair to all parties involved, rather than throwing some bones to workers after the fact.

See Sherrod Brown's Myths of Free Trade for more, and things Congress could be doing.

Posted by: Adam Piontek on April 25, 2006 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

Gee, all the mismanagement consulting companies went to sell a new service they invented: offshoring. So they pissed on your leg, called it rain, then sold you an umbrella.

Why should we be surprised that they spent so much effort advertising their services? Why should we be surprised when dupes, err, lemmings, get fooled into following what appears in the mismanagement fad of the month section of the b-book section at the book store? Who moves your cheese? Someone who steals your watch, then sells you the time.

Posted by: Peter on April 25, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK
I think that is a bit of a stretch or mischaracterization as most countries are fairly restrictive of who can practice law,

That's precisely why its not a stretch.

As other operations of, or critical too, a firm move to India from the United States, the relative need for lawyers knowledge of the law in (and able to practice in) India (vs. the United States) increases.

Hence, more Indian, and less American, lawyers.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

WoW Have you ever heard such hatered for the American worker.The Righties hate the World.

Posted by: Booo on April 25, 2006 at 2:19 PM | PERMALINK

That's not a bad idea, then we can deport all the illegal aliens. Its a win-win.
Posted by: c on April 25, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Screw that. Once I finish my PhD in lawn-mowing, and once Global Warming brings warmer climates to Canada, I'm going to sneak across the border to get a job as a gardener. It's got to pay better than what I'm making as a Software Engineer now. Plus, Canada has free health care.

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on April 25, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

We need to get back to Buy American,Piss on Walmart.

Posted by: Booo on April 25, 2006 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Why don't we offshore our Politicans,And our talking heads on Fox.

Posted by: Booo on April 25, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

see, this is why i got my degree in social work. lotsa home grown crazy people, gettin' crazier all the time. {{now if only i could figure a way to make some Real Money.......}}

Posted by: e1 on April 25, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

Because Americans can move to Alabama to follow their jobs.

Yeah, because I am sure the corporation is just moving to Alabama for the weather. It will have the same jobs and the same pay and benefits...

I'm pretty sure every time a factory closes here in Michigan, it's been accompanied wiht an invitation for all the workers to come on down and join them at the new factory...

Are you an idiot on purpose?

Posted by: Mr Furious on April 25, 2006 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

That made me laugh, but then I remembered my class warfare training, and crashed into him.

This made me laugh out loud.

Posted by: shortstop on April 25, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Want to do something about offshoring? Try attacking the trade (current account) deficit.

No way in hell can we sustain 6.4%/GDP (and climbing fast). This has a big effect on offshoring.

Posted by: alex on April 25, 2006 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

(re: off-shoring lawyers)
"I don't wish this type job loss on any group, but it will be kind of amusing to hear the people who were instrumental in rationalizing so much offshoring squawking about their own job losses."

Posted by: helena

I want to see the Econ, Law and Poli Sci professors off-shored. That'd be hysterical; literally - I'd print out their whines and read them for kicks.

Posted by: Barry on April 25, 2006 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

As other operations of, or critical too, a firm move to India from the United States, the relative need for lawyers knowledge of the law in (and able to practice in) India (vs. the United States) increases.Posted by: cmdicely

Um, no. You've just described a situation where the lawyers are practicing local law, not giving legal advice to clients in NYC or LA pertaining to issues within the U.S. In other words, no one is going to be calling Jagdish at a call center owned by Dewey, Cheetum and Howe in Bangalore about help in fixing a parking ticket in Queens or representing you after your next DUI or arrest for public indecency.

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Alan Vanneman: When jobs "go" to India, poor people in India benefit, which "passionate liberals" might be expected to think is a good thing.

Uh huh, sure they do. And if that doesn't work they can always try the tooth fairy.

Programming and even call center jobs in India go to college graduates, who in India mostly start out as upper-middle class. It's not the poor folks in the slums and villages getting these jobs.

Posted by: alex on April 25, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK
Um, no.

Um, yes.

You've just described a situation where the lawyers are practicing local law, not giving legal advice to clients in NYC or LA pertaining to issues within the U.S.

Mostly, yes. We're talking about corporate lawyers, being moved overseas. We're not talking about giving advice pertaining to legal issues within the US being moved overseas.

In other words, no one is going to be calling Jagdish at a call center owned by Dewey, Cheetum and Howe in Bangalore about help in fixing a parking ticket in Queens or representing you after your next DUI or arrest for public indecency.

