Thursday, January 20, 2005


Over the last few weeks, we’ve bounced about the idea of outsourcing, how we think it’s good, but that it has a rather bad reputation in the media. In fact, David even today made a brief allusion to it in his post The Capitalist Media. It occurred to be today that there is another way we outsource, but backwards: we insource. Specifically, I had in mind sports. Whether at the collegiate or professional level sports has it in mind to win and to be the best. But sports managers and coaches have often found the local talent pool lacking. And so we go shopping for talent: the Caribbean for baseball, Canada for hockey, Latin America or Europe for soccer, and so forth.

Myself, I’m not a sports fan. I don’t watch or play, and so I am not in a position to offer much commentary about the economy of sports. My observations are merely antidotal. That said, it seems pretty clear that the player pools in those geographic regions must be particularly adept at playing their respective sport. Maybe some of it is natural predisposition (such as height in basketball), but I suspect that most of it is just specialization. Unlike America, most countries have one or two major national sports. Consequently, the players of a given sport in those countries are likely to be especially skilled and practiced in it. And, because American sports offer them and their families an immensely better life, there is great incentive to perform successfully and break into an American league. By analogy, this does not seem to me much different from outsourcing tech jobs to India, or manufacturing jobs to East Asia. More and more ours is a specialist economy, which brings me to wonder: I wonder whether Lou Dobbs’ housekeeper or nanny has a greencard?

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