Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Out Source of Contention


"Outsourcing is akin to making
a skyscraper taller
by taking material from its lower floors."
- Byron Katz

I wanted something light and entertaining today, but I loved that quotation when I found it.

"Outsourcing" is another one of those terms that's being used incorrectly more often than correctly, so that by now most people misunderstand what it means.

If Company A stops taking care of some function for itself and instead pays Company B to do it for them, that's outsourcing: the work has the same function, but it's now coming from an outside source. For example, if Google decides to stop publishing it's own annual report and instead pays some marketing firm to create and publish the report for them, then Google has outsourced its annual report.

But if Company A closes a factory in Indiana and moves the work it was doing to a factory that Company A owns in El Salvador, it's still Company A that's doing the work, even if the location has changed. That's not outsourcing; it's exporting jobs.

I have no problem with people bitching about scummy business practices, but they should get the vocabulary right.

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2 comments:

dukerwt said...

"But if Company A closes a factory in Indiana and moves the work it was doing to a factory that Company A owns in El Salvador, it's still Company A that's doing the work, even if the location has changed. That's not outsourcing; it's exporting jobs."

i think it's also called republican economics.

Mike Ellis, The Jolly Reprobate said...

Hmmmm, not necessarily Republican. It's more amoral than that. Honestly, I think in the American brand of capitalism (not the only kind, folks!), everything takes second place to profit, and that includes Republican values like mainstream culture and small government. I think the corporate powers-that-be in this country only support Republican candidates because we don't have an actual fascist party.