That Was Made Where?

Ok, I’m about to go on a small rant here. I don’t do this too often. I think it’s worth doing though.

First of all, if you have lost your job to someone overseas, I’m truly sorry about that. I sympathize with you. It’s terrible that the company you worked for could not figure out how to be more profitable in a world economy. That’s not your fault (as you see, I’m already starting to make my point). Hopefully, you have been able to take the skills and value that you bring to a company that does see how you can be profitable to them. It’s just business, right?

For crying out loud!

For those who think that companies who outsource or have offices in other countries is a bad thing, then I’d like you to consider a few points as you work out in your head your own reasoning. Some reactions I hear from people are "For crying out loud!" when they hear about how something was made in another country. Personally, I think they’re very naive and need their eyes opened.

If you really look at where everything you own was made, I think you’ll be surprised.

  • The computer monitor or laptop that you’re using now – where was that made? China?
  • The operating system you’re using – are you using Windows? Did you know that Microsoft hires a third of their staff from India?
  • The clothes you’re wearing – where are they from? China? Hong Kong? India? Taiwan?
  • More: your desk, your chair, your iPod, your watch, the gas for your car, heck – your car (and all its parts), your stereo!

Why did you buy these items?

Well, you probably bought them because they were a good price. By doing that, you’ve managed to keep more of your money in your own pocket. You get the savings. I really don’t know of too many people that honestly shop and buy just American goods. I wish that was the case, but it’s not. That’s hard to do. They wouldn’t have much stuff, unfortunately. But what does that tell us? It’s a world economy. If it’s cheaper to get it elsewhere, then we’re keeping more money in our own pockets – it’s a win-win and that’s the market (capitalism) at work – supply and demand.

What about those jobs that we don’t have anymore?

Tell me this – have you ever donated your money to another country to help them out? Your $25 or $100 or do you support a child in another country? (I do). Do you know how much the US government gives in foreign aid each year? In 2009, it was almost $50 billion ($50,000,000,000.00). Why do we do this? To help them, right? I mean, we’re a rich country and we should help lesser fortunate countries out. I’m glad we do it. I don’t think we’re appreciated enough for doing it but we still should.

So if you’re in favor of just giving other countries our money, then why not give them jobs? Giving money is a one time thing. It’s used and then it’s gone. Give someone a job and it’s something that keeps on giving. Why not be in favor of that? Why not see the benevolence in giving a job? We give all this aid but then get upset about a job. It doesn’t make sense to me. If we think that, then our hearts aren’t really in the money we send out.

The world is not flat. There’s a global economy at work. It used to not be this way but with technology, communication and faster transportation in the last 100 years, it’s a new ball game. Markets go through corrections. When we buy things cheaper, that’s the market at work. There’s really no way to stop it except adapt. When the lower skilled jobs leave the US, that turns the US into a nation of managers. The education level is higher then. I think education is really important. If we’re to survive in this world economy, it’s vital. Kids have to go to college to compete. We will always need local jobs, of course. It does take very educated people to build buildings, highways, etc. There are plenty of jobs that will stay in the US. They have to. So it’s not all jobs that are leaving – let’s make that clear.

Phone Call Centers Suck

Also, I’m like you – I don’t like talking to foreign call centers. I predict that those jobs are going to come back to the US – for sure. Why? Well, companies that value their customers are going to eventually find out that their customers don’t like talking to those people. They’re sometimes not that helpful. You can’t get them off script or they freeze up and cannot help you (most of them). They can’t improvise and find out an answer like someone who has grown up in the US can do. It’s not in their culture. They don’t want to get off script and be wrong or make a mistake, so they give up. Americans are much more willing to take the "risk" of doing their best to help someone. I know it sounds weird, but that’s how it is.

People here are going to get so sick of foreign support / call centers, that they will see a US call centers as an advantage and switch to using those companies for their business instead. It’ll happen. When one does it, the others will have to follow suit. Just watch. Again, it’s the market at work. It’ll correct itself… eventually.

The US Employment Rate Also Sucks

Are you mad that the employment rate in the US stinks? You should be. Should you blame it on companies that are trying their best to survive in this economy? Absolutely not! (Ok, I’m about to get a little political). When the government goes on a spending spree and sets up a national health care system that has unpredictable costs that businesses will be responsible for, does that make it easier for companies to hire? What about all this talk about taxing the rich? Who do you think provides the jobs? Poor people don’t provide jobs – not that I’ve seen. You don’t want to work for a poor person, right?

It’s really no wonder that companies are not hiring. Why should they take the risk? If they hire someone, it takes a little while before that person is creating a profit for the company. They have to ramp up and there’s sometimes training involved. With all the benefits that need to be provided, it can take months sometimes before a new employee starts generating profit for a company. If, in a short time, the costs for having one employee are going to go up, why add more? Where’s the incentive?

Jobs do not go where the employment rate is lower or higher. Jobs go where it’s cheaper and where it makes more sense. Just like how you bought the DVD player from China. The same principles apply to business. I found someone who recently told me how they think jobs should go to the US since our employment rate is so high. The market is not benevolent like that – Just ask Donald Trump. People and business are just too greedy. It’s not bad greed – it’s greed for survival and to keep the jobs and employees that the company is currently providing. Would you want your employer not to be greedy about keeping your job? You’d probably realize they they’re not fighting for you and you’d leave that company, right?

Businesses need to compete. They need to have the best product at the best price in order to beat their competition. If you have two competing companies selling the exact same thing and one is 2/3rds the cost, then which one would you choose if you were spending your money? You’d choose on price, not on employment rate, right?

How Government Hurts and Helps

If the government can get out of the way of business, then it’ll turn around. If the future was predictable and more certain with costs making things more fixed and stable, then you’d see massive growth. That’s just how it works. There’s less risk. As I business owner, I see this bright and clear. Not everyone can see it from this angle, so I’m trying to make it as simple and clear as I can. I’m not some guy with an MBA or anything – just a simple guy who gets business and likes to create things… an entrepreneur.

Your Own Business – Your Household

Think of your household as a business. You have a certain amount of income and a certain amount of expenses. You want to have more income than expenses, right? If you can’t change your income, then you adjust your expenses. You cut back. Pretty simple. Business is the exact same way. Buy things cheaper and you’re left with more. Of course, you have your standards. If a shirt you buy rips after going through the washing machine once, you’ll take if back and not buy that brand anymore.

How about this: if you found out that your costs 3 months from now might be twice as much as they are now, would you really cut back and save money now? Would you hold onto your cash so that you can survive it? If you knew that your monthly bills (costs) were going to very stable for the next 3 years, would you be willing to spend any extra cash that you have? Sure! It’s less risky to do it.

This is just the market at work. It just works – in your home and in business. It’s the same thing.

Conclusion

Well, I think I’ve sufficiently made my points here and ranted enough. I had to get that out. I recently had this kind of thing questioned and had to vent my frustration about how some people just don’t get it. They have no idea – no clue. I, at least, hope that I know a little bit about this. I’m no expert but the truth is very simple, it’s not complex – that’s how I know that what I see is the truth. The truth is clear.

I hope I’ve illustrated this a bit and maybe helped someone think. Maybe I got some things wrong. Feel free to leave your thoughts. I’m open to debate and corrections.

-Tony