The Instigator
Kasrahalteth
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
Shorack
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

Outsourcing labor is a serious danger to America's economy and needs to be dealt with.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/13/2008 Category: Miscellaneous
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,120 times Debate No: 2619
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (36)
Votes (10)

 

Kasrahalteth

Pro

Frithaes. There aren't nearly enough debates about outsourcing on this website and I thought I'd fix that.

Outsourcing is a simple enough concept. If an American company outsources all but its top tier, say 10% of its workers, the managers and corporate leaders and whatnot, then all the money spent on its product either goes to the foreign workers or to that top tier. (And possibly the stock holders but I'll address that later.) The top tier (managers and the like) will give back to the country to some degree by buying more products and thusly funding more American companies. However, they make up only 10% of the workforce at our company so there's going to be less consumption of goods than there would have been if all of the workers at our company were in the US. (One family can only own so many refrigerators, for example.) The rest of the money spent on our company's goods go to the foreign workers. That money goes into a veritable black hole. Foreign workers don't buy American goods. So any money spent paying them is lost to the American economy.

Let's say that our hypothetical company makes one billion dollars a year. And let's assume that our top 10% gets 70% of our company's profits. Obviously, that's really optimistic, but I suppose this situation needs a little optimism anyway. So those people get $700 million dollars a year, which they hopefully spend on American goods, and support America's economy. The remaining $300 million goes to foreign workers who buy locally. Therefore, for every year our company exists, the country as a whole loses $300 million. But the 10% of workers in the US split their $700 million and so are doing quite well for themselves. Their profits are up. They're happy.

Now, let's say that our company started outsourcing last year. So up until last year, 90% of its workers were American citizens. Naturally, they were laid off when the company started outsourcing. Let's say our company employs a total of 100,000 workers. So now we have 90,000 American citizens without jobs. Naturally, most just find new jobs. A few don't. Now, our hypothetical company is very successful. Since foreign labor is so much cheaper, it can lower the prices of its product. Naturally, consumers tend to buy the cheapest product. So other, similar, companies either start outsourcing to keep up with its prices or get forced out of business (or possibly bought) by our company. Now, let's say that each of those companies lays off 90,000 workers too. Those workers now look for similar jobs at similar companies. But all have outsourced those jobs to keep up with our company. So those people either go back to school to educate themselves for a different job, or end up unemployed.

Remember that the money normally paid to these workers is now either funneled into that top tier or has been paid to foreign labor, and is out of circulation in the American economy. This is important.

Now, other companies see how well our company is doing for itself, and they start outsourcing too. And the similar jobs in the US are now competing with foreign labor. Since foreign labor is so cheap, they have to compete with those lowered wages. So those people get paid less, and therefore have less money to spend on American goods. We'll come back to this later.

Meanwhile, the collective top tiers of these companies are all rich by now. So they can all afford to fund sympathetic political leaders. So even though unemployment rates are going up, and the country is losing money as a whole, they look the other way.

At the same time the people who own stock in any of our companies are enjoying a bit of a boon as well. These companies are able to get much more profit by paying workers less, and naturally, when the company does well, the stockholders do well.

But back to those unemployed Americans. Now they have to get an education to join that top 10%, or they have to work for significantly lowered wages. Obviously, there's only so much room in that top 10%, and many can't afford a better education anyway because they're working for such low wages and have a family to support. College can cost something like $30,000 a year, not to mention the problems involved with holding a job while getting an education. They can also invest in our rising stocks, but many are very reluctant to invest their income when they don't have any disposable income to lose.

Meanwhile, our top 10% is filthy rich and the stockholders are enjoying a major boon. Life is good for them. And the economy's doing quite well because of the insane profits our companies are making.

But wait. How could this happen? The economic health of the country is somehow distinct from that of the average person?

Here's the kicker. American workers are either unemployed or have significantly lowered wages. At first, consumption is up. Goods are cheaper so they can still afford them. But eventually, they run out of money. And no one's going to buy that new SUV when they're broke. Consumption drops.

Our company's top tier gets nervous. Americans can no longer afford their company's goods. They outsource more labor and lower prices even more.

Consumption goes back up, Americans can afford to buy our company's goods again. But wait. Even more are unemployed now. And wages are down. After all, if someone's not willing to work for $7 an hour now, there are plenty of more desperate people lined up outside the building who'd be happy to replace them.

Our company's top tier is still filthy rich. Now that even American wages are lower, they're making even more profit. Stockholders are still enjoying a major boon.

Back to the American worker. Wages are way down. Unemployment is way up. All the money in our country is either being funneled to the top tier or is paid to foreign workers. No one can afford our company's goods any more.

The top tier is in trouble. They've cut all the costs they can, and still no one will buy their goods. The company collapses. Stockholders lose everything they've invested.

The country enters a depression. Average citizens are completely broke. So are stockholders. The top 10% of those companies is still rich, even though they're probably also unemployed by now. They've got massive amounts of money squirreled away. Life is still fairly good for them. Everyone else, on the other hand, is in some serious trouble.

To make matters worse, all that money that was lost to our economy from paying those foreign workers is hurting us too. America just plain has less money to go around, even if we do rebuild our economy at this point. And a lot of the money we were paying to other countries for other countries was money we didn't have. Ever heard of the national debt?

Obviously this is an extremely oversimplified scenario, but throw in a few more variables, like the raw materials we export to other countries and such, and you've still essentially got the path we're heading on.

The key to our economy is keeping roughly the same amount of money in circulation. Ideally, we'd also be making more money by exporting goods to other countries. But the moment we start outsourcing, we're creating a situation where there's less money to go around. This wouldn't even be much of an issue if we exported goods to other countries, but we import far more than we export, driving up the national debt even more.

So, why, you wonder, do we outsource? Because for that time before we crash our economy, that top 10% can make an obscene profit. And I'd be willing to argue that they know fully well what they're doing, but are just selfish enough to continue. Very few Americans ever look at things in the long run.

So, I guess what I'm looking for is a defense for outsourcing, because I sure can't find one. I'll address some real-world examples of my hypothetical situations (Corporate giants, China buying our debt) in my next argument.
Shorack

Con

As agreed with you, this is in fact about offshoring, rather than outsourcing. True, these terms often get mixed up these days, but there is a difference.

