The advances in both the first and third worlds in addition to the development of technology has caused a shift in what countries do what from an industry standpoint and the measures that businesses are able to take and choose to take as it relates to keeping costs down. There are benefits to the consumers and the businesses but there are also some notable drawbacks and downsides, at least to the perception to many, in these shifts of industry and what countries specialize in what work.
The United States' industrial/professional composition has shifted at least two times in a major way since the inception of the country. When the country was started, it was dominated by agrarian business and economic components. The Industrial Revolution in the 1800's brought a shift to manufacturing. In the last few decades, there has been yet another shift towards service sector and professional-level jobs such as accountants, lawyers and doctors. Parallel to that is the tactic of many businesses to shift many lower-level service jobs as well as a lot of manufacturing positions overseas or south of the border in Mexico to save on labor costs. Indeed, many countries do not even come close to the minimum wage and other benefits afforded and mandated for employees in the United States and corporations have been taking advantage of the fact that countries like Mexico, China and India offer the same basic level of work performed for a lot less per hour. This tactic has led to a marked decline in manufacturing in the United States as well as a loss of a lot of service jobs to countries like India.
There are upsides to the shifts as many employers can focus their domestic employees on more sophisticated tasks and jobs or they can lower the headcount of firms in general to keep human resources and payroll expenditures to a minimum. However, this is deemed as a betrayal to many American workers who insist those jobs should never leave the United States and should instead be done here regardless of the cost savings when the work is done elsewhere. Indeed, there is some credence to that when it comes to things like it being obvious that a customer service representative is not an American and/or does not speak English as their first language. It is also a point to concede that many goods that come from China and other parts around the world other than the United States do not pass the rigid product safety guidelines and regulations that are in force in the United States.
However, in the day of rabid shareholders and of consumers who demand lower prices for their consumable and hardline goods and in light of the fact that competing firms will do the outsourcing at the drop of a hat even if one particular firm does not, it can render horrible consequences for a firms' bottom line and viability to not follow suit with what the wider industry is doing. Hocking good under the moniker of "Made in America" is often enough to get patronage from people that are willing to pay a bit more for their goods but many people are extremely price-conscious and will absolutely pay a lesser price if they can find it even if the good is imported.
However, the potential downsides to relying on foreign-made goods has other downsides other than what is mentioned above. There are also upsides as well. Additionally, there are negative conditions and events surrounding the debate and there are good ones as well. First up, despite the fact that a lot of service and manufacturing jobs are going overseas, the United States are still clearly dominant in both fields even if some of the simpler jobs are being offshored. Indeed, high-tech manufacturers are often scrambling for the talent they are after because a lot of the applicants the come across simply are not qualified to do the work that needs to be done (Krouse, 2013). In addition, jobs like accounting and finance are very lucrative for employees but not everyone is willing to get the schooling and training to be qualified for these jobs. This speaks to a country that is advancing and the jobs are advancing to follow suit. The problem is that the educational level of the workers that are up and coming are not matching this growth and this leads to more off-shoring and the demands for high-tech visa workers, often referred to as H-1B's, to fill the void that the American secondary and college education system and it students are not filling.
Another condition that occurs relative to outsourcing is this over-nationalist or, as some would call it, jingoistic rhetoric that borders on xenophobic or even racist at times. However, many of the concerns posed by such people are valid. For example, the aforementioned example of speaking to a customer service representative in India who obviously does not speak English at a high level let alone understand American mannerisms and speech patterns is going to aggravate a lot of people who feel that they should speak to somebody that is very fluent in Americanized English so that there is a clear understanding between the parties as to what is needed, when it is needed and what precisely is going on. Some companies have pushed the envelope and done this outsourcing even with high-end corporate clients, such as what Dell did in the past, and the blowback was immediate and blistering (Richardson, 2011).
As with many things, a lot of the blowback regarding outsourcing is misguided and misses the point. For example, the aforementioned dearth of qualified candidates for high-tech manufacturing positions is a symptom of an educational system that is clearly not meeting the obligations of tomorrow. Perhaps that is a bit of an oversimplification in light of events like the Great Recession. However, what is not in dispute is that new and near-future workers must have a trade skill or in-demand college education lest these graduates or non-college graduates be relegated to the service sector or other positions that are not in demand and do not have a firm future in the United States either because the job will become obsolete due to automation or it is subject to be off-shored by so many other positions have been and will be.
Indeed, firms cannot be blamed (most of the time) for at least exploring off-shoring. There just has to be a reasonable limit to what can and should be done to lower costs and what is an example of "too much." An example of a firm going too far is outsourcing work to factories and countries that are clearly oppressing and/or allowing workers to be victimized. One great example would the horrid factory that collapsed in Bangladesh (CBS, 2013). The factory supplied finished goods for a good number of retail outlets in the United States. Another example would be a notorious factory in China that allowed for exceedingly unsafe working conditions for their employees but yet the factory was making components and/or finished for Apple Corporation (Garside, 2013).
However, where the line exists between making a good business decision and going too far can be a bit blurry. For example, many workers in China make a fraction per hour or item of what workers in Europe and the United States make and many advocates for poor or against outsourcing decry that as a unfair and unethical dodge of paying a livable wage to either a United States work or a foreign worker. Even worse than that are goods that come from areas in war-torn areas. Although not entirely applicable to the United States since they are not really in this business like Africa is, but "blood diamonds," those being diamonds or other precious gems or metals that come from war-torn areas where people are killed or oppressed for no good reason, are often eschewed by many but are sold in some manner or form in the United States anyway.
Another relevant question relative to outsourcing is whether the minimum wage should be raised in the United States. Some say that employers have an obligation to pay a higher wage, a living wage. However, pro-industry advocates argue that the outsourcing and other restricting of headcounts and full-time employee counts in the United State will get much worse, not unlike what is currently being seen in light of the new regulations pertaining to the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare. At a minimum, a rise in the minimum wage in the United States would cause costs of items to go up thus almost certainly causing inflation but more advanced outsourcing would absolutely be a possibility and there is little to nothing that could be done to stop this from occurring en masse once the proverbial die is cast and the rules have changed.
Finally, whether one agrees with it, it is clear based on the description above which is easily observable in looking at industry practices and…