Question for NoodleFood

 Posted by on 26 July 2007 at 7:27 pm  Uncategorized
Jul 262007

I’ve had a miserable waste of a day, thanks to a horrid migraine. So I’m going to let you folks answer this “Question for NoodleFood” from Jeff Montgomery:

My question is: what is a proper capitalist assessment of offshoring and immigration with regard to jobs?

Because I work in the IT industry, this topic comes up a lot. There are actually 2 issues I have in mind: offshoring, where companies hire workers that are located overseas, and hiring temporary foreign workers on US soil (H-1B visa). On the one hand, I can hardly blame employers for wanting to reduce costs by hiring in this manner, and if someone can truly do my job for less, I can’t very well stand in their way. However this involves relations between countries and our government’s job is to protect us, so I may be missing something. And there is the potential for huge losses of American jobs here depending on what is allowed (or if hiring ever becomes totally unrestricted). How does one properly assess the benefits and losses and apply the principle of individual rights to these issues?

Well, I can’t resist one quick comment: The proper function of the government is not to “protect us.” If that formulation were right, then a big fat welfare and nanny state would be just and proper. The purpose of the government is, in fact, to protect our rights. Americans do not have a right to a job. They do not have a right to force companies to hire them when those companies would prefer to hire foreign workers. Rather, Americans have the right to trade, contract with, and employ whoever they please, whether American or not. That freedom is not merely the only proper application of rights, it’s also in everyone’s interest. It is an important source of economic productivity via the specialization of labor. For details on the philosophic roots of opposition to outsourcing, I recommend this op-ed on outsourcing by Onkar Ghate.

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