-= Outsourcing and Offshoring: What? =-
Outsourcing is a company that gives out of hand parts of its business to subcontractors. (note that those perfectly can be located in the same country)

Offshoring is a company, moving parts of its business to foreign countries.
(note that the company doesn't have to give it to subcontractors over there)

Also note that you make it appear as if offshoring means only keeping top tier in the original country. That may be sometimes the case, but it certainly isn't the rule.
To give an example, here in Belgium, we used to have huge car industry. Lots of it got offshored, but the assembling process still happens here.

An extensive look at the phenomena now, to point out that it goes totally different than you claim.

-= Offshoring: Effects? =-
Note, this is based on basic macro-economic principles, the problem with it is that it is a cyclus, so you can go on and on and there won't be any ending point to find. So i'll elaborate until the trends are made clear.

Also, i'll try to stick to macro-economics level, since that is the relevant one in this debate.

So, what happens due to outsourcing?
=First effects=
- The costs for the companies drop. (there is no other incentive for this)
- Part of the employed people in the original country lose their jobs.
- People in a foreign country get a job or move to an other one.

=Second effects= (result of first ones mainly)
The prices of goods and services go down. (no, there won't be only more benefits for the company, the increased benefits will attract new competitors, which will press prices down) This means that purchasing power increases.

In the foreign country, either the employment level got up, which means more purchasing power or the wages got up, which would result in the same. (otherwise there would be no reason to move to the new job)
Note that both effects take place, China is a good example. (source: businessweek 'How Rising Wages Are Changing The Game In China')

Offshored means moving goods and services. This increases the demand for transport. (sensu lato: internet and similar connections too) So that sector would get a boost, meaning increased employment. So a part of the increased unemployment gets fixed here.

Second, the increased purchasing power will result in more consumption, this will result in a boost of the economy, which in turn means an increased demand for labour: unemployment drops further. (here we get a cyclus: this means further increased purchasing power, resulting again in more employment and so on, every cycle the effect gets smaller of course)

Also, the increased benefits from the companies will result in more investments. (the companies invest it in projects or the stockholders invest it partially in companies by buying stocks, even if they consume a part, that just means more consumption -> more demand) This is another boost to economy and hence employment.

So, most of unemployment from stage 1 gets fixed in stage 2, maybe it is even lower in stage 2 than it was before it all started.
Empiric data supports this statement: unemployment is more or less constant. (source: bureau of labor statistics)

Also note that the increased purchasing power of the foreign workers count: there is no reason to assume that they won't spend part of their extra income on foreign goods.

Now, these foreign workers will be paid in local currency, this means there will be an increased demand for that currency, making it more expensive. At the same time, the increased offer of dollars will decrease the dollar's exchange rate. So buying from the foreign country gets more expensive, from the original country, cheaper. (this includes labor costs)

=No wage drop=
Indeed, no wage drop.

One of the causes is that there is that the economic boost (explained above) creates new jobs, hence keeps the demand up, the offer of labor doesn't change, hence the wages stay the same.

Why isn't all of it moved to foreign countries? They are at the moment demand a lower wage, right? Well, that is because you didn't take into account other real factors:
Main one is productivity: foreign labor has a low productivity compared to the Western countries. And quality has a great deal of effect on price. (of labor in this case)
An other one is distance: the transport needed is a cost, it only pays off when that cost doesn't grow bigger than the labor cost reduction.
And there are many other costs involved: building new facilities, building up local reputation, searching for employees, paying compensations to dismissed workers, higher complexity of the supply chain...

Those are all costs that come in too, reducing the effects of offshoring on cost structure.
Also, as mentioned earlier too, the increased demand for labor does push up wages their too.
And let's not forget the currency exchange rate, who'll make the offshoring more expensive too.

Again, the real-world has proven this right (wages didn't go down in US), i'd like to refer to my already cited sources for this.
Also, that it is still to come in the long run also is proved wrong by reality: offshoring kicked in early on in the eighties (Hong Kong for example), that is already 20-30 years ago.
If you want an example further down in history: Japan. US investments (which can be seen as outsourcing sensu lato, since what Americans invested in Japan, wasn't invested in the US) were a great drive in the post-war comeback. And see where the country is now.

Then there is the point about national debt. National debt is caused by _government_ spending more than it has. That has nothing to do with the private sector. Well, it does on one point: the better the American economy is doing, the more money there is to tax. But since we're in a scenario of an economic boost, there is more money to tax, so a positive effect on national debt evolution.

-= Offshoring: ban effects =-
To finish, i'll have a short look at what is likely to happen when you ban offshoring.

First of all, how can you possibly ban this?
You could - in pure theory - ban offshoring without outsourcing: not allowing companies to go multinational. But this means a serious restraint on growth of many companies. (hence less benefits, hence less money flowing towards the American company)
+
They would simply offshore by outsourcing: a foreign company gets paid for the job. How would you ban that? Since that is the same as banning international trade! But let us assume we do, just for this moment, what would happen?
-> increasing prices
-> economic reprisals by other countries: they will make life hard for your export if you hamper theirs so seriously.
-> economic downfall, yes seriously: you can't import goods and services from a foreign region that was better at them, so you'll have to do it yourselves, this mean labor has to be assigned to it, labor that can't be used any longer for something it was far better at. So less domestic/national product.
-> war. again, no joke. since only few countries have all their resource needs fulfilled by their own country. and because those resources can't be obtained any longer by trade, other means will be necessary. History has proven this, good example is Japan in WW2. And if those many claiming the war in Iraq to be about oil are right (i'll leave this open), it is a recent and good example. (yes, it was available already, but the supply was far from assured)
International trade has been a strong motivation for nations to maintain peace.

To conclude my argumentation, my two main points in the debate:
- It supports economic growth, including less unemployment and decent wages.
- Banning it is de facto banning international trade and would have an extremely negative impact.
Debate Round No. 1
Kasrahalteth

Pro

So, to round up the beginning of your argument, the term I should be using is offshoring, not outsourcing. But in my defense, the terms are used interchangeably nowadays.

And I while I did say that only the top tier remains in the country in my scenario, I also pointed out my scenario was also intentionally oversimplified. It's impossible to include every variant of outsourcing in an 8,000 character limit. The point remains, however, that every time a group offshores, there are less jobs in whatever country they were based in, and that the money used to pay the foreign workers' wages is lost to the sending country's economy. Which, for our argument, is really all that matters. Just who loses jobs is largely irrelevant.

The problem is, though, that you're looking at things in the short term. Provided, your predictions go maybe ten to twenty years into the future, but I'm looking a little further. I'll show you what I mean.

