It’s difficult to gauge the true intensity of Americans’ alarm over the job-offshoring phenomenon, both be-cause the economy is only still recovering from a recession that especially pinched IT workers and because the issue emerged strongly into public discussion only during 2003, and thoroughly bathed in presidential politics.
Like changes in technology or consumer tastes, offshoring can disrupt the lives of certain workers, companies, and even entire communities. Michigan shares with the rest of the states in both the temporary and localized pain but also in the far greater and more lasting opportunities. And in all likelihood, the adjustments and the opportunities in this state and across the country created by offshoring will only grow in the years ahead.
Yet as participants and decision-makers in the greatest economy the world has ever known, the changes brought by offshoring are just the most recent manifestation of a process that has always been an integral part of our dynamic, market-driven economy. Along the way, nearly all Americans — blessed with the best educational system and the most opportunity-laden marketplace ever known to man — will make the necessary changes in their own vocations and lives.
If the United States, its companies and its workers are to remain leaders in the global economy, offshoring must remain a tool available to our corporations — just as harnessing electricity was in the late Eighteen Hundreds, just as perfecting mass production was in the first half of the Twentieth Century, and just as the development of today’s digital economy has been over the past few decades. Any shorter view of offshoring ultimately will prove self-defeating.