Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Nick Kristof knows what to do about outsourced jobs: improve American education!

In 1957, the Soviet launching of Sputnik frightened America into substantially improving math and science education. I'm hoping that the loss of jobs in medicine and computers to India and elsewhere will again jolt us into bolstering our own teaching of math and science.

Because we all know that the reason those computer jobs are going to India is that there's just no one in America who can do them. Right?

More seriously, a situation where any job can be done more cheaply out of the US -- as Intel CEO Craig Barrett seems to believe -- is not sustainable. Something's got to give -- and if it's nothing else, then sooner or later, it's going to be the value of the dollar against other currencies. Which could get to be a nasty situation here all around, not just raising the prices of imports, but also raising interest rates here (as foreign buyers of T-bills adjust to the currency risk), which would, in turn, depress real estate prices and hit holders of adjustable-rate mortgages hard.

I wish I saw a better way out...


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