As you rightly state, the country we offshore to receives a great deal of money from us. But if you look at the planet as a whole, there is only a finite amount of wealth to go around. It can be either money, or resources, or both, but at the end of the day, it's limited. From there it follows that when we give money to other countries, we have less. Regardless of how we move it around, whether prices of products go down, whether we invest in stocks, whether we get jobs elsewhere in the country, there's still going to be that massive drain on the economy, and on the US as a whole. And while our money gets other countries richer, we get poorer. It follows that unless we export as much as we import, we're eventually going to drive ourselves into a depression. And the US currently manufactures very little. In fact, for the most part our only exports are the raw materials that we send to foreign countries to be made into our own goods. We're also not going to be doing much exporting because, for the most part, other countries are doing just fine for themselves. American labor is expensive, so our goods wouldn't be any cheaper than theirs, and it seems a bit pointless to manufacture goods for export to support our purchases of imported goods anyway.

In the scheme of things, it makes more sense for us to safeguard ourselves against other countries' economic troubles by manufacturing our own goods. If we depend on exports to fund our imports, then we run the risk of economic failure should the country we export to stop buying our goods. And of course if we depend on China for our goods and they have a civil war, we risk economic failure.

For the most part, you're looking at employment, which is certainly an issue, but the fact remains that no matter how we shuffle money around, there's less every year. As there's less money in circulation, wages drop or we just print more and inflation goes up. But by some point, no matter how low prices drop, there's going to be a point where no one can afford to buy products. Or inflation will spin out of control with largely the same result. Take your pick, really.

But that isn't to say that employment isn't important anyway. Put simply, only so many people can be employed as public servants, and it doesn't take nearly so many people to man a ship as it does to staff a factory. Unemployment is still going to be an issue. But even if we have more jobs for the time being, we're just stalling the inevitable.

"Also note that the increased purchasing power of the foreign workers count: there is no reason to assume that they won't spend part of their extra income on foreign goods."

So far, this one sentence is your only argument against the fact that offshoring is a drain on the economy. No offense intended, you've been focusing on employment instead.

But anyhow. There's two reasons that won't work. The first is that we don't export goods to the countries we import from. They can't put money back into our economy if there's nothing to buy now, can they?

Secondly, even if we do export to other countries more, so does everyone else. And I think you'll agree that most of the money we pay foreign workers will be spent on local things. So we're after the remainder. However we're competing with every other country selling product to our target consumers for that remainder. Needless to say, we won't get much of it. However, when we pay American consumers, nearly all that money would be spent on American goods (provided we actually produce any ourselves) and would stay relatively contained in our economy, where it would circulate around supporting everyone. Which is a much better system, in my opinion.

"Indeed, no wage drop.

One of the causes is that there is that the economic boost (explained above) creates new jobs, hence keeps the demand up, the offer of labor doesn't change, hence the wages stay the same."

Great. But as I proved, the US has less wealth to pay those wages with, so inflation just goes through the roof instead. And US would have less jobs as a whole anyway, which would drive wages down a little. But probably not enough to compensate for the inflation. At any rate, same argument as before, eventually we can't afford to buy the goods these corporations are trying to sell us.

Not all labor is moved to foreign countries because some jobs necessarily have to remain in the US. The "top tier" from my original argument does, certain groups have to remain to keep everything running smoothly, jobs that physically require people to be in the US have to stay here.

"Main one is productivity: foreign labor has a low productivity compared to the Western countries."

As far as I know, this is not true. The countries we offshore to have no legal obligations to not establish sweatshops or to have fair workdays. Additionally, in most cases, workers are paid by the product and not by the hour, which keeps productivity up. Regardless, productivity isn't even an issue when the labor is that cheap. The only time productivity is important is to weigh how much is costs to hire workers against how much work they can do. Even if productivity is low, if wages are low, you can hire many more workers and still get productivity up to par while paying less.

Quality is also a bit of a nonissue. Since our governmental quality controls are essentially gutted we're left to the free market to determine quality. If there's no one with better quality and comparable prices, then there's no one worth competing with. And because it's so much more expensive to maintain any semblance of quality, those companies can't compete.

I'll give you transport, but transport is comparatively cheap and is not much of an issue for these corporations.

As for other costs, building factories and exporting materials are about the only things we need to worry about. We don't build up reputations or pay compensations to workers. That's why foreign labor is so cheap.

And the private sector has everything to do with government. The government spends because of what the private sector does. Companies outsource. People lose jobs. The government has to pay unemployment to them now, increasing the national debt. Also, if there's less money in circulation, there's less to tax and less to pay it with.

And I never said we should completely ban offshoring, because as you suggest, it's fairly impossible. What I do suggest is severely limiting it. All you have to do is set a minimum wage. If you said that all American companies have to pay the American minimum wage to workers, regardless of where they are, it would solve your problem pretty neatly. Without cheap labor, employers would come back to the US. If there's a shortage of labor, we can still hire overseas.

As for offshoring by outsourcing, require the same thing of companies that your companies get involved with. End of problem.
Shorack

Con

I find it a very false statement that i only take into account the short term.
I've given examples that go 30 years (Hong Kong) and even 50 years (Japan) back in time. Offshoring in general is dated as being about 30 years of age.

And now to jump to the MAJOR economic misconception of our time: 'For one to win, someone else has to lose.' Life is NOT a zero-sum game.
Ever wondered when people will trade? They will when both believe they improve themselves that way. So if we'd really get poorer by paying foreigners to make goods for us, we wouldn't do it, that would make no sense. So, the opposite is even true: the foreign trade makes us richer. We get something we value more than what we gave for it.

Second, if wealth was finite, where did all those cars, televisions, aircrafts... (almost all things we're used to now) came from? They weren't around 200 years ago (most not even 100 years ago). The answer is the human race itself: we're creative beings, we invent, develop new technologies, improve techniques... Technology is one of the major drives for our soaring wealth.

So far, there are only reasons to asume that the economy will improve: we need to pay less for getting the same, so we have more left over to invest/spend.

So no reason to fear a depression. (as a side note: booming economies import more: huge economic activity = huge demands)

The US produces little? Where did you see that? the GDP/capita is highest in the world.
The US mainly exports resources? 27% is resource exports (not that strange btw, a developed country like the US focuses more on services, less on production. So less need for resources), so that certainly isn't the most part at all. (Side note: Biggest export product is capital goods, 49% of the total and so by far the largest part)

Yes, American labor isn't cheap in absolute figures, but American labor also is very productive (again i can refer to the GDP/capita), which justifies most of the decent wages paid now: the return on investment (the wages) is good.

