A Capitalist, Me?

I was discussing the overseas outsourcing of IT with my Aunt, when she accused me of being a capitalist. I was taken aback by the accusation, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. I think that I understand now.

I think that a capitalist believes that the free market is right. While I believe in the power and efficiency of a free market, I also believe that societal values are not always reflected in the results of a free market. For example, Americans are clearly willing to buy less fuel efficient cars. But since I believe that it is in America’s best interest to decrease our oil consumption, I accept government interference towards that end.

Returning to the topic of outsourcing, I’m not convinced that the benefit of lower prices outweighs the harm of lost jobs. But I am convinced that in trying to stop outsourcing the cure will be worse than the problem. The free market may not be right, but it is powerful. And we will pay a price to divert the free market from its path.

Successful companies improve their bottom line by increasing productivity and decreasing costs. Companies that cannot decrease costs by outsourcing are at a competitive disadvantage against companies that can. And eliminating outsourcing makes it easier for foreign companies to compete against us. I’m not willing to accept that penalty as the cost for saving domestic jobs.