Outsourcing, like trade in general, is reshaping the world in favorable ways beyond our borders. In a classic win-win from trade, outsourcing invigorates the U.S. economy at the same time it builds a pro-American middle class in India and other developing countries. The Indian high-tech sector is flourishing because that nation has ad-opted the U.S. model of zero tariffs on imported software and hardware, no restrictions on foreign investment, and an emphasis on post-secondary education.
While most of the jobs outsourced from the United States are on the lower end of the pay and status scales in the United States, they are among the best jobs avail-able in Indian and other developing countries. In such cities as Bangalore, Calcutta, and New Delhi, hundreds of thousands of young Indian college graduates, men and women alike, are realizing the fruits of middle-class life that we take for granted. Although the $6,000 paid to an Indian programmer sounds ridiculously low in American terms, it can buy about five times as much in India because of lower domestic prices, enabling Indian programmers to rent their own apartments, own cell phones, make car payments, and travel abroad.
As the United States seeks to win friends and influence events in South Asia and elsewhere, it would be hard to find a more naturally pro-American enclave than the Indian high-tech sector. It would be terribly short sighted to disrupt our growing, mutually beneficial trade and security relationship with the world’s most populous democracy to save a relatively small number of jobs that are not among the more well-paying in the Untied States.