Probably not. Given that that's not what the post you responded to and called a stretch was about, I don't see why you think this is meaningful as an argument rather than something entirely beside the point.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2006 at 3:13 PM | PERMALINK

Freaky.... Vantage One is the software package I work on as well. Unfortunately as an independent consultant (aka small business)I am not eligible for the benefit. Since outsourcing has really taken off my business has tanked. It is just a matter of time before most programming is done off shore. In addition to that any job and I mean ANY job using a computer will be in danger of being outsourced.
There is really nothing that can replace those jobs. Learning another computer language is not the answer. In fact so many programmers were out of work here in California back in 2002 that no computer training of any kind was available.
Maybe we should all move to India and learn how to cook Tandoori Chicken - that will probably be the only job left.

Posted by: leftcoastindie on April 25, 2006 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

Globalization is simply progress.
--Al
Globalization, as the American right-wing defines it, is simply piracy.

Did we provide government handouts to slave holders after the civil war?
--Al

Actually, we did. It was known as Reconstruction.

Did we pass out tax dollars to change the signage on drinking fountains and bathrooms in the 1960's?
--Al

This is a broken analogy, Al. Im not sure how the passage of the Civil Rights Act aligns with the displacement of workers due to off-shoring???

How long did we give tax breaks to blacksmiths and horse breeders after the invention of the automobile?
--Al

Actually, Republicans still give tax breaks to horse breeders. Especially when Mike Brownie Brown was the president of the American Arabian Horse Breeders Association. The GOP would never give tax breaks to blacksmiths, since they are blue collar workers. Republicans only like to give large tax breaks to wealthy people who dont need them.

Did we give lifetime pensions to human computers after the invention of electronic ones?
--Al
By human computers, do you mean accountants? I believe most accountants prefer 401(k) defined contribution arrangements to defined benefit plans.

What about those guys who put up the Burma-Shave signs?
--Al
They grew beards?

Bleeding heart liberals cry about the silliest things.
--Al
Right-wing fascists are the silliest things.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on April 25, 2006 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Make it hard to outsource jobs from the USA. Tax code, government contracts, etc. Stop using the Just like we did for the 200 years we were a Republic-before we decided to try to run the world. There is a huge connection between having military bases in 90+ countries and outsourcing and trade agreements.

Posted by: la on April 25, 2006 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

You liberals are whiners. Did I cry when Cheney offshored his ass kissers? Nope. I had no problem with Cheney finding a poor Indian worker who would perform reach-arounds for five cents/hour.

I just started tossing Lee Raymond's salad. He can afford it:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/16/AR2006041600098.html

Posted by: Al on April 25, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

Furthermore, the higher you move up the production chain, the fewer people are needed for these positions. We could produce more engineers and scientists, but they still be in competition with those in East and South Asia willing to work for 1/2 or 1/4 the wages. Posted by: JeffII

To clarify, an industry will behave like this until new technology changes the dynamics of the industry and requires new production processes that, require more workers (not necessarily in the same company) in that industry and related ones. More importantly, these are high(er) skilled jobs that demand higher wages AND premium product prices. The older productions systems, which requires lower value added input from the workers, eg mass production style methods, will move to developing countries. Globalization works if approached in this way, but requires constant innovation and investment in R&D.

Posted by: r_m on April 25, 2006 at 5:05 PM | PERMALINK

Globalization is the Right-wing version of the One World Government that, ironically, they so fear.

Posted by: craigie on April 25, 2006 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Largely, progress in the redistribution of wealth from the poor in the participating countries to the rich in the participating countries."

Nonsense. The evidence strongly indicates that globalization helps the poor. It also has other major benefits, such as reducing the chance of conflict. Countries that have a mutually beneficial economic relationship are less likely fight each other. See, for example, this article from the April 2006 Scientific American.

Posted by: GOP on April 25, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

Mostly, yes. We're talking about corporate lawyers, being moved overseas.Posted by: cmdicely

Which, as I wrote already exists, and has for a long time. The wholesale or even partial relocation of the legal "profession" is not going to be outsourced overseas the way "customer service" has been for many companies.

Most medium and small businesses (which covers most U.S. businesses) seeking legal advice don't need "international" lawyers.

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2006 at 5:50 PM | PERMALINK
The wholesale or even partial relocation of the legal "profession" is not going to be outsourced overseas the way "customer service" has been for many companies.

Then again, neither is the "customer service" profession going to be outsources overseas the way "customer service" has been for many companies.

Neither of those points, however true, has anything to do with the post you called a stretch.


Most medium and small businesses (which covers most U.S. businesses) seeking legal advice don't need "international" lawyers.

