James Ingram’s (1983) textbook on international trade contains a lovely parable. He imagines that an entrepreneur starts a new business that uses a secret technology to convert U.S. wheat, lumber, and so on into cheap high-quality consumer goods. The entrepreneur is hailed as an industrial hero; although some of his domestic competitors are hurt, everyone accepts that occasional dislocations are the price of a free-market economy. But then an investigative reporter discovers that what he is really doing is shipping the wheat and lumber to Asia and using the proceeds to buy manufactured goods — whereupon he is denounced as a fraud who is destroying American jobs.
Verizon discovered was that someone in China had been using Programmer Bob’s credentials to access the client’s computer systems for quite some time on almost a daily basis. The Verizon risk team theorized that Bob’s desktop workstation software had been somehow breached possibly via some zero day malware. So, the team decided to acquire a forensic image of Bob’s workstation to see if it could uncover this malware as well as how it got onto Bob’s workstation.
Instead, what Verizon discovered were “hundreds of .pdf invoices from a third party contractor/developer in (you guessed it) Shenyang, China.”
According to the Verizon account, “As it turns out, Bob had simply outsourced his own job to a Chinese consulting firm. Bob spent less that one fifth of his six-figure salary for a Chinese firm to do his job for him. Authentication was no problem. He FedExed his physical RSA token to China so that the third-party contractor could log-in under his credentials during the workday. It would appear that he was working an average 9 to 5 work day.”
Nothing like exploiting a favorable date/time differential.
Programmer Bob, Verizon says, would spend the morning surfing Reddit for a couple of hours (watching cat videos), then take a long lunch, then spend the afternoon shopping on Ebay and updating his Facebook and LinkedIn. He did diligently return to his day job at the end of each day, to e-mail management on his work progress.
More interestingly, programmer Bob seems to have been able to pull off his outsourcing trick at multiple companies in his area. Exactly how wasn’t explained—I assume Bob didn’t have to be physically present at these other companies.
Verizon calculated that good old Bob looked to be earning “several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about fifty grand annually.”
Un exemplu ipotetic si unul real, ambele despre beneficiile liberului schimb internațional și despre ipocrizia protecționismului.
Și, dacă Paul din sintagma Paul and Bob este faimosul Paul Krugman, Bob nu este, așa cum mulți cunoscători austrieci s-ar aștepta, Bob Murphy.