The Harm in America’s Outsourcing

The practice of outsourcing American manufacturing to China is overall more harmful to the U.S. than it is helpful, and it affects consumers, manufacturers, and everyone in between. Not only does widespread outsourcing hurt American citizens by taking away jobs, but it also strengthens our dependence on foreign countries, leading to a significant increase in foreign debt. As of 2021, China owns $1.1 trillion in U.S. debt, which is almost four percent of all U.S. debt.

Not only does outsourcing hurt Americans, but it encourages the poor workplace conditions China is commonly known for. According to the International Trade Union Confederation, China is ranked as a five on a scale of one to five for the world’s worst countries for workers. For reference, Mexico is a four and Brazil is a three.

The “Made in China” label can be seen on most of the products found in chain stores because of the massive amount of American outsourcing. (Source: Bay Source)

Although it can be argued that outsourcing manufacturing has benefits such as allowing startup companies to enter the manufacturing game at an affordable cost and driving competition between major companies, these benefits simply do not outweigh the overall harm done to American citizens. A ten percent increase in Chinese imports is associated with a 5.6 percent decline in the wages of American workers in the same market, while offshoring to China is associated with a 1.6 percent wage decline.

China also plays a large role in multiple industries that are important to the U.S. economy. For example, China is the largest electric vehicle producer, as well as being a major supplier of antibiotics, being responsible for about 97 percent of antibiotics sold in America.

The dependency American manufacturers have on China is largely seen as negative by Americans. A survey from Business Week Magazine showed that as many as 71 percent of Americans believe that outsourcing is harmful to the U.S. economy.

Bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. is the most effective solution to the problem presented here. While domestic manufacturing would cost more, it could save American jobs and get rid of many of the morally gray practices in China’s workforce.