Do you know the comparative advantage principle? It means that people should focus on what they're best at, this will maximize their productivity: there will be more of that product/service in total and the producers (the people) will have earned more. They can easily obtain the other goods/services on the market. The developing countries are very good at producing labor-intensive, simple goods, that's why they do it. The developed countries are very adept at handling complex manufacturing processes, capital intensive production, research, services... That's why those industries are typical for these countries.

Exporting to pay import: comparative advantage.

About the safeguarding. I didn't get what you meant when reading the sentence, but i see your examples following, so i'll handle those:
If a country stops buying your goods, it's because you can't offer them at the same level (quality/price) as others.
Now, you can do two things:
1) You leave things be: the sector that gets into troubles that way, will feel a major incentive to become more efficient. and/or They will move to something different they are better at. The consumer gets the best product at the best price.
2) You go protect that industry: the sector has no incentive anymore to be efficient, since there is no competition. So they won't do the efforts anymore to improve, making the productivity of the sector deteriorate further. The consumer has to buy a product now of lesser quality and(/or) higher price, since they're barred from the most preferment producers.

In solution (1), the free market mechanism will take care of the problem itself, it will give short term problems to the sector, but it will make them catch up or move on to something different over time. In 'solution' (2), you only battle the symptom, but the problem remains in place and even gets support.

China civil war: this will indeed harm the deliverance of their goods. This will make prices rise. But those higher prices will mean more benefits for the remainder of the sector. This will attract investors, they will start production themselves and prices will go down again. (they will probably be a little bit higher, since the Chinese were the best, and the current ones the second bests)
So again, there will be in the very short term a 'problem', but it will solve itself quite fast.
Also, how real is the chance it will happen? Imho not enough to justify protecting own industry, allowing them to be inefficient, resulting in a constant situation of goods for the consumer that are not as good and(/or) more expensive the whole time.

Now for another misconception you bring in: "no matter how we shuffle money around, there's less every year."
That is a false statement. The US doesn't pay foreign workers in dollars, they pay them with yen, yuan, euro... that were bought with dollars on the market.
Now, the other party on the currency market bought dollars. Money being submitted to inflation and not resulting in benefits on its own, is naturally bought to be used again to pay American workers or buy their goods/services.
The only thing that will change is currency trade rates, but this in fact supports economic stability. But there certainly won't be less money around.

Also note that this tackles your next part: indeed, those workers will mostly spend it on local goods, but what they are spending is local currency. The one who gave his local tender in exchange for dollars certainly will spend those dollars on American workers/products/investments. (otherwise there is no point buying them)

About the less wealth to pay with: almost my whole post up to now showed that there will be more wealth. (note that it is the increased wealth that causes inflation, that's nothing but normal in a booming economy)

Again about your only small part remains here:
1) i'd like to refer to my examples given in round 1 about major offshoring magnets from 30 years ago and beyond. + Offshoring is already a 30 year old concept.
2) unemployment rates: they are more or less constant (even more then before offshoring came kicking in): ftp://ftp.bls.gov...
3) there is a major part that stays because it can't be move: most services. There is also a major part that stays because they're good at their work (high productivity), justifying their higher wages.

Then about not having all those regulations: i don't see the problem. They indeed are free from those. But still the production over there is inferior to the US one. Also, besides ban on child labor (an ethical question), i don't see why those limitations should be introduced.

Quality is always of an issue! You're acting like only government can decide (for us...) what is good quality and what not. I am, like most people, able enough to decide for myself, based on informing myself and previous experiences.
Reputation (and so quality) are very valuable things. You can't build them up out of nothing, anonymous. They are hard to maintain, easy to lose, but damn they are money cows. (just look at the prices from brands with a reputation compared to the blanc brands)

On government: i'll leave out the money there is to tax, since i've stated that there is more wealth. Government doesn't spend because of the private sector, if they did, they'd prevent deficits. Those deficits push the private sector partially out of the investment markets.

Short point on your countermeasures:
If you'd do that, they'd just insert a company in the chain: a foreign company that pays fair wages to its employees, buys the goods from the 'sweatshop' companies and sells them again to the US company. (extra chain part -> less profit for the US (companies))
If you'd ban that too, companies would simply change their HQ to an other developed country without the ban, so no longer US company.
Now THAT would drain the US, a company exodus.
Debate Round No. 2
Kasrahalteth

Pro

"I find it a very false statement that i only take into account the short term…Offshoring in general is dated as being about 30 years of age."

From my perspective, 30 years /is/ short term. Remember my first argument? Still holds true. We're only losing so much money a year, and even as the economy is slowly shrinking, we've got an economic boom because buying power is up and people are investing. But we're already seeing the beginnings of that problem I mentioned-- that at a point, there is just less money to go around, and people can't afford products any more. Then you see companies looking to lower prices to sell to a market that now can afford less. I address your other point about not losing money later.

"So if we'd really get poorer by paying foreigners to make goods for us, we wouldn't do it, that would make no sense. So, the opposite is even true: the foreign trade makes us richer. We get something we value more than what we gave for it."

Corporations don't have to make sense. They're in it for the short-term profits. Don't believe me? 80% of the world's firms grow less than 5% a year. (The Ultimate Question: Driving Good Profits And Good Growth) And as the book elaborates, this isn't because they can't grow, it's because they can make a massive profit and then run for the hills instead. Think Enron. Or all those companies whose products have been recalled recently. That's not a mistake, they knew fully well what they were getting into when they outsourced to cheap, Chinese companies. But they risked it because they knew they could make a massive amount of money before they'd get caught.

Of course, that isn't to say that groups can't mutually benefit, but they certainly can't in a one-sided relationship like the US has with its trade partners. I mean, in 2007, our trade deficit was $711.6 billion. (http://www.census.gov...) That is to say, we spend $711.6 billion more than we get from trade.