Sure, but that's not the point being made in the post you called a stretch, nor do "most US business" necessarily imply "most US business demand for lawyers".

Microsoft is one business. Joe's Used Bookstore that employs noone besides Joe himself is one business. But the former almost certainly employs considerably more lawyer-hours per year.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

To clarify, an industry will behave like this until new technology changes the dynamics of the industry and requires new production processes that, require more workers (not necessarily in the same company) in that industry and related ones.

Generally, just the opposite is true - the more a process is automated or computerized, which is the trend across all industries, the fewer people you need for this process and, most important, the fewer people with a specific set of skills. Even where there is a high level of computerization or automation, an excess of reasonably well-education labor will attract manufacturing, China being the perfect example. It was Mexico for about 45 minutes in the 1980s, and Japan from the late 1950s through the late 1970s.

The only places you find people being substituted for machines of any kind is where it is still possible to do the job in a reasonably efficient manner manually or semi-manually, typically because there is such a labor glut that employing people is still cheaper than employing automation/computerization.

More importantly, these are high(er) skilled jobs that demand higher wages AND premium product prices.

Yes. But the higher you move up the skills scale, typically the fewer people are needed to do the job. For example, you might have a design team of 6-12 people working on something with certain skills at a certain wage, but the manufacture of the product, where not heavily automated, will employ more people with fewer skills and significantly lower wages. Employing more people at the design level is not going to get the product manufactured faster or better.

Contrary to the popular fiction, particularly here in the U.S., you can have too many scientists and engineers. Look at India and China.

It's nice to have so many well-educated people (intelligent is another matter, one does not guarantee the other). But you only need so many of them until you no longer have enough meaningful work for them. When you reach this point, wages get depressed. Again, look at India and China, and now the U.S.

The older productions systems, which requires lower value added input from the workers, eg mass production style methods, will move to developing countries. Posted by: r_m

What do you mean "will move"? Next to nothing, even at the high end of manufacturing sophisticaion, is manufactured in the nations that industrialized in the 19th and early 20th centuries. PCs, laptops, PDAs, and cell phones, the very symbols of the "modern world," are all manufactured in heretofore Third World countries. What high tech and high value-added goods do we manufacture in the U.S.? Well, some medical gear, third rate automobiles and . . .

Search amongst your possessions and see if even 10% of what you own is manufactured in not just the U.S. but North America or Europe. Compare the amount of R&D done here now compared to even a decade ago.

With the ascendancy of truly transnational corporations, the "iron clad" principles of economies (countries) having a comparative advantage or an absolute advantage really mean very little in the world economy today.

"Do you want fries with that?"

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2006 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

Microsoft is one business. Joe's Used Bookstore that employs noone besides Joe himself is one business. But the former almost certainly employs considerably more lawyer-hours per year.
Posted by: cmdicely

Your point being?

Microsoft most likely employs lawyers at home and abroad, just as all transnational corporations do to address the specific legal issues involved in doing business in that country. They certainly aren't going to be giving U.S. anti-trust litigation work to a foreign based firm (to cut costs), unless they happen to have offices in the U.S., nor is Joe's of Joe's Bookstore in Peoria likely to be seeking financial planning or estate planning advice from a firm of accountants and/or lawyers based abroad.

Try to understand this stated as simply as possible one final time: The practice of law in the U.S. is not going to be out sourced to firms based abroad employing locally trained lawyers.

If this is too difficult for you to understand, then maybe you should reconsider law school yourself.

Posted by: JeffII on April 25, 2006 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Related to the outsourcing of law services:

I'm still searching for the recent article I read, but here are a couple of sources I just googled. These articles are not that recent, however, and I believe the prediction for the number of lawyer or law related jobs leaving this country in the next decade is substantially higher than the 79,000 or so mentioned 1 or 2 yrs ago. (sorry they are not links)


http://money.cnn.com/2004/10/14/news/economy/lawyer_outsourcing/

"More U.S. Legal Work Moves to India's Low-Cost Lawyers," September 28, 2005, Wall Street Journal

Posted by: Helena on April 25, 2006 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

JeffII: Next to nothing, even at the high end of manufacturing sophisticaion, is manufactured in the nations that industrialized in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

While that is unfortunately true of the US, you should be careful not to over generalize. Germany, for example, is running a trade surplus. It's composed almost entirely of manufactured goods. Maybe their consumer items sell more in Europe than the US. More importantly, they sell a lot of commercial/industrial equipment that consumers never see, and often is often more sophisticated and with a higher profit margin. They also make a lot of components, the manufacture of which is often more sophisticated that the products they're assembled into. Again, consumers see the "Made in Fredonia" label (which means assembled), but not that the fancy components are made in Germany, Japan, etc.

