Yeah, well, I could wish that everyone in the world were as smart as I am, too, Steve, but that would really be limiting. You must think well of yourself that you cannot learn any more than you knew when you read Ayn Rand in 1967.
I know how marginal utility works, and I know the common narrative about sheep from England and wine from France. Moreover, I know a bit more, from a lost work, "Jerry Emanuelson's Algebraic Proof of Ricardo's Law of Association." Even if Ms. X is better at both tasks than Ms. A, it is in their best interests to divide the work into discrete units, forcus each on one, and let them trade their labor -- even if Ms X does the work less well than would Ms. A, as compared to each doing both on their own.
So, yes, we argue easily that by setting up call centers in India, American companies make all of us richer... even as we are unemployed... But we are, indeed, unemployed...
Here in Austin, as a technical writer, the median wage is $38 per hour. I can get my lawn mowed for ten bucks. Is that a clear choice? No. Even as I spend $165 on a lawn mower, I am ahead by mowing my own lawn. I get outdoor exercise, for one thing. The lawn mower is available whenever I want it, not when the neighbor kid is out and willing to work. When I move, I take the machine with me to the new place, with no time lost looking for a new service. I can sell the machine used at a garage sale, which I cannot do with the labor of the neighbor kid after he mows my lawn. In case of total economic collapse, I have a cute little Briggs and Stratton engine that can be repurposed. Repurposing the neighbor kid could be problematic. When I do the work, I do it my own satisfaction, not his. I take all the time I need, not the least to get the job (apparently) done.
All of those micro values are reflected in Andy Grove's warning about America having exported is productive capacity on the cheap.
We might come back to the sheep and the wine, but it is worth thinking about.
We see the same thing in information resources. My wife is a security professional. Her job was outsourced to an Indian firm. Now, someone who is not invested in Being an American is in charge of the computer security of an American firm. Do you not see a problem with that? Remember when Toohey asked Scarett if he was loyal to the Banner? And Alvah said that everyone is loyal to their paycheck. That told Toohey everything he needed to know about Scarett's position once Toohey put the cards on the table.
Where are your loyalties? To America... or to your paycheck? (And, yes, being a situational and contextal person, I accept that "paycheck equals America" might be the highest expression of patriotism for a capitalist.)
For years - decades - Japan fought the import of American rice. We would sell it to them cheaper than they could grow it themselves. However, Japan did not want to be dependent on another nation - even a new "ally"- for its food. The extra cost was well worth the security. Where is your economic security today? Are you turning work away because you have more than you can do right now? I am not. Maybe the failing is mine ...
(Edited by Michael E. Marotta on 4/03, 11:01am)