Offshoring

Some recent posts — Marc Andreessen explains comparative advantage on John Robb’s blog. Also goes on to explain what the US’s comparative advantages may be. Per Tyler Cowen, small businesses are outsourcing too.

These mostly have me thinking about this question: What guidance should we be giving our college-age and high-school-age kids as they think about their educational and career paths? Offshoring/globalization/whatever you call it is going to be a big fact of their lives. Complaining about it is like complaining about gravity; you just have to embrace it and learn how to use it to your advantage. Some of the points of guidance I am formulating:

* Educate yourself to the top of the world. A bachelor’s degree by itself doesn’t cut it. Plan on a masters or phd. Take advantage of today’s higher standard of living here in the US and spend more money and a longer time on education.

* Be multi-lingual. The US has historically not emphasized language education. It might be more important now.

* Consider the fusing of multiple domains in education. In a world where everyone has a batchelor’s, expertise in two domains will still stand out and be valuable. Engineering AND economics, materials science AND computer science, materials science AND law, etc. I know in my own case having MSs in both business and engineering made a huge difference in the number of job offers I received as well as average salary offer — that will only be more true in the future.