What’s this world coming to? The Mexicans are attacking us from the south, and now the Indians are attacking us from … well, from halfway around the world — in their own country! Allow me to explain.
The Mexicans have to come here if we want them to pick our grapes and mow our lawns — and the fact is we do. But to get the brainy work done at bargain rates doesn’t require any sandals on the ground in the U.S. Instead, we can send our accounting, MRI scans, and customer-service needs to India.
I tell you, I love Indians. They’re smart, “hip,” hardworking, quality-conscious, action-oriented, ambitious, creative … and, unlike their counterparts in China, they actually have a sense of humor. On top of all this, they virtually invented spirituality.
Time magazine, in a cover story titled “India Inc.,” opined that the ingenuity of India’s people is the indispensable asset that has sustained its democracy and catapulted it to the verge of becoming a global power.
Best of all, India might just save America from itself — or at least prolong its day of reckoning. By insourcing so many important tasks at one-third to one-fifth the labor cost in America, it is saving U.S. companies billions of dollars. This money, in turn, allows those companies to invest in the shrinking number of things that Americans can still do better than anyone else — which, in turn, increases employment and circulates more wealth throughout our economy.
And with China churning out all the ticky-tack stuff we believe we need — such essentials as back scrubbers, clock radios, belt racks, and toasters — at bargain-basement prices, most Americans can still afford to blow a few hundred bucks on a pair of tickets to a sporting event, enjoy a couple of discount-fare Caribbean vacations a year, and pay inflated prices for tract homes in the burbs.
Which means that everyone wins: Indians get wealthier by the day and Americans are able to continue deluding themselves into believing they are still wealthy.
Two of the Time articles about India end on sobering notes of reality that few Americans are ready to accept. The first is a quote from Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat: “The jobs will go to those who can do them best, in the most cost-effective manner. Geography is irrelevant.”
The second is a quote from Marc Faber, a highly respected emerging-markets investor based in Hong Kong and Thailand: “If someone put a gun to my head and said, ‘You have to put all your money in India or all of it in the U.S.,’ I’d choose India.”
These kinds of comments might be enough to make a guy nervous if it weren’t for the fact that those paragons of integrity in Washington keep assuring us that unemployment is dropping, government spending is down, and the economy continues to recover. What a relief to hear all this good news.