And you might mention that our trade deficit's been decreasing a little. So I'll cite one of your own quotes to refute this. As you said of our exports:

"27% is resource exports … 49% of the total and so by far the largest part [is capital goods]"

Capital goods are goods used in the production of consumer products. They're not raw materials, exactly, but they're factories, tools and machines. So our "by far the largest" export are the factories we build to produce our own imports. And actual consumer goods (no shame in wikipedia, by the way) make up only 15% of our total exports. In fact, the only reason our trade deficit is decreasing is because we're selling other countries the materials to build the factories they will then use to produce our goods. At a point, the rate at which we build factories overseas will level off and we'll lose that 49% of our exports. 27% is just the raw materials they use to make our products. 9% is food, which has a very low markup.

And for the record, technology does not equal wealth. Wealth is money and resources.

"there are only reasons to asume that the economy will improve: we need to pay less for getting the same, so we have more left over to invest/spend."

Which is great for a time, but eventually the fact that we're slowly losing money catches up with us.

And sure, the economies we export to will have a higher demand, but it's for goods with very little profit. Look at Japan. Japan exports a lot of high-tech, high value-added products to the US but has barriers against the export of US high-value products in Japan.
http://minneapolisfed.org...

In many cases, these countries are actively taking advantage of us. Japan is making a huge profit off us because they sell us high profit products, but they have embargos preventing us from sending them high profit products, so we make very little money from them. We lose money, and they benefit hugely.

Again, even if American labor is productive, it's still cheaper to hire less productive people and just hire more of them. Otherwise you wouldn't see our jobs being sent overseas.

"Do you know the comparative advantage principle?"

Yes I do, and it'd work out quite nicely for the US if they exported product worth the same amount as the product they import. But they don't and we get a trade deficit.
For that matter, we aren't importing low-value, labor-intensive products like you suggest. We import more sophisticated electronics and communications equipment. (http://usinfo.state.gov...) Which leaves me wondering, if we import both low value and high value products, what do we produce?

"About the safeguarding. I didn't get what you meant…If a country stops buying your goods, it's because you can't offer them at the same level (quality/price) as others."

Yeah, you definitely didn't get what I meant. No offense. I was too vague. I was referring to an economic depression. Say a country we export to has a war or a depression or something. We can't export goods to them, but we still need to support ourselves. However, we don't have any of our own factories, so we keep importing. Without the money from our exports to support buying our imports, we end up in a depression pretty quickly. This wouldn't be a problem if we had our own factories.

"The US doesn't pay foreign workers in dollars, they pay them with yen, yuan, euro... that were bought with dollars on the market."

See, that's kind of the problem. The American dollar is oftentimes much more stable then their own currency, so they squirrel it away a good part of the time. When they aren't just running off with it, they use it to buy American infrastructure and stocks and whatnot. Which is kind of bad. Because if the United Arab Emirates own half of America's ports, then the profits from half of America's ports go not to America, but to the United Arab Emirates. And we lose a lot of our income that way, too.

"About the less wealth to pay with: almost my whole post up to now showed that there will be more wealth."

Okay. People buy our infrastructure, and take off with the profits from the fees involved with allowing boats to come to port and whatnot. Which is profit that America doesn't get. Less wealth, right?

"unemployment rates: they are more or less constant (even more then before offshoring came kicking in)"

But it depends on the type of unemployment. In the past, short-term unemployment was high, long-term unemployment was quite low. Short-term unemployment is when someone is between jobs. Long-term unemployment is when someone's entire career is gone, and they end up out of work for extended periods of time. That's the dangerous kind of unemployment because that's when they end up depleting their savings and stop buying things.

"Then about not having all those regulations…i don't see why those limitations should be introduced."

Because, I, for one, am not fond of antifreeze in my toothpaste. Not to mention the ethical concerns involved with paying people below poverty wages and denying them benefits if they get injured on the job and the like. But really, safety of American consumers is generally a good reason for regulations, right?

I'm not acting like the government can decide quality, I just think it's the government's responsibility to make sure products aren't dangerous.

"Government doesn't spend because of the private sector"

Yes, it does. Because the private sector effects the things the government spends on. My company offshores, leaving thousands unemployed. The government gives unemployment checks to them until they can get back on their feet. Offshoring increases government spending.

About your response to my countermeasures:
Great. Add high tariffs, then. Works quite well for Japan. They're very self-sufficient and still make plenty of money.
Shorack

Con

Well, if 30 years is short for you (stress the you), we can still go for older examples of how open trade resulted in wealth:
- UK, beginning of 19th century: opened up for trade (where all the others held up protectionist policies).
- Japan, during meiji restoration: opened up after isolationism for centuries and flourished.
Even if 30 years wasn't long, long can't be much longer, even for you, but we don't even see the first signs of your claims as far as i'm aware.

Companies are certainly in for the long term, since they don't die. And stockholders want their investment to be worth it. Even if they aren't in there forever, it is in their best interest for the company to stay healthy, since that will influence the value of their stocks in a positive way, resulting in better prices when selling.

And how does the slow growth of companies prove they're in for short term? If they were, you'd rather expect a short growthburst instead of slow growth.

Enron doesn't prove that companies are in for the short run. It is an example of an employee (the relation of a CEO towards the stockholders is that of an employee to his employers) that framed his employers.

The recall issue then: where is the prove they were aware of it?
Furthermore, they got caught, so this proves there is control. And what do you believe that the consequences are? Let's take Mattel for example. They got severe reputation damage. (the recall costs are futile compared to this) I don't know parents who'd dare to expose their children to potentially dangerous toys. And it's not like they disbanded now, right? They're still there and don't have an intention too, so no quick cash-and-run.

The trade deficit then: you imported far more goods and services than you exported, indeed. But for the money you paid, you got goods at least worth that amount of money you've spent on it. Is someone with a television (assuming you wanted that), worth 100$, any poorer than someone with just 100$? I doubt if someone will say no.
Also, there are more things that move between countries than just goods and services. Investment for example. (since it doesn't make sense for those foreign countries just to keep those dollars, money itself doesn't get interests)

About capital good export: yes, you export goods to produce with. From that production, you'll buy a part, i don't see the problem. The US is good at producing these capital goods, the buyers are good at producing with it.
You also quickly pass by what capital goods exactly holds. It isn't just buildings. Jets, Parts to assemble (cars, machines, aircrafts...), Computers, Software, Cell phones... Also note that the distinction between capital and consumer goods can be as narrow as who buys them. (someone who wants to produce -sensu lato- with it or someone who just wants to 'consume' it)

About wealth: i didn't say technology = wealth, i said it was a major drive in wealth creation. Also note that i haven't found anywhere your definition of wealth: wealth isn't just resources and money. It is far broader than that. (in fact as broad as i stated already in earlier rounds)

Japan: well, that indeed does damage to the high-tech industry in the US.
But also to the Japanese consumer, who can't buy certain US high-tech goods any longer or at a worse price, resulting in a lower potential wealth for them.
So to protect a part of them (the ones in high-tech), everyone else gets hurt.
Also note that in the interview, they interview someone from the high-tech sector. Now i don't want to attack your source as a whole, but isn't it quite logic that he wants to help his own interests out. He'll be better of when protectionism for HIS sector kicks in, that all the other people get hurt isn't to his concern.

