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China slavery

If you don’t listen to NPR, I highly recommend you start. Its either 89.3 or 88.5. Its one of the easiest way for you to get educated about world events and become a more well-rounded person, it may also help you score some points on Jeopardy one day!

But anyways, on NPR yesterday I learned an interesting fact about outsourcing. In America, we are always afraid of outsourcing because we are afraid we will loose jobs and slow economic growth, however, this is not true. An expert on NPR said that when we buy a computer “Made in China” for $1000 dollars, only $100 of that $1000, or 10******* stays in America to pay for the computer designer, the marketing team, the retailers and so on.

Basically, although we are outsourcing a lot of the manual labor required to produce a product, a lot of the intellectual work behind a product is done right here in the US. So, as long as the US can maintain its status as an intellectual enterprise, we will still be profiting a great deal and creating great jobs. The only problem is, as these “developing” industries become more affluent, America begins to loose its grip on the intellectual advantage. Pretty soon, India and China will no longer be just “producers” or “service providers”, but will also take part in the planning process of every product.

This process will be speed up if Americans do not take it upon themselves to invest in higher education and inspire creative thinking. If we keep training people to do routine work, or we neglect to educate our own people, we will fall behind in the world.

When I heard this story, in my mind I drew a parallel between outsourcing and early America slavery. But instead of kidnapping people from Africa and bringing them here on ships, we now have the technology to put them to work right where they are born. We give them a measly reward for their hard work, while we, as slave masters, reap all the benefits of their harvest.