Outsourced

Media Type: Film Clips Topic: Marginal Thinking, International Trade & Finance

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After his entire department is outsourced, an American novelty products salesman from Seattle heads to India to train his replacement.  

The film is memorable on many fronts, but the most interesting scenes occur in the call center. The Indian workers speak fluent English, but lack an American perspective so they often come across awkwardly. In one memorable phone call, an American caller becomes irate when he learns that the product that he is ordering was produced abroad and he gives the voice on the other end an earful about the loss of jobs in America. However, the call center supervisor devises a clever tactic to convince the disgruntled customer to buy the product despite his objections. She points out that there is a manufacturer in the United States that also makes the same product and she asks if the caller would be interested in purchasing the product. He says yes and she gives him a new – much higher – price. He pauses and after some thought indicates that he wants to the buy the foreign-made product. 

The movie and the scene described above is an excellent device for starting a discussion on outsourcing, the marginal product of labor, and efficiency gains. 

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