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Committee of 100 Statement on Outsourcing and Globalization of Trade (4.25.04)

The prosperity and growth of the United States are of great importance to Chinese Americans, many of whom immigrated to America for its educational and economic opportunities. We therefore share with our fellow Americans concern about the U.S. unemployment rate and the lack of job growth in the current economic recovery. When layoffs have occurred during this recession or in prior recessions, Chinese American workers have lost their jobs alongside their co-workers. Unemployment does not (and, under U.S. law, cannot) be limited to any particular ethnic groups.

Some of the current public debate about such job losses has identified “outsourcing” as a key factor. Much of that outsourcing activity has gone from domestic outsourcing firms in places such as Nebraska and South Dakota in the 1990s to current offshore locations such as India and China. Consequently, some of the public discourse has over-simplified the complex economic forces behind such decisions and charged that such Asian countries are “causing” unemployment in America. Such uninformed – and unhelpful – views are of concern to the Committee of 100.

The Committee recalls the tragic death of Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American, in 1982. Mistaken for being Japanese, Chin was savagely beaten to death with a baseball bat in a Detroit suburb because two white autoworkers, one recently laid off, blamed the Japanese and their competitive cars for causing widespread unemployment in the U.S. automobile industry. Chin lost his life to ignorance and racism fueled by economic uncertainty that had been fanned by unwarranted, widespread and highly visible rhetorical attacks on Japan. The current situation is ripe to repeat such tragedies for Indo-Americans and Chinese Americans. We therefore urge all public figures to take responsibility for their words in this political season and not to incite any similar irresponsible and lawless behavior.

Outsourcing deserves to be weighed with authoritative analyses from diverse perspectives and through objective discussions about both the costs and benefits to our society before the public or government can make informed choices of public policy. Particularly in an election year, statements from civic, union and business leaders over a highly charged issue such as outsourcing can unfortunately precipitate irrational actions and endanger the lives and property of innocent bystanders.

To promote a fair, balanced and informed debate on the issue of outsourcing and possible solutions that will preserve and promote the growth of American employment as well as economic prosperity, we are collecting and sharing representative views from leading experts on outsourcing on our website. Our site will contain a variety of sources and points of view.


Committee of 100
Outsourcing Resource Guide

From a relatively obscure debate among economists to a presidential campaign issue, the subject of the “outsourcing” of American jobs migrated during the first six months of this year from the business section to the front page of the nation’s major print media. While jobs moving offshore to India dominated the stories, China received the second most attention in major news stories. Because of China’s prominence in the public discourse over outsourcing, the Committee of 100 undertook a close and comprehensive look at news and opinion on this subject as expressed in major print media.

Although the loss of jobs is a major concern for our nation, getting at the truth about outsourcing is especially difficult in a presidential election year. Our research sought to separate the reasoned discourse from the political rhetoric. This survey covers a total of 187 citations, including vast numbers of media reports as well as public statements by non-partisan public leaders. We have organized it so that you can review our findings by scanning the citations and their salient points or go into detail by clinking on a link for each citations.

The vast majority of economists and others well schooled in this discipline are, as represented in these citations, sanguine about the long-term effects of outsourcing. Generally they attribute productivity, not outsourcing, to job loss in the United States. They recognize the broad benefit to American consumers of cheaper goods produced overseas. They see outsourcing as a phenomenon that has been a virtual constant in our nation’s history—beginning with regional shifts, such as the textile industry moving from New England to the South, and call centers from major urban areas to the Midwest. But they also express their concern that the U.S. competitiveness in the global economy is threatened by the erosion of the nation’s education system, particularly in the areas of math and science.

Economists and others who have seriously contemplated outsourcing contend that it is ultimately a positive development for the U.S. and global economies. But while the benefits of outsourcing are subtle, long-term and broadly dispersed across the entire population, the negative impacts on discrete groups of U.S. workers are acute and severe. These affected workers form a powerful political voice.

