"New Economy"

New Economy: Offshore Jobs in Technology: Opportunity or a Threat?:

“So what is really happening? Is the offshore outsourcing of technology jobs a cataclysmic jolt or a natural evolution of the economy?

The short answer is that the trend is real, irreversible and another step in the globalization of the American economy. It does present a challenge to industry, government and individual workers. But the shifting of some technology jobs abroad fits into a well-worn historical pattern of economic change and adjustment in the United States.

‘To be competitive and to maintain and improve American living standards, we have to move up the technology food chain,’ said Craig R. Barrett, the chief executive of Intel.”

Man, oh man. I’ll tell you. I’ve learned that when people start talking about a “new economy” it’s time to run and hide. “We have to move up the technology food chain.” What the fuck does that even MEAN?

All the experts say that the old, “low skill” jobs like software engineer will be replaced by new jobs that we don’t even know about yet. Well, it’s a FACT that I don’t know about the new jobs, because here in Silicon Valley we SURE haven’t seen them yet. The argument seems to be that because sometimes in the past new kinds of jobs have shown up to replace the jobs that were lost, therefore new jobs will always show up. Personally, I’m not one to place my bets on an angel showing up and waving a wand and making everything better. I’m more one for planning what to do in case that doesn’t happen.

It’s supposed to be a good thing when we find ways to get more work done using fewer people:

“In an information economy, technology services are an “input” in the same way that steel, glass and rubber are parts of a car. So reducing the cost of technology services curbs inflation while improving efficiency and productivity. A recent study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that every dollar of costs that United States companies move offshore yields a benefit of $1.12 to $1.14 to the American economy, mainly from cost savings and steering workers toward jobs that add more value than those replaced.”

The problem now is this money is not being distributed past the top floor. Instead of paying workers more, the money is going to the top. The concentration of wealth is accelerating. YOU AND I are not benefiting from the changes in the economy, while a few are becoming vastly richer.

The solution? We need to break up the rich white mens’ club and get the money circulating again. The way to do that is to bring back very high taxes at the top, and estate taxes, and use the money to strengthen “the commons” — our public resources and human resources. Education, hospitals, health care, roads, infrastructure, arts and quality of life.

We also need to change the way our corporations are chartered to being back the idea that they exist to benefit the public at large. Perhaps we should require that representatives of workers sit on the boards of corporations. A personal favorite solution is to ban corporations from using money for anything that does not directly benefit shareholders. This means no more political contributions, and contributions to “think tanks” and other fronts for political operations. This would help lessen the influence of money on our democracy, returning us closer to one-person-one-vote instead of one-dollar-one-vote.

What do you think?