"Yes, I want to be able to huff and puff about complex issues — like outsourcing of jobs to India — without any reference to reality. Unfortunately, in this life, I'm stuck in the body of a reporter/columnist..."This is what I'd say to Mr. Friedman:
I'm stuck in my body, too, Mr. Friedman. Here's my problem with your column. You said
"...total exports from U.S. companies to India have grown from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $4.1 billion in 2002. What goes around comes around, and also benefits Americans..."Unfortunately, you completely neglected to mention the fact that, despite the nice news about the exports, the U.S. trade deficit with India has still managed to soar to the tune of $8 billion or so. This being the real world and all, and being stuck in this writer's body (just like you), I felt compelled to mention that you either conveniently neglected to mention the monstrous deficit... or perhaps you overlooked the fact. Comparative advantage is fine if all reasonable attempts toward trade balance are ensured. In a dynamic economy there are supposedly plenty of ways that new jobs are created and old jobs are made obsolete. So I ask you, Mr. Friedman, where are the new American jobs? I agree we should trust individual initiative more than government programs to deal with those circumstances, but let's not assume that government intervention is not a realistic necessity here. Our American middle class is put into near-direct competition with second and third-world workers. If you have your ideological differences, Mr. Friedman, please discuss them within a reasonable economic framework and do not tell us we are not looking at the matter 'realistically." I see what could be a rush of American businesses to outsource jobs with too much arrogance about the eventual effects of a lack of reasonable trade equilibrium between nations. Billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett warned last November that allowing the trade deficit to grow amounted to transferring America's net worth abroad "at an alarming rate." I guess you don't recall that. At the going (growing) trade deficit rate, China's economy will surpass our American economy by 2041. I guess you don't know or don't care how cocky we're getting here in America about this issue. I guess you don't think too hard about that.
Jadoo Works sounds really cool and all, but you've missed some very important points in your nice slice of business-life tale.
Maybe you'll do better next column.
I really hope so.