About productivity: i want to stress that you have to put wage into comparison with productivity. To get the best return for the costs you make. Indeed, some jobs move to foreign countries, because productivity/(wage (+transport costs)) is better there. But there are MANY and MANY jobs that stay (since we see stable unemployment), that is for the same reason: those employees have the better producivity/wages.

Comparative advantage: doesn't need a balanced trade balance. If all parties would produce on their own, you'd still have the same losses: less productivity and less possible imports.
There will indeed be some losses in high value sectors (note that EPI doesn't give any numbers on that in their statement, not even in the original article. And refers to aerospace sector: obviously they do more of that themselves, they joined the space race between Nations. (not companies)), but that will be rather limited.

The example of a foreign country having a depression or a war: indeed, export will drop without import. (although that will probably be the case during war)
But again, that is no real problem: you pay money for goods/services worth it. (as stated previously)
Having your own factories for their goods doesn't guarantee a thing. Small and simple example: you need cars. You value those cars at 10000$. They sell it at 8000$. So by buying from them, you increase the wealth by 2000$. (at personal level and international level)
Now, say you hamper those cars from entering local market, so you now have to buy from the less competent US producers, they sell at 9000$. You only benefit for 1000$ at personal level. At national level, you don't see loss (nor gain at first sight) However, there is a reason for that higher price: the US producers were less efficient. But due to the embargo, they are allowed to waste 1000$ worth of means that could have been spent by a company (in an other sector) proving itself more efficient. (by being able to compete on international level)

Now at what they do with the money: there is no problem with investment. Investment is great! Let the Arabs invest in American ports. That will create employment (and very likely: indirect extra economic activity) in the US. Isn't that much better than those same arabs spending their means in their own country, where it won't be of any use to the US people?
Sure, they take part of the benefits. But that is normal and justified: investing is a risk + it needs to result in something for the investor, to compensate them for them giving means to work with.
You don't lose income. Why do the Arabs own it? Because they value it more than other (American?) investors. So they have a better future for the companies (in this case: ports) in mind than the previous investors.

About unemployment. Could you support your argument of many of the unemployment now being long-term? I doubt that, the unemployment are so low that i don't see much space for that type of unemployment. (4.6% in total, when you take the rough estimate that natural -short-term- unemployment is generally 3%, there is not much space left in for long-term unemployment)

On regulations:
It is your right not wanting antifreeze in your toothpaste, producers are obliged to inform about their products, so that should be mentioned so you can chose not to buy it.
Minimum wage and benefits when getting injured: are we talking about the foreign low wage countries? Since in that case it is far more unethical to deny them the work. If talking about the US: real wages aren't what they are because of minimum wage IMO (stress IMO, cause this is a whole discussion on its own, same for the injured benefits:) if you wouldn't have to pay taxes to fund that 'insurance' (because that's what it is: government assurance), you'd have money to buy private insurance. (but again, it is a debate on its own ;))

Government (not) spending because of private sector: imo, they don't, no matter whether economy fares well or bad, they have huge deficits. Also note that increased company benefits (due to offshoring) result in more tax money.

About tariffs: it hurts all US people, for the private interests of some. (the sec
Debate Round No. 3
Kasrahalteth

Pro

I'm really glad you brought up Japan, I recently wrote an essay about it.

In simplest terms, when Japan was opened for trade, its market was immediately overwhelmed with cheap foreign goods and people started buying gold from Japan because it had gold-to-silver ratio of 1:5 as opposed to the 1:15 of the gold standard. Their economy crashed, the shogunate fell out of favor and was overthrown. They flew into an industrial revolution in order to rescue their failing economy, but things got worse before they got better and for a while the US was getting a flood of immigrants from Japan who came here to avoid starvation.

So I wouldn't say Japan's opening for trade allowed it to flourish. I'd say it survived in spite of its opening for trade.

And I'd be happy to argue that we're already seeing the negative effects of offshoring. Firstly, the long-term unemployed I mentioned earlier make up 22% of unemployed, which is the highest rate of long-term unemployment since 1983. Long-term unemployment, by the way, is classified as being out of a job for over six months. http://www.epi.org...

By the way, I think that also covers your argument about backing my claim.

Also, remember my argument about the US having less wealth? The worth of American money is depreciating pretty steeply when compared to foreign countries. You explained why in your last argument. As we offshore, we buy their money, its worth goes up while ours goes down. Well, now the dollar's down something like 30% and it's steadily falling. http://www.fms.treas.gov...
And if our buying power is going down, I'd argue we're getting poorer.

And companies are most certainly not in it for the long term. I admit, it would be more logical for them to be, but they're largely controlled by stockholders, who just want to get profits up as much as possible and then run off with their money. American corporations rarely look past the next quarter, it's kind of a well-known fact about them. I don't know how exactly I can prove this without making it look like opinion, but here's an attempt:

"1,000 largest U.S. companies employed a variety of short-term tactics to boost their collective working capital by $100 billion in the last quarter of 2006..."
http://www.directorship.com...

The slow growth means they're not making any long term progress. They make a lot of profit one quarter and lose it the next. You don't see a short growthburst because those fluctuations take place over months, not years.

My point with Enron was that people were looking to make all the profit they could at any cost. But I admit it wasn't the best example.

And the recall issue. I never said they knew there was lead in the toys. What I did say was that they were willing to take the risk, knowing fully well that the people they were outsourcing to were likely to have pretty iffy quality. The fact that they didn't test these toys for lead beforehand, especially knowing the companies that they were outsourcing to suggests that they were just turning a blind eye because they could make more profit that way.

And you'd be surprised. Mattel's stock only went down about 10% after the recalls, and now it's going back up. They're still going strong and making plenty of profit, so there's no reason for them to disband.

The goods aren't worth nearly the amount of money consumers pay for them. There's something like a 300% markup on everything. And good luck buying food with a $100 television. Besides, the products people buy devalue very quickly while money does not.

