Outsourcing & America: Doing it Ethically
Are outsourcing and offshoring considered unethical? Do the costs of outsourcing outweigh the benefits? Should we withhold our trust from companies who are currently offshoring jobs? These are just some of the compelling questions the American consumers and business professionals of today are asking. The true blue U.S. economist and I both agree the answer to all three of these questions is, “No!” However, with all ethical debates and dilemmas, the issue is far more complex than the average black and white discernment of right and wrong. There is most certainly a way to off-shore or outsource unethically, just as there is a way to steal time (time-theft), or to creatively manage a firm’s financial statements (ie. book-cooking). The use of sweat shops, inhumane working conditions, hiring of child laborers, environmentally damaging processes, and unexpectedly stripping internal employees of their current positions are just some of the ways a business can partake in shady and unethical forms of outsourcing. However, with social media and the public’s demand for businesses to operate transparently, such underhanded practices of business have been publicized, shamed, and are seen as more of a threat than a friend to a company’s growth and profits. Companies know that cutting costs, especially through morally questionable behavior, will eventually be unearthed and undermine all other instances of good will or upstanding methods of operation. So if outsourcing is done in an ethical manner, what are the consequences and are they worth the benefits? The most obvious negative associated with offshoring and outsourcing is taking away from jobs that could have been kept within the United States. According to a recent survey conducted by Sourcing Line Computer Economics, Total number of U.S. jobs outsourced in 2011 was 2,273,392. The same study found that the percentage of CFOs who said their firm was currently outsourcing was...
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