Do we condemn countries like India to forever remain in the economoc slow lane by outsourcing our service sector?

Today I came across a blog by a prominent university lecturer. In it he asked the question about whether it was ethical for him to outsource the development of a page on his charity’s website. He asked around and a taxi driver said “Try”.

Of course he got lots of offers. However, all the ones from the US or the UK were a lot more expensive than the ones from India. So, our man the professor thought “Hmm. Well, it is for charity don’t you know”. And so he went along the route of outsourcing. Not what you might imagine when you think of outsourcing. But I really wonder whether little deals like this truly add up to a whole lot more than the big headline grabbing deals we read about.

Of course now our esteemed blogger complains about communication problems but more than that he asks the question? “Did I do the right thing?”. In fact he used the word ‘disloyal’.

So I sent him a reply, with my opinion.

This is what I said:

Yes, everyone has a case or a reason to find cheaper goods or services. We all want a bargain because we are all ‘feeling the pinch’ even if we are relatively well off or if our company is actually doing well. There is always an excuse to go the cheap route and to get these goods and services from abroad.

Are you being disloyal to your home market? Coaching these things in language like that makes the whole thing seem ridiculous but yes, support for your neighbours should come before support for a foreign economy. Not only for ‘nationalistic’ reasons but the fact that you are also keeping the status quo. India will remain a ‘low’ economy which essentially is set up to support us. The system only works when the cost of living is low in India – this way they can ‘afford’ to offer us relatively low prices. So you are creating a vested interest in the part of business owners and politicians, i.e. the ruling elite, to keep India’s economy lower than the West’s.

It’s often been said the reason for the success of any Empire is ultimately money. The supply of goods and services to the ruling country for no or low cost. We don’t have a physical empire now but an economic one.

What do you think? Does outsourcing hurt or harm us. Comments welcome.