Saturday, August 14, 2004

quote of the day

"The secret isn't just lower wages. It's also the attitude of workers who take pride and are willing to do what is necessary to succeed, even if it means outsourcing parts production or working on weekends or altering vacation schedules." -- Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post, "Europe's Capitalism Curtain," describing the growth of manufacturing in Wroclaw, Poland.

I think this is a great point to keep in mind when discussing outsourcing -- while low wages are a factor, no company would outsource anything if it couldn't find intelligent, hard-working people in Eastern Europe, India, or China. People concerned about the effect of outsourcing on American workers should keep that in mind.

In particular, any time I hear politicians say that the U.S. is losing jobs due to 'unfair' competition or lax environmental and labor regulations, I worry they have missed the point -- we are facing real, effective, perfectly fair competition, driven by hard-working and intelligent people who have every right to better their own lives. Ditto for people on the right who claim that the U.S. will always have an advantage in the highest-skilled, highest-paying jobs.