When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

19 March 2006

Invest in corporate America... just don't work there

Richard J. Newman of US News and World Report has some good advice, for those of you for whom this is an option: Invest in corporate America. Just don't work there.

Newman notes that as trends towards outsourcing and offshoring accelerate, US companies are more profitable and competitive than ever.

The job outlook for US workers, however... not so much.
There's a growing wedge between U.S. companies and their American employees. What used to be good for General Motors, so to speak, also used to be good for the Americans who worked for General Motors. In many ways (putting labor disputes aside), the interests of U.S. companies and U.S. workers were closely aligned, especially when borders were harder to breach and trade seemed like more of a zero-sum game.


What is good for General Motors these days is massive cost-cutting, to help reverse an enormous $10.6 billion loss in 2005 and keep the company afloat. And the way companies cut costs these days is by shipping any work that is transferable overseas and building stuff there, too. In the old days, of course, the fortunes of companies and their workers rose and fell in unison; manufacturers laid off U.S. workers when times were tough and rehired them when business picked up. But jobs that go overseas are gone forever, or at least until assembly line workers and engineers in China and India start to earn the same as their American counterparts. And that's not going to happen before the unemployment insurance runs out. Companies exist to make money, not to keep people employed. But U.S. companies can increasingly make money while bypassing American workers. "The fate of U.S. workers is no longer part of corporate decision making," says [coauthor of Outsourcing America Ronald] Hira. That sounds ominous, yet for Americans with the energy to get off the couch and pay attention, it's an opportunity. Those who are creative, entrepreneurial, well educated, and able to consistently learn the latest skills will thrive. But if you have the choice, it's probably better to be a stockholder of corporate America than an employee.
Invest in corporate America. Just don't work there (USNews.com)

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