April 21, 2004
balance outsourcing against corporate profits
can American companies claim to have integrity when they
are sending U.S. jobs overseas?
are going overseas because the costs of labor there are
less. Demands for corporate profits remain high. Jobs
are going to other countries because the American work
force demands a more costly lifestyle. What would be considered
luxuries in most of the world are considered almost necessities
among members of the work force of the United States.
Housing expectations, clothing demands, transportation
requirements and a whole host of other benefits -- provided
by these same companies themselves -- are looked upon
as extravagant to a significant segment of the world's
population. A tried-and-true statement seems appropriate:
"We want to have our cake and eat it, too."
American workers want to maintain an incredibly complex
and expensive lifestyle while seemingly depending upon
the rest of the world to sit by (passively) and not compete
effectively. With instantaneous communications, 24 hours
per day, the whole world can see what is happening in
more prosperous nations and then seek to participate,
much more aggressively.
The economic engine that has driven business in America
has depended upon innovation.
For the last couple of hundred years, the United States
has sustained prosperity not simply because of low-priced
labor -- but rather because of creativity, education and
management skills. Today, the global economy is the reality.
We will not build walls along our borders and cease partnering
with those around the world. When the automobile replaced
the horse, the demand decreased for those making buggy
whips and increased for those skilled as engineers. Education
and retraining were important before, and they are again.
Re-invention is not a slogan for the classroom; it is
a self-renewing demand for those who will rise to the
occasion of opportunities yet to be discovered.
A long time ago, we sang a hymn at our church, and the
words ring true again: "New occasions teach new duties,
time makes ancient good uncouth." It is important
to remember that we can adapt. We can learn. The system
is not broken; it is changing -- and we must understand
it, appreciate it and accommodate it. Our own integrity
demands for us to remain productive participants.