the way to hell is paved with outsourcing

As a nation, we don’t only outsource and “leave to the other guy” basic life-saving services, like the ones that would have saved those dozen dead miners — as the NY Times reports:
This devastating timeline is at the core of a detailed report by Ken Ward Jr., a reporter for The Charleston Gazette in West Virginia, that questions whether some of the 12 fatalities might have been prevented by a faster, better-organized rescue effort…..
As individuals, we outsource the care of our children, our elderly, our homes, even our meals. And, with this outsourcing comes a detachment from all of those connections to people and actions that, until these days, have been at the core of what being a human being living on this planet is.
We idolize the machines and mechanisms that disconnect us from the limitations of our human bodies. We outsource the capcities of our own minds to the machinations of those various entertainment and physical labor saving machines.
No, I don’t want to back to the dark ages, and obviously, as I sit here at one of those machines, I’m not anti-technology — especially technology that saves lives and makes physical work easier.
But as I watch how much my ailing mom needs to be with family, needs to have a sense of being truly cared for — as I do the physical things for her that I could outsource — as, last night, I watched a tv commercial that ends with “Good Night, John Boy” — and as I read the Times article about how those men would have been saved had there been less corporate penny pinching and more human consideration — I got to thinking that this outsourcing phenomena is leeching us of our connections of what is important about living in these bodies.
Which is all why I didn’t outsource my mother.
But I’m thinking that, when I’m her age, having lived so long in a society based on outsourcing, I will not think it odd or dehumanizing to use that outsourcing service myself.
Times change. Not always for the better.

3 thoughts on “the way to hell is paved with outsourcing

  1. Why did this pop into my mind when I saw your post???
    Women outsource having babies (surrogates), men outsource erections (viagra)…please believe me, I do not mean to offend anyone because we all outsource in one way or another, I guess. Even unknowingly at times! Your point is well taken, Elaine.
    God love ya, as my mom would say. Sometimes that’s all there is to say.

  2. I agree with you entirely — but whenever I am in the position of considering whether to ‘outsource’ something , I try to work out whether an expert or professional might do a better job than I can. I think also, that the outsourcing of tedious tasks such as dog-washing, car-detailing, lawn-mowing and home maintenance provides work opportunities for others and has a role in wealth distribution.
    The outsourcing of childcare has always been a contentious issue, but for many children the availability of good quality, dedicated care from someone outside their immediate family, has been a very big plus in their lives. Not all adults are ‘naturals’ when it comes to rearing kids.
    It’s the same with the elderly – many are far better off in institutional care than they would be with uncaring, resentful family members.
    We oldies learnt how to do just about everything when we were younger, but in this day of specialisation and with the growing range of niche services available, it’s nice to have a choice about what skills and abilities we want to hold onto and which tasks we will gratefully leave to someone else.

  3. I have come to understand how each daily mundane task can be a meditation on connection — on both grounding and reaching. I’m also somewhat jealous of a good friend who hires someone to clean her house, mend, alter, and clean her clothes, and do her outdoor work, while she travels, plays golf (not that I want to play golf), enjoys her new grandson, and goes out on dates.
    Obviously, I’m conflicted.

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