Saturday, January 5, 2008

Save Our Jobs

One of the tenets of materialism is that there is a fixed amount of resources; a corollary of that tenet is that the amount of resources is less than the amount of resources that is needed, or will be at some point in the future. In short: there's not enough to go around. Today, I would like to talk about this tenet in connection with outsourcing and the resulting hand-wringing about all of our jobs going away.

Implicit in the complaints about outsourcing is the belief in a fixed number of jobs. If some jobs go to Mexico or India, there won't be enough for people here. Let's examine this. I have no formal training in economics besides a class at Northeastern, but it seems to me that the number of jobs depends on two factors: how many things people want to have done, and how much money is available to pay for people to do them. The number of things that people want to have done is practically unlimited; even if everyone has everything they could possibly want, there's always new stuff being invented. There is also no limit on the amount of money; money is being created all the time by the Federal Reserve and the lending activity of banks. So how can a number that depends on two factors that have no limits be limited itself? It can't. Think about it.

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