Although much of the discourse reflected in this bibliography addresses the relationship between outsourcing and job loss in the United States, it also includes some ideas about a thoughtful, systematic plan for creating jobs. We encourage those in positions of power--whether commentators or policy makers--to devote their prodigious intellectual and analytical resources to addressing this problem. We also recommend that, in the short term, policy makers address the needs of workers who have lost their jobs--no matter what the cause.

This Committee of 100 outsourcing resource has been organized for easy reference, but we’re also aware that you may have limited time in your review of news and commentary on the subject of outsourcing. Therefore, we’ve listed below what we regard as the 12 most salient citations, which should provide a succinct overview of the most recent discourse:

Offshoring Forces Tech-Job Seekers To Shift Strategy
The Washington Post
By Ellen McCarthy
Sep. 30, 2004

Motor maker that reversed expectations
Financial Times
By Peter Marsh
Sep. 28, 2004

Chan Complains of Limited Roles for Asians
Associated Press
Sep. 24, 2004

High-End Technology Work Not Immune to Outsourcing
The New York Times
By Steve Lohr
June 16, 2004

Offshoring fails to make its mark on jobless totals
Washington Financial Times
By Christopher Swann
Jun 11, 2004

The Outsourcing Bogeyman

Foreign Affairs
By Daniel W. Drezner
May/June 2004

U.S. Is Losing Its Dominance in the Sciences
The New York Times
By William J. Broad
May 3, 2004

Government Rejects China Trade Sanctions
The Washington Post
By Paul Blustein
Thursday, April 29, 2004

Losing Our Edge?
The New York Times
By Thomas L. Friedman
April 22, 2004

Looking for a Villain, and Finding One in China
The New York Times
By Eduardo Porter
April 18, 2004

New Economy: Debate Over Exporting Jobs Raises Questions on Policies
The New York Times
By Steve Lohr
Feb 23, 2004

The Great Hollowing-out Myth
Outsourcing to other countries has become a hot political issue in America. Contrary to what John Edwards, John Kerry and George Bush seem to think, it actually sustains American jobs

The Economist
Economist Staff
Feb 23, 2004

Staring Into the Mouth of the Trade Deficit
(in PDF)
The New York Times
By Elizabeth Becker
Feb 21, 2004

Japanese Capital and Jobs Flowing to China
The New York Times
By Ken Belson
February 17, 2004

Op-Ed Columnist: Watching the Jobs Go By
The New York Times
By Nicholas D. Kristof
February 11, 2004

Bracing for the Blow
The New York Times
By Bob Herbert
Dec 26, 2003

Op-Ed Columnist: Attack of the Killer Bras
The New York Times
By Nicholas D. Kristof
Dec 10, 2003

Economic View: Imports Don't Deserve All That Blame
The New York Times
By Edmund L. Andrews
Dec 7, 2003

Who Wins and Who Loses as Jobs Move Overseas?
The New York Times
By Erika Kinetz
Dec 7, 2003

An Ohio Town Is Hard Hit as Leading Industry Moves to China
The New York Times
By Joseph Kahn
Dec 7, 2003

How to win with China
Financial Times
By Martin Wolf

China and the world economy
Tilting at dragons
The Economist
Oct 23, 2003


Due to the fact that the print media are vastly more “searchable” than radio and television, we sought to focus on this aspect of the public record. However, we are mindful that radio and television have also given substantial time to the subject of outsourcing. By far the most vocal coverage on this issue by non-print media has been CNN, particularly the “Lou Dobbs Tonight” program. Dobbs’ viewpoint is dramatically at odds with what economists and other experts have asserted. To access this point of view, go to http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/lou.dobbs.tonight/

Note: Although our search covered a specific six-month period, articles published outside that period were brought to our attention, and we have posted the best of those along with those produced as a result of our search.

 

to view the complete resource guide, download our

OUTSOURCING BIBLIOGRAPHY

Publication dates: 11/30/03-5/31/04
343 total citations

 

 

 


 

 

 

Related Websites

Daniel W. Drezner
An outsourcing bibliography

Discovery Channel:: The Other Side of Outsourcing
Discovery Channel website