18.2.04

AND YET MORE ON OFFSHORING. Maria at Crooked Timber:
I think we’re also forgetting what is so good about outsourcing in developing countries. It is creating and supporting a middle class in countries with young or fragile democracies, or no democracy at all. Outsourcing is the market-friendly face of ‘soft power’, of making friends around the world by giving people just as big a stake in peace as the most lucky and affluent. If political arguments in the US are to trump economic reasoning that increased trade is not a zero sum game, then we need to look further afield at the political consequences of this phenomenon.
Grandmaster Kenneth Rogoff (via Newmark's Door)
Rich countries need not be ambivalent or stingy. Certainly, if sudden and rapid economic development were possible and actually materialized, many citizens in wealthy nations would feel jarred, even threatened. And some day, world income distribution will be radically different than it is today, but not anytime soon. Nightmare scenarios and fear of success need never stand in the way of sensible—and generous—development policies.
Jonathan at Catallarchy:
The free market, i.e., people voluntarily making exchanges, was bringing these people out of poverty. It was raising their standard of living. Hindering these exchanges by raising tariffs and creating a “world-wide minimum wage” would throw them back into the garbage dumps. First world companies would have little reason to hire them instead of first world workers.
Read and understand all three posts. If you're living in Wilmette, are you really any worse off that people in Waukegan are building bigger houses? On the other hand, if you are expecting to earn a Wilmette standard of living with less ability (or a greater propensity to cut corners) than an ambitious Waukegan resident, expect a reality check.

SECOND SECTION: And then there's this, from Photon Courier:
It's interesting...some of the jobs lost to offshore manufacturing are coming back to the U.S., in the form of railroad jobs to move the products which are now being made overseas.
Kindly be advised that these are not desk jobs. Classifying stack cars at Rochelle on a blustery January day can be a real character builder.

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