Saturday, July 22, 2006


Notes From The Great Recession

This is an oldie but goodie - an article from a June 2003 issue of Fortune magazine that analyzes the causes of the latest white collar recession, the worst in American history. Fortune draws a close analogy with the impact of increasing productivity and a growing reliance on offshore resources on blue collar workers in the early 1980's. The same thing is happening to white collar labor for the same reasons, they say, and the ultimate result will be "good for the American economy". High tech professionals have been hit particularly hard - but even accountants and radiologists are seeing their work shipped overseas to Bangalore or elsewhere, where the labor is far cheaper yet the quality of the work is (supposedly) just as great. From a vantage point of three years, it is easy to see that these trends are still with us. We also see that "profit" and "productivity" have grown - whatever good they do anyone, other than the already rich, on this continent - and that wages are flat for white collar professionals of all sorts, even if employment has picked up a bit. We include the link to this old article because it's a classic of its kind, and has proven disconcertingly prophetic.

My question is this. If even accountants and doctors - much less computer programmers - can be replaced by overseas labor, why not lawyers and journalists next? Why not even legislators and civil servants? Wouldn't our government be cheaper if its very administration was outsourced to another country? That could be one way to eradicate the deficit. Just a little food for thought...

"Down and Out in White-Collar America " from Fortune

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