"More to Promote Outsourcing Than Nearly Anyone Else In America"

by: David Sirota

Fri Feb 06, 2009 at 09:30


Remember back in in 2004 when the Bush administration issued a report trumpeting the benefits of job outsourcing? And remember how Democrats correctly went apeshit? Well, let me pose a question: What's worse - issuing a report applauding job losses, or putting one of the biggest outsourcing advocates in America in a top government job?

Unfortunately, this isn't a hypothetical - it's very real. Check out this op-ed in the engineering trade journal EE Times. It's by Rochester Institute of Technology professor Ron Hira, one of the nation's leading progressive voices on the issue of jobs and trade:

On the very same day he was meeting with "CEOs [who] outsource American jobs"--a phrase he repeatedly and derisively used during his campaign, [Obama] named McKinsey's & Co.'s Diana Farrell to his National Economic Council, the inner circle of economic advisors in the White House. Farrell has done more to promote outsourcing than nearly anyone else in America.

Farrell was the lead author of the infamous "Offshoring: Is it a Win-Win Game?" Now she'll be operating at the highest levels of the Obama administration. Her phony "study" did more damage than any other in the debate over offshoring. And her propaganda was used to mislead the American public about the true impact of offshoring.

Moreover, Farrell's firm made millions of dollars consulting with companies, advising them to accelerate their offshoring. And she publicly made the rounds to convince policymakers and the public that offshoring was good for them and the country. It's also no coincidence that the IBM and Nasscom, the Indian IT outsourcing industry association, were major McKinsey clients. They benefited from McKinsey's lobbying as well as its consulting services.

As I said, Hira's a progressive, and one of the nation's most respected (and quoted) experts on the issue of job outsourcing. He's published terrific pieces on the issue in journals like the American Prospect that I highly recommend.

So considering the source - and the ample evidence he cites - I'd say this is a very problematic appointment, especially considering Farrell will be serving on a council headed by Larry Summers - not exactly a guy who has given a shit about reforming our trade/globalization laws.

David Sirota :: "More to Promote Outsourcing Than Nearly Anyone Else In America"

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Farrell (4.00 / 3)
Should not be making policy or advising on policy for this administration.  Period. Outsourcing is draining the lifeblood out of our economy.  No more.  No more of Milton Friedman as watered down by George W. Bush and the corporate crew.  We won the election and as the Republicans used to repeat ad nauseum (during the period they were winning or stealing them), "elections have consequences."

This appointment (4.00 / 6)
really is disturbing, as is the pattern it reveals.

The economic team that is advising Obama from the WH is clearly tilting things so far toward corporate interests that it's hard to see how anything much good is going to come of the Obama Presidency, despite the historical opportunity for progressive change that could put the worker (i.e., voter) back in the driving seat.

I think it's obvious by now how the Obama Presidency is likely to work: from the inner sanctums of the WH issues forth a heavily corporatist economic policy; progressives go into a panic and express their outrage; the WH trims back the worst excesses of that policy, and declares that the interests of progressives have been served.

The end product of this process is policy that fundamentally serves the corporate masters, but is short of Bushian perfection on that score.

That's the fatal flaw of a pure "Make Him Do It" approach. In the end, it's the WH itself that must have its heart and mind behind progressive change, or everything is compromised. It has to push, instead of being pushed.


A list? (4.00 / 2)
Back in Bush's first term, there was a "scorecard of evil" to catalogue all the shit he pulled that often went under the radar.

I'd really like to see someone start a comprehensive list of the right-wing & pro-corporate moves/appointments Obama makes. Sad to say, it's only February and I'm starting to lose count.

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that is a great idea (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
Offshoring: Legal corporate embezzling? (0.00 / 0)
It's interesting to see the people in charge of large corporations who pushed the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries only but a couple years after the dust settled from the fallout with the passing of the Sarbanes-Oxley act of 2002, especially given the consideration that the Bush administration backed it so heavily in the wake of top energy executives being convicted for embezzlement crimes.

