Friday, July 09, 2004

I wonder

I just finished reading, almost word for word, a magazine I picked up at Borders called "reason" subtitled "Free Minds and Free Markets." It's one of those interesting mixes that makes me wonder if I want to spend the money to subscribe or not. This was the July 2004 issue with articles on Learning to Love Quotas and 10 Truths About Trade. Brink Lindsey, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, wrote the latter article and, as could be expected, defended moving jobs off shore and free trade in general. That's not a bad thing, particularly if free trade eliminates the barriers to the movement of people to share in the new jobs and ends the political lines that prevent all the people in the world from having enough to eat. With that said, I have three caveats. The first is that the U.S. should make sure that those countries with whom we have free trade agreements should meet the environmental and civil rights regulations we have in this country. The second is that this country needs to have better programs in place to help those who lose their jobs to offshoring. When the former colonies moved from the Articles of Confederation to the U.S. Constitution free trade between them caused a number of dislocations. But people were also allowed and enabled to move from state to state to follow those jobs if they wished. Not true today. The third caveat is that companies must train their offshore phone employees better both as to what they are doing and their enunciation. I have dealt with two companies whose phone answerers, after I had gone through all the buttons, were obviously East Indians. I couldn't understand their language and they couldn't understand my problem. I had to get their supervisor, who spoke what I think of as unaccented American English and understood the problem. Of course, the bad side is that this magazine and those it represents believe corporations should be able to spend all they want to on campaigns. I think it's time we took away the legalisms that make corporations just another one of the people. They aren't people but the actual persons who run them get away from responsibility by hiding behind that fiction. There may be more to be said about this later.


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