Clott, Christopher, Journal of Applied Management and Entrepreneurship
Exporting America Lou Dobbs Warner Business Books (2004) 196 pages, Hardcover, $19.95
It is the rare American locale that has not seen a manufacturing plant closure or a firm that is "restructuring" in response to global business trends. The growth of global outsourcing or Offshoring' as it frequently described are the subject of a new book Exporting America, by the noted television business journalist Lou Dobbs. The book represents a greater discourse by Dobbs on a subject he has covered at length in stories and interviews on his CNN telecast "Lou Dobbs Tonight". For Dobbs, a self-described business-oriented lifelong Republican who long has been viewed as something of a cheerleader for Wall Street and American market capitalism, the book represents a significant and controversial departure from his former persona. He has been accused of being protectionist and anti-trade as well as sensationalizing the negative aspects of free trade. For managers and academics seeking a respected alternative vision from that posited by the economics establishment, Dobb's book highlights a troubling aspect of the global business environment over the last decade.
Dobbs begins with vivid descriptions of the effects of global outsourcing on smaller towns and cities where the departure of a large firm can have a devastating impact upon the local economy. The question as to what the former employees of the departed firm will now do for a living is profoundly annoying to most of the economics and multinational business establishment who point out that the changing workplace is shaped by macroeconomic forces that include technological change and new methods of efficient management as well as outsourcing. Workers will retrain for new opportunities or relocate to other locales for employment opportunities. Conveniently left out of this analysis is the painful reality of lost stability for tens of thousands of American workers with the corresponding loss of community as a result. For many individuals the new job opportunities resulting from outsourcing will pay sharply lower wages and result in a decreased standard of living.
Dobbs explores some of the reasons for the growth of global outsourcing as driven by business lobbying groups such as The Business Roundtable composed of corporate CEO's, who along with politicians and academics have anointed the "Market" with its opposition to all forms of government regulation as the only true path to corporate prosperity in a global economy. Corporate consultants from firms such as Accenture and McKinsey have aided and abetted this thinking by providing cost analyses of how firms can increase profits through offshoring not only through relocation of basic manufacturing but also the services sector. …