Disclosure Uber Alles
Apparently, the anti-outsourcing crowd thinks companies should have to tell you whether the worker on the phone lives in America. John Kerry even proposed a bill along those lines in 2003. Several smartass responses jump to mind—starting with "Isn't the accent enough of a giveaway?"—but I like Don Boudreaux's comment the best:
[R]equiring firms to reveal the physical location of their employees isn't really full disclosure. It's fuller disclosure, but it's far from full disclosure. And this distinction is relevant. There remain oodles of information about each company and its employees that is not explicitly revealed in the absence of legislation but which might well be relevant to some callers.
Here are some other things that many American consumers no doubt care about and that firms probably would not not reveal unless forced by government to do so:
– an employee's sexual orientation
– an employee's religious beliefs
– an employee's political beliefs
– an employee's attitudes toward controversial matters such as abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty
So why stop with requiring firms to reveal their employees' physical whereabouts? Why not also require firms explicitly to reveal to customers information on all of the above matters?
When Joe from Atlanta calls the Dell help center, he might then be treated to the following greeting: "Hello. Thanks for calling Dell. I'm Anokhi. I'm answering your call in Bangalore, India. I'm an atheist lesbian who always votes for the socialist party. I see nothing wrong with abortion, although I've never had one myself. I also believe in euthanasia, although I oppose the death penalty. I also feel strongly that the U.S.-led war in Iraq is immoral. How can I help you today?"