More importantly, the trade deficit results in the devaluing of American currency, so we have much less buying power among other countries. If you look at the world economy, we're losing wealth. Because of the trade deficit.

And the idea of foreign countries investing in American companies isn't very good either. It drives up the costs of stock and gives us less control over our own companies. And what good are puppet companies that are controlled by foreign companies and produce in foreign countries?

"Also note that the distinction between capital and consumer goods can be as narrow as who buys them."

The point is, though, that these products are going to companies. So when we no longer are building factories overseas, then the market for these goods will dry up. In fact, the distinction is a made a little more scary for this reason. We produce things to sell to companies, but can't seem to sell the same products to citizens. And if we can't sell the products to citizens now, what makes you think we'll be able to once the factories don't need them?

Okay, I didn't really define wealth before, so now I'll define it properly: It's the worth of the currency as defined by the exchange rate and the combined worth of anything you can sell, namely resources or goods. While workers and companies are certainly sources of wealth, in terms of concrete wealth they're not worth any more than the money, resources and goods they currently own. You can't pay off a debt with work in a world economy.

And Japan seems to be doing just fine for itself. Also mentioned in the interview I cited, our technological advancements are there for them to see, but they hide theirs from us. So they have our ideas as a springboard to improve and as a result has better technology than us. So while they have to buy Japan's own goods, most would have chosen them anyway because they're better.

And yes, there is a little bias when interviewing someone from an industry that's being offshored. But he knows more than someone who's not from the industry about what exactly is going on, and there's an inherent bias in any source anyway. Besides, he's citing facts and statistics.

"But there are MANY and MANY jobs that stay (since we see stable unemployment), that is for the same reason: those employees have the better producivity/wages."

But the jobs that stay are service jobs, which usually aren't as high-paying as manufacturing jobs and don't contribute to national wealth. Manufacturing jobs end with a product that we can sell to other countries, which makes more money for the US as a whole. Service jobs don't export anything, and therefore don't make any profit.

And about Comparative Advantage, if we're buying more than we're selling, then foreign countries get more of our money than we get of theirs. So companies get to invest in our infrastructure more than we invest in theirs. Which leads to them essentially owning our companies eventually, which is dangerous for us.

"The example of a foreign country having a depression or a war: indeed, export will drop without import."

But without exports to make money, we can't pay for our imports without losing money. Having our own factories guarantees that we can still supply our needs without losing money. Any money paid for those cars goes to pay workers and quickly ends up back in circulation. Sure, in your scenario, companies make $1000 less, but is some profit such a huge price to pay for stability?

Arab-owned American ports aren't any busier than American-owned ports. So profits wouldn't change, the only difference is that the profit goes to a different group. And that group uses it for their own motives. It also devalues our currency.

On regulations, are you arguing that producers are obliged to tell me that there's lead in their toys as well? Who's making them, if not the government? If the government tells them to, those are regulations.

It's not unethical to deny foreign workers work. No moreso than it is to deny Americans work, at least. We have no obligation to employ the world's poor.

And outsourcing doesn't result in as much more tax money as you'd expect. Corporations pay a very low percentage of America's taxes. Most is the middle class.
Shorack

Con

On Japan:
you mention the gold-silver-ratio's. note that these were fixed by government.
If free market was allowed to work there, the ratio would move to one representing the real demand and offer.

Indeed, i can imagine there were problems at first, the country barely knew external competition for 2 centuries. No wonder they got a shock at first.
But the pressing external competition made them adapt quickly, the industrial revolution you mention. You mention problems at first, indeed, no wonder, totally new. But after the intial adaption, they grow like mad. (and i take note of this quote from you: "things got worse before they got better" so you acknowledge yourself things did go well in the end)

If they hadn't opened for the rest of the world, they wouldn't have had that incentive. So it is thanks to the opening to the west. There was no incentive the past 2 centuries for them, and there is not a single reason to asume there would have been one if they didn't change their course.

The effects: long term employment increase.
Well, it indeed seems to be something coming along with it. People from the sector getting moved who don't have other qualifications with a need for in the local economy. But it seems to have at the same time a positive effect on the other parts of unemployment.

Trade rates.
I'd like to give this a fair deal of attention, since this is exactly the balancing system. + it can provide us with a thoughtexperiment to see what total internal production would be worth.

Indeed, because the US buys other currencies (and hence, sells its own), the currency drops.
Indeed, this reduces overall purchasing power.
But look at it a little bit closer:
the only things that get more expensive are foreign. Anything produced in the nation itself will be just as expensive/cheap. So that means that more American products get a competitive price. (and less foreign products)

So, let us now do the thoughtexperiment. Say that the USA moves to stopping off-shoring (so no more import from foreign nations) through free market mechanisms. How would that go: by an extreme drop of the currency exchange rate: the dollar going to a new low.
Of course, that won't happen. Since the United States is competitive on many levels.

But as you and i agree that overal purchasing power is hurt by worse trade rates. Seeing that no offshoring would demand far lower than now. So a far lower purchasing power. (less wealth)

On companies short term or not:
Say they indeed don't look further than next quarter results. But after that quarter, the stockholders from that moment will want a good next for that quarter and so on. Not that it is totally the same as long term view, but it certainly also flattens out the effects of short term views (whatever you define as short term)

Mattel example: indeed, they had to know the risc of it to a certain extent.
It is a part of the reason why they are cheap: lower quality. But they cerainly didn't want to have such products. There were checks, otherwise we wouldn't have known that the high lead dosis in there products. (if they didn't do it, a consumer organisation did, both cases free market worked here. but that is a different debate. ;))

About still going: sure they did, but the stockholders did lose 10%. (the drop is a direct consequence of it. the raise you report afterwards isn't, so if it hadn't happened, we can assume stocks would be around 10% higher today)
Also, only, you can of course debate about this, but i believe 10% is quite something. (if you incorporate opportunity costs, it is 15%, you can get 5% on virtually riskless investments)

I'm sorry to say, but your claim of a 300% mark-up doesn't make sense.
There are a lot more costs in bringing a product to the market than pure the labor + resource costs. Capital costs, fixed costs, transport costs, marketting costs...
In the end, benefit on capital for a company won't reach anywhere need that. Banks here make 25% on capital and that is Huge.

