Lately, there has been considerable discussion of the movement of manufacturing and other American jobs overseas; “outsourcing” is one term for the transfer of work that had been performed by Americans to overseas workers. This discussiom has even made its way into presidential election politics.

Here are my questions for you:

Do American corporations have any obligation to American workers and their communities to keep jobs here in the United States, even if the same labor could be performed cheaper elsewhere? Often, corporations are given lucrative tax concessions and other enticements to locate, or stay, in a community. Do those corporate benefits imply some degree of obligation?

Should the government intervene to restrict a corporation’s ability to relocate to another country? If so, what kind of steps could be taken? If not, why not?

Before you state that as private entities, the government should have absolutely no say in what corporations do, keep in mind that we already place many restrictions on the activities of private corporations – they must pay a minimum wage, cannot dump chemicals wherever they want, cannot release toxins into the air, must maintain safe working conditions, etc., all in the name of the public good. Can restricting their movement outside the US also be seen as serving the same public good?

I know you can hardly wait to post on this topic (sarcasm), but the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs – which are relatively high-paying jobs compared to the service-sector jobs that often replace them – in the last several decades has caused real hardships. Whether those hardships are just an unfortunate but inevitable result of shifts in the global economy or the result of corporate greed overriding the needs of American workers and the communities they live in, and whether we have any obligation to restrict what corporations do in terms of their business practices, are issues that we should be considering – issues that have very real implications for people like us.

Answer the question clearly and understandable.

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