Thanks for Killing Our Local Economy, Scrooge

Is it bad for my local economy if I outsource work? Am I as bad as those huge companies everyone seems to hate right now?

When I began my own adventure in small business outsourcing, I couldn’t shake the worry of sending work overseas for cheap when I knew plenty of people in Detroit who were looking for work.

So…? Is it bad for your local economy?

The simple answer: probably.

The not-so-simple answer: maybe not. Can’t you come up with a few scenarios in which it would eventually help your local economy if you become more successful due to outsourcing strategic work? If your business grows due to outsourcing work, will you not eventually consider hiring local people to work for you in person, in your town? What if temporarily using cheap labor gets you there faster? Even if you never hire a full-time, local employee, if your business grows and you reap the benefits, will you not spend more money in your local economy?

Now, it’s up to you on whether you, in turn, can alleviate your guilt (or if you don’t have any, chase away others’ negative comments) by making some choices that do support the local economy. Sure, maybe you did send some work overseas, but you also supported x, y, and z companies who all sell local products in your region. Perhaps you stopped shopping at the national retailers in favor of a local clothing company that is not run by a behemoth corporation that outsources work as well.

If you create a balance, you will be comfortable with yourself and have a good response to anyone who thinks you are a rotten person for sending work overseas. Chances are, whoever is criticizing you is, at that exact moment, in some way also supporting companies that outsource work and will continue to do so. It’s not fair for you to come under attack just because he or she knows you personally.

A person has to make choices that make sense for him or herself and his or her business. If you choose to outsource work overseas and feel weird about it, well, you’ve got the option to commit to buying your groceries in a farmer’s market and supporting your local economy in that way. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.


This guest post is courtesy of Jennifer Baum. She is the author of Small Business Outsourcing: From Detroit to Delhi, available as an eBook on Amazon or 

Image: David Castillo Dominici /


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