I rarely listen to NPR on the radio. They belabor the news until the listener is exhausted. I respect, however, their professionalism and thoroughness.

One day I was lucky enough to catch the beginning of an interview with Thomas Friedman, the famed New York Times columnist. I had to stop surfing and listen. Friedman is a great writer and solid thinker. I like his common sense and breadth of thinking. The interviewer asked him about outsourcing. Because of the populist slant of NPR, the answer surprised the young lady asking the questions.

Friedman just came back from a tour of Asia in preparation of his book The World is Flat. He was there. He saw. And his answers were well documented and to be trusted. This is Friedman’s trademark.

Outsourcing does not cut jobs in the US. It frees US resources so that US companies can employ them in product development and higher level research.

This is exactly what a client told me. “We built a plant in China to supply us with inexpensive parts. By doing so, we have become more competitive and have been able to keep the employees.” They also had the opportunity to develop new products.

Friedman is convinced outsourcing is not going away, to the surprise of the interviewer. We have to get ready to compete. A superb education system will make us competitive. Right now the US is financially segregated. Only the wealthy can afford the best (private) schools and first-rate colleges. I went through this shock myself, when I came to this country from Europe.

Another very interesting point he made was that India has the second largest Muslim population in the world after Indonesia. With some 150 million Muslims, you do not hear about Indian terrorism.

The reason is that they are part of a “secular, free-market, democratic” system. They all have an opportunity for economic advancement. Poverty and lack of freedom as in Pakistan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Syria, however, fire discontent and anger. I believe we should be fighting poverty, not terrorism.

(This Observations appeared in the 7-10-2006 issue of The Peter Dag Portfolio ).

George Dagnino, PhD Editor,
The Peter Dag Portfolio.
Since 1977
2009 Market Timer of the Year by Timer Digest
Portfolio manager

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