I support outsourcing and offshoring. I applaud globalization and free trade. And I do so because of my moral convictions and religious beliefs, and my deep commitment to American exceptionalism.
As the election season heats up, I am troubled by the moral confusion of those who discuss these policies. The Democrats, sensing advantage, generally attack them, while the Republicans respond by twisting in the wind, showing little if any conviction.
There is some consolation, to be sure, in the fact that both parties probably don’t believe a word of what they are saying. Judging by the record, Obama and Romney are both champions of outsourcing. Like the senior economists of their parties, they have opposed protectionism and discouraged trade barriers; they know that American companies will often need to build factories and hire workers abroad.
In difficult economic times, of course, the American people want to take care of their own, and they see resistance to outsourcing as a means of doing that. This is understandable, even if the economics are wrong. (We know that if global markets do not stay open, we will end up hurting not only others but ourselves as well.)
Still, there are fundamental values at stake here, and there is danger in compromising those values. Therefore, we need to be clear about what our values are and how they relate to America’s special destiny.