This was obviously a ploy to legally continue to shave off corporate overhead in our country, so that a few people at the top could continue to fill their pockets at an ever-increasing rate, without the backlash and potential headache surrounding corporate scandals. Officials like Farrell pushed this new agenda in order to siphon more money from the people who work hard day to day and pass it on to those who only desire to live in excess at the expense of the people around them. This isn't some wild claim, because it was clearly presented when the executives were shown to have multiple, large estates (not just houses) and frivolously lavish lifestyles.

How fair is it to the hardworking American who desires to have even a small shred of a lavish lifestyle and works for many years to achieve that, when an executive can obtain that in a few months with some "clever" corporate restructuring? This doesn't even include the fact that all of this has led to the rapidly dwindling job market and economy we're facing today.

What would be my solution to the whole problem? Restructure the pay scales of larger corporations so that the executives and board members get paid no more than $100,000/year without all the excessive perks and corporate stock options, and redistribute the remaining amounts back to the hardworking Americans. Rather than seeing a few thousand people spending $500 a day and stimulating the economy at a snail's pace, we'll see how fast millions of people spending $500 a day would get things fired up again. Let's make executive positions a focus on the success of the business, the country and the world as a whole, and not of a few individuals with selfish desires and motivations.

"It is very important to generate a good attitude, a good heart, as much as possible. From this, happiness in both the short term and the long term for both yourself and others will come." - His Holiness Tenzin Gyatso the 14th Dalai Lama


Ron Hira (0.00 / 0)
He's a great researcher, ethical on accuracy, methodical and he is one of the lone researchers focused on global labor arbitrage as well.

I'm glad to see you spreading his work and writings around.

It's astounding to me how we cannot even get lip service on global labor arbitrage when it has clearly eroded the U.S. middle class, career stability, wage levels.



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The Economic Populist


If Obama fails as a "Transformational" figure, then so will America.. (0.00 / 0)
   Well well David; you got them again...!

  Let's hope President Obama realizes his power and real support comes from the people and not those large contributors from Wall St. from Goldman Sachs to Morgan Stanley and UBS amongst if not his largest single contributors..

  Obama must be a transformational President to truly succeed and also propel American into the 21st century..we are still largely laboring under a 19th century model..

  He has it within his powers to even if it gets bad enough to declare an "Emergency" under NSPD-51 and Nationalize those parts of our economy's underpinnings and most essential assets such as Health Care, Energy, Steel, and of course these major banks which we now learn overcharged our Treasury by $78 billion for their toxic assets..!

  I'm afraid America will suffer needless hardship and misery due to our reluctance to adopt economically what works, regardless of it's ideology...

 The purpose of government is "to serve the people..!"

 Government should provide the essentials to make individual effort possible, the infrastructure of our economic base should be run not for profit, such as Health Care and Energy....Banks should be providing low interest loans guaranteed by the Federal Government with at least 1 years grace before repayment begins...this will stimulate small business like crazy and create many others..we can do this if we Nationalize these major banks..to help save our economy..and nation and best serve our people...

 America has been treated as if it were the prize of a corporate hostile takeover and it's best assets sold off for quick profit..that's what's been going on for years now..!

  Will Obama rise to be not just a change candidate and now president but a Transformational figure in America history..?

  Let's hope he does because I think the two are linked if Obama fails in his true mission to be Transformational and bring in a new era then America will fil as well because that's what it's gonna take to save us at this point whether most people are prepared to accept it or not..

   

     "Ours is not a system based upon trust but one of suspicion.."  Thomas Jefferson


America is in china (0.00 / 0)
What is made in America?  How will we know what is made in America?  And what does it mean for the average consumer? I havn't seen anything made in America since I was a child. Any textiles made in America are made by immigrint-slave labor, coerced and threatened.  The major 'American brands' have outsourced all their labor to Mexico, Guatamala, Indonesia, China.  names like Nike, GE, Ford probably even Catapillar....and GE is in a position to revitlize the green market made in America but those parts and labor will probably be made in developing countries as well. (And the Big Three are worthless machines)

So, what is made in America?  Even if we buy American we support slave-wages in China and china has virtually no environmental laws--sll the pollution coming out of China is largely Western.  

I hope the Obama incentive plan to build Green in America works.  Consumer groups will have to keep a watchful eye on them to see if we are really buying American and putting Americans back to work.


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