Object lesson: you can have a high standard of living and depend on manufacturing exports. The idea that our miniscule trade surplus in services will ever compensate for our enormous deficit in manufactured items and raw materials though is only for people who believe lines like "the old rules don't apply".

Posted by: alex on April 25, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

"Try to understand this stated as simply as possible one final time: The practice of law in the U.S. is not going to be out sourced to firms based abroad employing locally trained lawyers.

If this is too difficult for you to understand, then maybe you should reconsider law school yourself."

Yo, Jeffy. See if you can understand this: Highly trained Indian lawyers draw up contracts and all kinds of other tasks that previously an overpriced US lawyer performed. Then, a firm's one lawyer who is licensed in the US just signs off on it. Similar to scenarios in the construction field where a licensed guy sort of oversees work done by others and just signs off on it to satisfy the local building codes.

Posted by: helena on April 25, 2006 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK
Your point being?

My point being that your comment about the "majority of US businesses" is irrelevant even to your argument about whether the majority of US lawyers are in jeopardy of outsourcing, which is itself irrelevant to the point you called "a stretch".

Microsoft most likely employs lawyers at home and abroad, just as all transnational corporations do to address the specific legal issues involved in doing business in that country. They certainly aren't going to be giving U.S. anti-trust litigation work to a foreign based firm (to cut costs), unless they happen to have offices in the U.S., nor is Joe's of Joe's Bookstore in Peoria likely to be seeking financial planning or estate planning advice from a firm of accountants and/or lawyers based abroad.

All of this is true and irrelevant to the point you called a "stretch" (and also to most of your points since then that were also irrelevant to that underlying point.)


Try to understand this stated as simply as possible one final time: The practice of law in the U.S. is not going to be out sourced to firms based abroad employing locally trained lawyers.

Try to understand this stated as simply as possible: that's not relevant the point you responded to and called "a stretch", and therefore not relevant to my posts arguing that you are wrong in calling it that.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 25, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

craigie nailed it!

Posted by: jprichva on April 25, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

Either that or recognition that computer programming is a high value-add task...but will become a low pay job because the barriers to entry are so low....especially for the 2 billion Chinese and Indians in the world who have functional high-school math education.

U don't need a college degree to do windows support.

Posted by: McA on April 25, 2006 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

craigie nailed it!

Oooh, can I play?

GOP nailed it!

Posted by: kp on April 25, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Alan Vanneman on April 25, 2006 at 1:04 PM |

Go Al! When jobs "go" to India, poor people in India benefit...

They do? Is that why Bangalore--India's high-tech mecca--is surrounded by huge slums. How are the poor people in India benefitted? By being drawn to the slums?

Posted by: raj on April 26, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

JeffII on April 25, 2006 at 7:43 PM |

Try to understand this stated as simply as possible one final time: The practice of law in the U.S. is not going to be out sourced to firms based abroad employing locally trained lawyers.

Don't be so sure. A lot of what passes for the practice of law is grunt work--legal research, writing memoranda, writing drafts of briefs, writing drafts of contracts, etc., and much of that can be farmed out, even to paralegals residing abroad. The finished product would likely be generated by US lawyers based on the work done by the paralegals, but after the grunt work is done, that would be a relatively minor "value added."

It is true that, given the technology that is currently available, trial and appellate work would be limited to people in the US--at least for the trial or the argument on appeal. But improvements in techonology--particularly broadband video--might make that superfluous, too.

Posted by: raj on April 26, 2006 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

Every now and then you read something so stupid you just have to respond...

Alan Vanneman on April 25, 2006 at 1:04 PM |

Go Al! When jobs "go" to India, poor people in India benefit...

Posted by: raj on April 26, 2006 at 8:10 AM | PERMALINK

They do? Is that why Bangalore--India's high-tech mecca--is surrounded by huge slums. How are the poor people in India benefitted? By being drawn to the slums?

Uh... yes. If they aren't benefiting why do you think they are moving to those slums?

Fact is, they live a lot better in those places than they would if they were still out in the countryside or living in slums around poorer cities... otherwise they wouldn't move to Bangalore.

The Indian government's horrendous mismanagement is the only argument against Chinese democracy that I don't have a fast pat answer for.

Did you know that it is cheaper and quicker to start a company, hire people, and fire people in nominally communist China than in India?

Despite that globalization helps Indians as well as Chinese... just not as much.

Posted by: Michael Friedman on April 26, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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