There is a lot of media attention being given to the topic of
outsourcing to foreign countries. In case you just dropped in
from Pluto, outsourcing is when a company subcontracts its business,
or a portion thereof, to another company. Usually it's for cost
In the United States, this is becoming a problem because the
outsourcing is being done to other counties, thereby eliminating
Is all of this being driven by corporate greed? In some cases,
yes. In some cases, there are greedy corporations concerned only
with return on investment and looking good to their board of directors.
Focusing only on the current stock price, they're quick to turn
their backs on the American workers who helped build the company
in the first place.
There is, however, another side to the issue. There is another
even bigger culprit behind the loss of hundreds of thousands of
U.S. jobs. As Walt Kelly's comic strip character Pogo once said,
"We have met the enemy, and it is us."
Those among us who prefer to shop at superstores in order to
obtain the lowest price always, instead of supporting our local
economy, are the real cause of this downturn in the U.S. job market
and the resulting economic downturn.
It is our dichotomous position of "buy the lowest price"
but "keep my job here" that forces hundreds of thousands
of small businesses to stop selling to the likes of Wal-Mart,
Kmart and Marshalls. For example, Artscape Inc., a Pennsylvania
paintings and prints dealer, was forced to stop selling to one
of the giant chains. Why? Because it could not produce a product
cheap enough to meet the demands of the buyers -- something easily
accomplished by overseas competitors that pay a daily wage that
is less than the average American earns in an hour. Jobs that
would have been created by an increase in Artscape's business
will go overseas instead.
The old adage "you can't have your cake and eat it too"
comes to mind. We can't demand the lowest price on everything
we buy and expect jobs to remain in this country. As they say,
something's gotta give. Personally, I'm willing to pay a bit more
and support my local businesses whenever possible. This makes
sense to me. It always has, even before the big-box stores. Local
businesses are the backbone of our nation. They provide the bulk
of new jobs in any given year. For example, in 2003 small businesses
created 11 million new jobs.
Small businesses put money back into the community in which
I live through their taxes as well as by supporting team sponsorships
and making charitable donations to local causes. Each of us must
decide if we want to buy into the poverty mindset of having to
get the lowest price and beat the other guy, or if we are ready
to open ourselves up to the abundance of our world and understand
that life can be a win-win proposition. Getting the lowest price
is not all that important in the long run.