News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists


What will we do when there’s nothing left to do?

Farmers in the South were outsourcing their work long before it became a corporate phenomenon.

Just ask their children.

In the past it was common for farmers to be blessed with a large family. They put their blessings to work milking cows, slopping hogs and picking cotton.

It was a symbiotic relationship.

For the farmer, outsourcing reduced labor costs and increased profit margins. For the children, it provided free room, board and entertainment. It also served as strong motivation to grow up and leave home.

If you think outsourcing can’t touch your job today, don’t be so sure.

Your loyal employer might become Benedict Arnold if he can find a person who will work twice as hard for one-fifth the pay. Consider the number of local manufacturing jobs that have moved overseas.

India is the No. 1 source for the new mercenary work force. It provides everything from accounting to human resources to, gulp, editing.

A newspaper in Pasadena, Calif., shook the journalistic world this year by hiring a foreign company to write stories from local City Council meetings. A reporter in India watches the meetings via the Internet and then writes stories.

I’ll bet the Pasadena council loves it.

Any reporter worth his or her salt will tell you the meeting is rarely the story. The meeting is usually a dog and pony show orchestrated by politicians who want to make themselves look good.

Some telemarketing firms in India are getting downright sneaky.

They’re teaching their workers to speak with regional U.S. dialects.

How does “Y’all come” sound long distance from New Delhi?

Life is sometimes scary for traditional Americans.

Mexicans are streaming across the border to mow our lawns and chop our chickens. Nine-year-old girls are making our tennis shoes in Indonesia. Folks in India are impersonating us over the phone. And the Chinese are hiding behind the American flag at Wal-Mart.

Where are we headed?

Some experts say outsourcing is good. In theory, we’re creating better occupations for ourselves as we delegate menial jobs to other nations.

If you recall, we didn’t hear an outcry from farm children when their chores were outsourced to tractors and multi-row planters.

But many of us still have a nagging question.

What will we do when there’s nothing left to do?

Scott Morris Scott Morris
DAILY City Editor

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