Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Americans shouldn't feel that bad about Apple outsourcing to China

In response to the New York Times article on Apple employing Chinese workers to manufacture iPhones and other products, The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn talked to some economists to get their reactions. One of them, Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution, had this to say. That whole post is worth reading, but here's his conclusion:

The Times reporters persuaded me that east Asia in general, and China in particular, offer an abundance [of] hard-working people with decent skills willing to accept demanding, poorly paid, and boring jobs. The jobs are acceptable to millions of Chinese, including workers with good technical skills, because the other career alternatives open to them are no better, and possibly much worse, than those in manufacturing. The plain fact is that, for the great majority of 17-to-30 year-old Americans, there are better, or at least less risky, alternatives to a manufacturing career.