Tuesday, August 5, 2008
We don't like the term Outsource, or at least most American's definition of it, which is more or less, "the act of American companies giving jobs to Indians instead of Americans."
There are a few reasons for our dislike, including the rather heroic extrapolation of meaning from a word that suggests neither charity, America, work, nor India and the accompanying moral connotations, but let's just focus on the former.
Dictionarily, Outsource means, "to purchase or subcontract from an outside supplier." So let's say we have an American Company, we'll call it SexiLexi, that hires Wordsmiths to coin terms that describe, oh, say erotic acts. SexiLexi's CEO, Mr. S.M. Johnson, hires both American wordsmiths and Indian wordsmiths. To which group were jobs outsourced?
Both, right? Because the outside supplier is going to be individuals, regardless of their ethnicity or geographic placement (or displacement). Why so many make distinctions based on those trivialities, we're not sure.
And isn't this tautological? Isn't everyone/thing an outside supplier? Let's cede the geographic distinction for a moment and say there is a difference between the two purely because India's not within the borders of America. But why stop there? If we're going to make a distinction between nations, why not make one between states and say that since SexiLexi's a California-based company, opening branches in Oregon, Washington, and The Hated State of Kentucky would be outsourcing, too? Where do we draw the line? Where do we throw up the wall and post the snipers? And is it worth doing so for such an absurd term?