It may come back tenfold, as corporations suggest, in overall income from exports, higher salaries in poor countries whose recipients will become consumers of American goods, and higher profits for American corporations in the meanwhile because of lower overhead. Still, as Hira and Hira suggest, it would not hurt to take precautions that American jobs are protected by first of all admitting that a problem exists, by gathering data as to its effect, by taking a good look at U.S. Visa policies and by making sure that corporations are not acting to the detriment of U.S. jobs (Hira 175).
They offer a series of solutions that will benefit workers in the future: adopt more pragmatic approaches to government procurement, overhaul assistance programs for displaced workers, establish better protections for these workers, make sure training for the next generation includes lifelong marketable skills, form institutions that represent the interests of workers, educate our youth so that the U.S. can maintain its technological leadership, and institute trade policies that would be in the U.S. national interest (Hira 191).
The sum of this list is a tall order. It would mean revamping our view of the value of the American worker. Unions might have to take on additional meaning and power, regaining the bargaining power they have lost in the past couple of decades. Governmental policies would have to incorporate the value of the American worker into their perspectives, as trade agreements are negotiated. Governmental policies on education would have to improve drastically and money would have to be poured into public (and private) schools, in order to encourage children to pursue more biotechnology-based careers. America leads in this area today, but, according to Hira and Hira's research, biotechnology will soon be moving overseas, to Singapore and other Near Eastern countries who focus on educating their youth for this profitable product.
Another factor that is evident when statistical tables are viewed is that the U.S. government has not caught up with the fact that biotechnology is a major factor in jobs and income. The statistics and charts published by the U.S. Labor Department do not reflect that this field exists as a viable occupation in the United States. Only recently have the graphs and tables been revised to reflect that such jobs exist and even then they are not separated from older, outdated information on similar jobs. The technological, educational and economic policies reflect that this is a major field that has only recently entered the consciousness of U.S. government, considering statistics that have been gathered.
According to Hira and Hira,
The U.S. government is actively pursuing policies that accelerate outsourcing by undermining U.S. workers' primary competitive advantage over foreign workers: their physical presence in the U.S. The government has a guest-worker policy that enables companies to bring cheap foreign white-collar professionals to America to work on-site, replacing U.S. workers. The process also accelerates outsourcing as the U.S. transfers knowledge to foreign workers. Many then go back to their countries and compete with U.S. workers from there. Even more ominously, the U.S. Trade Representative, the chief U.S. representative for negotiating trade agreements, wants to make this process even easier through the World Trade Organization and trade agreements. (Hira 4)
This viewpoint reflects a kind of paranoia on the part of blue collar workers in the U.S.: a fear of foreign immigrants taking away the jobs that Americans by right of their citizenship should have. From the beginning of our history, the United States has brought in foreign workers to do jobs that were often too low-paying and undesirable for the ordinary citizen to do. Yet, railroad building, crop gathering and fruit stand vending have been attacked at historic times in the past on various fronts as being threatening to the U.S. worker. However, the result of each influx of foreign workers to fill these jobs has only benefited the U.S. In the long run.
Still the question remains, how much immigration is just right and how much is too much? The influx of Mexican workers into North America has U.S. citizens in the construction industry both elated and scared. Though employers hire more people for the price of one lost, even one job lost in a company will affect the morale of other workers and "the result of impoverishment can be a reduction in the motivational value of the job." (Campion 284) close eye is being kept on this new element in our society. The burden of their numbers is being felt in the drain on public services given free to these workers and their families. The influx of foreign workers here to do or to learn technological-oriented jobs has not reached this alarming status, and, considering the numbers needed in this category, may never reach it. Nevertheless, the fear factor seems to be taking an upper hand in the minds of many in the labor market (Cappelli 12).
Jeff Garten, Dean of Yale School of Management believes that the U.S. is facing a new challenge, "the order of magnitude of which is much, much larger than that which happened in the '70s and '80s" as to transformation of the economic world order and may mean an end to many jobs in the U.S. He believes that there are 300 million workers in the U.S. who may be hurt as a result of a new global economy and the globalization of American jobs. (McKinsey 12)
In an article in the McKinsey Quarterly on November 29, 2006, Andy Stern, president of the 1.8 million-member Service Employees International Union (SEIU), puts forth his ideas about reversing the long decline of organized labor (currently representing only one in eight workers) in the United States. In July of 2005, his union and the Teamsters broke with the AFL-CIO, the biggest event in organized labor in decades. He wants to organize employees according to industries, rather than by the companies they work for and to work for better benefits for the members. He also wants to globalize the unions, taking the union to members in foreign countries, outsourcing labor actions, with possible partnership by employers (Shaking, 2006).
Andy Stern's vision brings up further issues related to offshoring: (1) whether this shipping of jobs overseas might bring labor unions to interact with a global labor market which will participate and cooperate to further the welfare of all blue-collar workers in the world, (2) whether the United Nations might have a role in developing policies to encourage corporate responsibility throughout the world, and further, (3) whether this might not lead to a consideration of global government of and institution of global labor laws. Each one of these issues indicates a separate major effort to change existing world economies and policies.
Globalization of labor may not be the only reason the United States will lose jobs in the future. In 2004, an independent commission chaired by former IBM chief Louis Gerstner published a report indicating that teacher quality is the most important factor in education, noting a shortage of qualified math and science instructors in public schools: About 56% of U.S. high-school students taking physical science are taught by educators without a background in the field, while in other countries, money and experienced educators are turning out high percentages of well-educated students in these areas (Frauenheim, 2004)
One thing is certain: the corporate and national political policies developed in the near future will determine whether offshoring is good or bad for the United States. The future of the global labor market hangs in the balance of its possible solutions. Whether China and India, European, Russian and other Near East and Third World countries might be able to capitalize on or fail to fulfill their dreams of benefiting by the opportunities presented to them by corporate America will determine whether it will be good for the United States or not. If this is an opportunity will benefit that other countries, then the laws of free trade might kick in, as a win-win situation, for what benefits the client benefits the company if the company takes advantage of it. (See the article "Perspective: Offshoring: Is It a Win-Win Game?" In the McKinsey Quarterly for August, 2003 at http://www.mckinsey.com/mgi/publications/win_win_ game.asp>). Offshoring may be the road to globalization of free trade and a world economy.
The offshoring quandary was not initiated as a social program that would benefit poorer countries and bring their sagging economies up; it was begun out of purely mercenary motives, but, it might have just that effect.
Campion, Michael A., et al., "Work Redesign: Eight Obstacles and Opportunities." Human Resources Management, Vol 44. Wiley Periodicals, Winter 2005: 367-399.
Cappelli, Peter and Crocker-Hefter, Anne. "Distinctive Human Resources are Firms' Core Competencies." Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. [
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Frauenheim, Ed and Yamamoto, Mike "Reforms, not rhetoric, needed to keep jobs on U.S. soil."…