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An amusing defence of outsourcing

Veteran academic and writer Tibor Machan pens a nice defence of outsourcing here, using the example of going to the barber’s to get his hair cut. Like the 19th Century liberal economics writer Frederick Bastiat, he knows how to take a very simple example to demonstrate the absurdity of the idea that there is a ‘fixed’ amount of work out there to be performed, and that somehow, certain people have a prior claim to your wealth and time. They do not.

7 comments to An amusing defence of outsourcing

  • Oliver

    Here we go again. This blog is like stuck record.

    So we have a public sector employee using ‘onshore offshoring’ to get cheap haircuts. That’s putting it politely. He himself says they may even be illegal immigrants. When everyone wakes up and smells the coffee, maybe we’ll see a movement to onshore-offshore the useless pundit class. Roll on that day.

  • Brendan Halfweeg

    The above two comments are very funny, all things considered.

  • liox

    surely, he’s not a public-sector employee – he works for private universities and think-tanks!

  • RAB

    Um I think the word used is “Outsourcing”
    Not “Offshore”.
    Johnathan and I had a long wrangle over something similar that took two threads to reslove (what was a basic O level Economics misunderstanding between us)
    When I was taught Economics, in the late 60’s , what Machan said was considered plain common sense.
    The example used by my teacher (blessings be upon him for saving me from the endemic socialism I suffered in the Soviet State of South Wales we all took for granted back then) used the example of the Brain Surgeon who was also good at fixing cars….

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Oliver, I have no idea what point you are trying to make, although it struck me as a failed attempt at sarcasm. Machan is a brilliant writer – no wonder he pisses the mercantilists off.

    RAB, hmm, I think that old debate was about immigrants sending some of their earnings to their relations back in places like India. Quite how this was ever supposed to be bad thing struck me as a mystery.

    I keep returning to this topic, if only out of a sort of sadistic desire to provoke the fixed-wealth fallacy mongers. Actually RAB, you strike me as a thoroughly sensible chap, so you do not fall into that category, let me hasten to add.

  • RAB

    What? Me? Sensible???
    Are you trying to totally undermine my credibility as the “Zen Koan” poster round here Johnathan !!
    My hatchet has long been buried on that one.
    I still have half a fridge worth of Lurpak to get through on the strength of it!
    Oliver’s post annoyed me is all.
    The truth and simplicity of that Machan article should be obvious to 13 year olds. It was to my 13 year old self.
    It should be emailed to every British MP . I was going to say just New Labour MP’s but Dave and Co and Ming and the Mingers seem equally clueless.
    Fingers crossed for the match tomorrow! 🙂

  • ian

    This seems like perfectly rational behaviour to me. The organisation delivering a service should, in general, not be a factor in the process of selecting a supplier although there are of course – as ever – exceptions.

    It would be nice to see that reflected more here too – just because a service is delivered by the ‘public’ sector that doesn’t make it automatically evil any more than it makes it automatically good.