Tuesday, January 24, 2006


So, after I have calmed down a little, I talked to my wife. (Go figure, I have time to do that when I am also doing this stuff.) We talked about how and if the world is becoming "flat." She works for a health care company in an after-hours clinic (nice since I work days and can then hang with my daughter). Sometimes she needs to consult an "expert" like an orthopedic doctor. The other night she said there was a call for a consult and the person on the other end had a strange accent and lots of noise during the phone call. It seems that the "after-hours" consult call went to an orthopedic doctor in New Zealand! Since it was the daytime there the doctor was "in." The x-ray was sent via e-mail and the doctor looked at the film and decided there was a break. She could not believe that the help came from that far away. The two of us are now talking about what this means for our children (yes, there will be another soon) and for the students that I teach. We do not think that this type of outsourcing is a "bad" idea and I am wondering what other people think?


Karl Fisch said...

Despite my impeccable liberal credentials, I think outsourcing is just fine (with a couple of caveats that I will explain in a moment). My opinion has always been that people are people - just because someone was born American doesn't make them better or more deserving than someone born in India or China. So when folks object to outsourcing by talking about "American jobs," I cringe. Yes, I live in America. And yes, I think our way of government is the best we've discovered so far. And yes, I would like Americans - especially my wife and I and eventually our daughter - to have good jobs. But that doesn't mean that folks in India and China don't deserve good jobs as well.

My concern over outsourcing is simply are we giving our students (children) the skills/knowledge/habits of mind they need to be successful and happy in the 21st century? This project we are involved in is probably a direct result of that. So, the two caveats about outsourcing are these. One, I think we need to do a better job of re-training workers whose jobs are outsourced so that they can move into other fulfilling and economically viable jobs. Two, I believe that companies that outsource need to make sure that they provide safe working conditions and a livable wage in the countries they outsource to. As long as those two things are happening, I believe outsourcing - in addition to being inevitable - is actually good for the human race.

Hatak said...

Interesting take Karl. I also am worried about the world that Megan, my daughter, is going to grow up in. I think that not acting about it and thinking that everything is going to remain the same is the least responsible way to go about it. The fact that I am away of the issue, even if it is not as extreme as I think, is a great start. I know that I want the best possible situation for my daughter and I now think about my students in the same way.

A lot of times this is not comfortable but change is going to happen if we like it or not.