Capital goods: you focus on factories, but: First, i repeat, it is far broader than that. Second, there won't be a stop of demand for capital goods. There is a reason why buildings, machines, computers... (everything but art and ground) get written-off in bookkeeping: they need replacments over time.
Also, why are we able to sell it at companies and not citizens in general? Because those have different priorities. I do admit i'm partially wrong by fading the difference that much. They are same products, but aimed at different demands for the product.

Wealth: you did define it before as money and resources. I see you now accepted that it is a broader thing.

Japan, these days:
what makes you think the US technology is more in the open than Japanese technology due to offshoring? And suppose it were (but i don't see grounds upon which to do that), there does that patent system kick in. (ofc, not 100% proof, similar, yet different products come into the market sooner than the patent period indeed, fueling competition)

Service jobs: now i don't know the US situation, but here in Belgian, service jobs get decent pays. better than uneducated manufacturing labor. Of course, the educated handwork (electricians, plumbers...) do have better wages than some service jobs. (and you can't outsource most of those, even if you wanted to ;))

Service jobs do contribute to wealth. Banks, clearest example of them all. They convert short term passiva in long term activa (assets). This supports the economy in such a massive way. They are so important that everything is done to keep them as safe as possible. Second examples: assurances. They reduce riscs. This stimulates people to go invest, to take risks from which the economy benefits.
Also, the internet made international services much easier. (the previous two are also clearly globalized) And with a little thinking, i'm sure anyone can find many more that can work at international level. (ofc, some local part will need to be established in many cases, but most can be handled foreign)

Comparative advantage:
sure, they get more, but why is that? Because they also produced more. It wouldn't be fair if you got as much while they did more.

Exporting less then importing:
Indeed, you'll have less money (not less wealth). But the less money there is (talking in real value ofc), the less there will be imported. So you get to a balance eventually. And that isn't a worse one. US is currently more spending than it can sustain, banning offshoring won't change that, people are currently living above their standards.

Arab-owned-ports (example):
of course they aren't busier just because of the nationality of the owner.
But, the original owners sold it to the arabs. This means that the arabs value it more than the original owners. So those arabs expect that it will improve futher (probably by taking care of that themselves)

meanwhile, the original owners have their money back, which they can go invest in a different project. Which might be an American one, resulting in more investment (hence production, hence jobs/welfare) for the US. Of course, he can take it abroad, in which case he'll get benefits from his foreign investment, which than come into US hands for the part of his investment.

Yes, the arabs currently get part of the benefits (but companies don't pay out huge parts of their benefits as far as i'm aware), but that is normal, investing money expects compensation.

And i agree that some government regulation is needed. but there is no need for a government to play consumer-union.

I'd like to finish with the ethical part:
"We have no obligation to employ the world's poor."
I'd like to add: nor is there an obligation to employ Americans.

Best man or women for the job gets it. and that counts on a global scale and is not less fair than on US level, but fairer. We're all human after all.
Debate Round No. 4
36 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Kasrahalteth 8 years ago
Kasrahalteth
I'm not sure if they'll do something about the character limit, but I hope they do.

And sorry about the essay, if I had the chance to read that comment before the debate ended, I would have put it online for you. Terrible timing, actually. I finally got online about a minute after you made your last response.

And that was a really interesting debate. Thanks.

But for the record (this should have no bearing on voting, for those of you reading comments) 300% markups aren't at all unusual for high-value items like TVs, Japan just as easily could have gone the other way and crashed, not offshoring would create much higher trade rates (provided we're still exporting), the capital goods market won't halt completely but it will drop and level once the initial rush of new factories stops, US technology is more open because we leave it in the open, not because of outsourcing. We publish in world journals and whatnot, Japan does not. Service jobs don't contribute to wealth as a whole, they don't make other countries buy things from us, they just move money around the US.

I'm sorry, I just had to get that out there.
Posted by Shorack 8 years ago
Shorack
Ok, that was a just in time delivery from my part in the last round. :D

And again hampered by char limit, will it change in the next version of the site?
Posted by Shorack 8 years ago
Shorack
No reply. :(
No more time, so i'll have to do without that essay (which means no sources from your side either) and with little time. :/
Posted by Shorack 8 years ago
Shorack
You're welcome.
I do keep up values like a fair duel.

And i haven't regretted it at all.
Seems like the last round is going to be to the point and at the best level of all 4 we'll have done.

Could i ask something?
Can i find that essay you wrote? Somewhere on the internet, or any way to get it quickly? (since there is a time limit)
Would be useful to be able to talk on the same as you instead of going out and taking in different matters on the subject.
Posted by Kasrahalteth 8 years ago
Kasrahalteth
Yes, I'm about 2/3 done with my response right now. I've been around the whole time, I just didn't see any reason to go on the website if I didn't get a notification email saying you'd responded.

On a related note, thanks for responding early.

And I respect your decision not to elaborate had I not responded. Most people on this website would have relished the chance to turn on the caps-lock and say that I must have conceded. Thanks.
Posted by Shorack 8 years ago
Shorack
Seems like you're back. :)
So we'll be able to finish the debate with the 4 full rounds.
Posted by Shorack 8 years ago
Shorack
Wednsday, 3am here. So still no wednsday for you. (and you were off for 2 days anyhow)

However, if you still wouldn't manage to respond in time, i won't use the last round to further elaborate my arguments while you couldn't.

I'll restrict myself to a summary of which points were debated and a mention that you forfeited because of pracitcal reasons: not being able to get online in time.

Of course, i prefer seeing you making an entry during round 4.
Up to now, i believe we've had a decent debate.

Kind regards,

Shorack
Posted by Kasrahalteth 8 years ago
Kasrahalteth
I hate the character limit. So much. Please respond before Wednsday, if you can. I'm going away for three days on Thursday morning and I'd hate to forfit.
Posted by Shorack 8 years ago
Shorack
Darn 8000 char limit.
I haven't talked about everything in as much detail as i wanted too due to it. :(

I also sometimes said us while i'm no US citizen myself, just forget about my real nationality their for a second. :D
Posted by Kasrahalteth 8 years ago
Kasrahalteth
If you know economics so much better than me, you should be able to dispute my claim pretty neatly. And trust me, if that happens then I'll certianly find myself a textbook.

But I'll only bother myself if I'm actually wrong. No use interrupting the two books I'm currently reading to go and find another one.
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Vote Placed by paul_tigger 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Aewl1963 8 years ago
Aewl1963
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Vote Placed by danny445 8 years ago
danny445
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Vote Placed by Shorack 8 years ago
Shorack
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