The Morality of Outsourcing
If you’re making any kind of money online doing internet marketing, affiliate marketing or even ecommerce, chances are you’re either outsourcing or have considered outsourcing some of your work to increase your productivity and profits. Like it or not, it is the wave of the future, and if you’re not outsourcing, you’re losing out on huge benefits, not only in profitability, but in your time.
In previous conversations with friends the issue has been brought up about morality. A specific question some may be brought to is:
“Is it morally acceptable for me to outsource this task to a guy in the Philippines for $1 an hour, do it myself, or hire a company in my home town?”
The generation that brought us union culture has also given outsourcing a stigma as somehow causing the decline in jobs in the US. Let me challenge that with my own explanation of this issue. In short, money is amoral, meaning it doesn’t know good from bad. You can use $100 to do evil, like buying rat poison and feeding it to a dozen puppies. But with that same $100 you can also do good, like helping out a family that’s down on their luck pay their utility bill for the month. My main point is, money itself is a tool that is amoral.
My epiphany on outsourcing:
A few years ago, I used an American company to do my web development for one of my websites. Boy was that stupid. It wouldn’t have been if they added value, but they didn’t. They began to treat me like I was small potatoes and that they had bigger fish to fry, and dropped the ball on a couple projects, so I began to shop around.
I found out about web developers on oDesk , a website where you can post your task or job and have tons of foreigners who are completely qualified, bid on the job. I got a guy who specialized in the CMS I was using for that website, and only bid about 1/10th of what I was paying before. So I gave him a shot. Long story short, he finished the job 10 times faster, for 10 times cheaper, and he was 10 times more helpful and accommodating than the US based company. I later found out that the company I was hiring in the US was actually outsourcing all the work themselves to the Ukraine… So wait… I’m paying you
$2,000 to do something, you pay $200 to a guy in the Ukraine, and keep $1,800… What value are you adding for $1,800?
My question to the guy who says it’s wrong to outsource work is this:
What is more moral? For me to spend $2,000 to hire the American company, and he sends $200 overseas, and pockets the $1,800? Or is it more moral for me to spend $200 on a guy overseas, and keep the $1,800 to invest in my kids’ college fund, or do anything else I feel like doing with that money?
Why do we feel somehow morally obligated to keep overpaid, underperformers employed at the expense of our own personal financial situation? My first moral obligations are to my family, not the “US Worker”.
What’s your time worth?
Here were my 3 options:
1. Do it myself
2. Hire a local company
3. Outsource overseas
Let’s see, I could do it myself but it would take me about 2 weeks of full time energy… If I can get it done for $200, and save myself 80 hours of work, I would say that’s a smart decision, wouldn’t you? Or, I could hire a company and keep loyal to an American company… But then I go bankrupt and don’t have a job myself… So I conclude that I need to outsource.
I’m still pretty new into outsourcing, and still have several areas of my businesses that I need to optimize and outsource, but the principles learned in that experience have given me a new outlook on the issue. Instead of looking at it as I’m destroying someone’s job here, I look at it like this: I’m creating MY job, and with it, my income gets funneled down through the local economy through my spending. Not only that, but I’m helping a fellow human being overseas who is JOYFULLY working for $2 an hour, even happy to have a job at all. How is that immoral? Americans are the only ones who deserve jobs?
In summary, my primary moral obligations are to my wife and kids, and so yes, it is a morally better decision to outsource some of my tedious tasks than for me to waste my time on them, or overpay another entitlement-minded US company. Not only this but I can multiply my productivity, and be a more fruitful contributor myself. Macro, micro. My tasks are now macro (big picture), while delegating (at a very low cost) tasks such as data entry, research, copywriting, etc. The possibilities are pretty much endless.