Victus Spiritus


Outsourcing Has Outside Costs

07 Jul 2009


Due in part to hasty deadlines as well as intellectual apathy we are often unaware of the ramifications of our actions. Capitalism has fueled disruption in the name of efficiency. Outsourcing work to lower cost alternatives is standard practice throughout many of our industries.

After an enlightening conversation with a local construction worker I have come to understand there are deeper issues than cost savings when entire business sectors are locally disrupted. People require time and passion to become experts in their disciplines. As human beings we are likely to have strong social and financial ties to our homes. Consider for a moment the impact of choosing a remote company to handle a local construction job. In a tight economy many local workers are struggling to stay employed. They may have spent the majority of their lives supporting local businesses and infrastructure (higher property taxes for schools, higher cost of living). And this higher cost of living is built into their businesses bottom line.

In fact by continually choosing lower cost remote services we are moving to an unsustainable local economy. Some have mentioned this concept extends to our national reliance on external but less expensive business. While in many cases I agree with choosing what's efficient, there have to be a balance on how much service and products are incoming versus outgoing. Without a counter force of exporting great value, any entity faces financial collapse.

My simple perspective is that of compassion. Disruptive agents interested in improving overall efficiency are required to perform due diligance impact studies on the effect large shifts will have on local economies. There needs to be community support for those who have had their livelihoods displaced. This support can come in many forms, education, training, and realigning of existing skill sets to more efficient local businesses.

We should take nature as an example to model our economic decisions upon. A harmony must be created, without a sustaining core value, we are doomed to annhilate local social structures and communities. This in turn effects the whole, eroding national financial/social strength and the larger global economy. While nature judges survival of the fittest, each species is an analog to a business sector. Less efficient or effective species die out, their biomass and energy is maintained in a sustained ecosystem. In a similar manner we should conserve our skilled workers, business leaders, and philanthropists. This may be achieved by evolving a socio-economic system that has deep enough vision to redeploy and protect our local community resources, it's people.

In closing, instead of viewing inefficient existing businesses as an impediment to productivity, let us plan to respect individual expertise by incorporating valuable human resources into sustainable redesigned economies.