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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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November 11, 2009

Telling the Layoff Story

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Posted by Derek

In an attempt to get the story out to a wider audience, I have a piece up at The Atlantic's Business site on the Pfizer layoffs, the J&J layoffs, and what's happening to the traditional expectations for the way research is done. This is going to be a long process, though, and I keep wondering if we're still just in the early parts of it. . .

Comments (2) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Business and Markets


1. Hap on November 11, 2009 1:16 PM writes...

A companion article (which uses your article as evidence) posits that American workers make too much (even accounting for productivity), and that wages need to come down to make outsourcing less viable. Of course, none of the costs which someone's wages will have to pay (taxes, energy, food, housing) seem likely to decrease, which sort of leaves a problem.

Outsourcing enlarges the labor market for employers (because they can go elsewhere for people), but attempts to leverage that market advantage into lower wages run into problems because everyone else is still making wages that make goods and taxes too expensive for the lower wages. It's unbalanced because while companies can go abroad for work, people can't necessarily go abroad for jobs (the labor market is only open for employers and not employees). Hence, people get laid off in the US and W. Europe and hired in low wage markets. The money that doesn't get made here doesn't get spent on education to get for businesses innovations they can't get elsewhere, and drives the people who might have created the innovations to fields where they can make money with higher certainty.

I'm not the hopeful type, but I don't see much hope here.

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2. Anonymous on November 16, 2009 4:36 PM writes...

Happened in IT. first they "insource" (bring over H1Bs) then they outsource. There is no solution to it unless something more conscious then company's impulse to maximize profits starts to figure into the equation.

There is nothing in unfettered capitalism that says it's good for any country that realizes it, it's just a philosophy. There is nothing that says "no country that employs this ism will deconstruct its own society.

Look, if you have a dam that makes some water (1st world wages) higher than other water (3rd world wages) then you suddenly blow up the dam (free market NAFTA, CAFTA, Libertarianism, Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell, CATO, Ayn Rand, AEI, Heritage Foundation ideology) , what happens? The water goes rushing out (wage deflation) and after towns and cities and whole populations have been flattened, adter they've been forced to give up not just wages but also other sources of "disharmonization" such as working conditions, safety concerns environmental concerns, tolerance for corruption, then and only then will some water wash back this way.

Of course, you didn't have to blow up the dam; that was your decision because apparently it was the "ideologically purest" decision, and besides, it made a LOT of money for the people making the decision.

Not blowing up the dam would have been some form of social engineering, some form of government interference in the market place, someone messing with the omniscient invisible hand of Adam Smith, which is Wrong and worse, some kind of socialism.

We must never exercise our foresight or intelligence and attempt to engineer anything like a reasonable progression from state A to state B because that's socialism. We must instead permit the most mindless cockroaches to do as they feel and crawl all over us and each other and anything else that gets in their way as they attempt top maximize profit for themselves, and I do mean themselves.

It what Jesus Christ wants.

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