In a sluggish economy with many Americans struggling to find jobs, we must search for the reasons behind this growing problem. Leading the issue is corporate America and the push towards outsourcing of jobs to countries like India and China where labor is cheap and readily available. With the United States and other North American countries gaining increasing dependence on countries across the globe for basic services, more and more companies leave their operations on the home front only to hire foreign employees for a fraction of the cost.
The prime offender in this travesty being Walmart, there is little that can be done to stop this global monster. With more than 8,000 stores around the world, Walmart is the world’s largest retailer, grossing more revenue than any other company and helping reduce the costs of goods by buying in bulk. However, this comes at a cost. Walmart currently imports a majority of their goods from China where labor is cheap and the incentives are high for mass production. At the expense of manufacturers based in the United States, we are now importing more goods than we export, accruing debt to countries like China.
While it might be easy to point the finger at corporate giants like Walmart, our own government is outsourcing jobs to India. When you receive a call about welfare benefits or medicare subscriptions, it’s likely that you will be talking to not a fellow countryman, but an Indian. Indians are now filing tax returns for U.S. companies as well, and the trend has been increasing in recent years as the Indian economy adapts to learn and develop to the principles of American government.
Not only is the outsourcing of jobs a concern to Americans who find themselves unemployed as a result of the movement of jobs overseas, but there are implications for those people who take the jobs in the call centers and manufacturing plants popping up all over Asia. Due to their service to North American consumers, most call center employees work throughout the night, leaving the close-knit traditional families embraced by Indian culture to take a job that offers prestige in the community. Forced to make a decision between family values or an opportunity for career advancement, many young Indian adults are put in a tough position in regards to their future life plans.
On a corporate level, outsourcing may appear to be nothing but beneficial. However, it is expensive to set up a reliable call center in a developing country. In a country where power grids are often down, it is important to bring in a phone system that will not falter in a time of need. Also adding to the expense is the buildings themselves – large, air-conditioned structures that house various workers as they go about their workday. Taking jobs out of the United States, however lucrative it might appear to corporate business CEO’s, has many detrimental effects. In America, it is likely that ex-employees will have negative perceptions towards a company who laid them off and thus will lack enthusiasm when purchasing products manufactured by that company.
Before seeking out the nearest Walmart to pick up a notebook for a project or a CD to rock out to in your car, think about the potential outsourcing involved in the product that you are buying. It is quite possible that the Dell computer you might be purchasing has a call center in India, providing technical support to users which was once a service provided on the home front. Your neighbor across the street might have very well lost their job due to your simple purchase of an iPod at Walmart.
Call me paranoid, but outsourcing is a huge problem with not nearly enough attention focused upon it. With cheap labor threatening our domestic employees, we need to take the steps needed to ensure that at least some jobs stay in the United States. Although it is incredibly difficult to avoid corporate giants like Walmart and our budgets might not always be able to support local business, it is the right thing. Be conscientious of all purchases you make and think about the implications involved when buying products.