The Outsourcing Dilema

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The Outsourcing Dilemma


According to Daniel W. Drezner, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and author, "Outsourcing actually brings far more benefits than costs, both now and in the long run. If its critics succeed in provoking a new wave of American protectionism, the consequences will be disastrous – for the U.S. economy and for the American workers they claim to defend." (Drezner, 2004)

History is in the making as we listen and read about the heated debate on outsourcing from our "somewhat comfortable" suburban lives in the Midwest. Our comfort levels are being challenged, however; as we are made aware of friends, others close by, and the media reporting on those losing their jobs to outsourcing. What gage can be accurately used to measure the true effect of this phenomenon? The truth seems to elude our grasp as we hear those who are passionate speak out on both sides of the issue.

Outsourcing: Its Roots

Lou Dobbs, CNN anchor, known for his anger toward outsourcing believes that outsourcing's origins began with "the collapse of the telecom and communications bubble in 2000." He believes that "moving from the manufacturing offshoring to outsourcing was really a creation of the Internet", stating that "the bandwidth made it all possible." (Fleischer, 2005) Braun Consulting pinpoints the outsourcing industry's beginnings to be quite earlier, going as far back as sixteen years. "After the end of the Cold War more countries began opening up their doors to international trade and the exchange of jobs and services. The trend towards globalization began to increase dramatically." (Braun Consulting News, 2004) Still other sources renounce the idea of outsourcing as a trend or fad revealing this explanation. "In some ways, the beginnings of business process outsourcing (BPO) can be traced back to the Second World War, when engineering and quantitative analysis tools were introduced to improve the manufacture and distribution of war materials." (Jones, 2006) Being aware of the origins of outsourcing's beginnings can help to bring our understanding to a higher level. Until one is able to precisely trace its beginnings, it is almost certain that it would be difficult to predict the effects of outsourcing or where it will take us as individuals, let alone a nation.

Outsourcing: Why?

IBM's chairman and CEO, Sam Palmisano, delivered a hard

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