Stone Soup Celebrates Progress

Their respective jobs outsourced, Dave and Celia are jobless. They now belong to a varying population of corporate outcasts.
In earlier times, most of these outcasts were men who wore blue collars.  Today their numbers are being added to by men and women wearing both blue and white collars.  As both groups struggle to cope and sustain themselves, they converge upon a common ground where all the collars are gray. This is the land of the underemployed and in many cases the working poor.
Despite their personal losses, Dave and Celia see the merits of selective outsourcing. They are convinced that for the United States to continue to be a leader in the global economy, it must refine and strengthen its productive capacity. At the same time they realize that swapping out trained and experienced employees for cheap labor whenever and wherever is faulty economics. It is a quick fix, often followed by poor product quality and poorer corporate earnings. In their minds, Dave and Celia see this situation as a con man’s dream. The corporate sucker is foolishly paying to ultimately lose
Since it is their job classifications that have been traded out, Dave and Celia face bleak opportunities within there respective fields. Dave, a skilled computer network engineer, and Celia, a talented metallurgist, soon deplete their unemployment compensations. Taking gray collar jobs as security guards, they agree to pool their limited resources and to share expenses and earnings. They create a plan of action and gather input from co-workers with similar skills and plights.
Calling themselves Stone Soup Unlimited, Dave, Celia and their comrades continue the practice of sharing expenses and income. Their research shows a growing disappointment among some corporations over the quality and timeliness from outsourcing. These corporations as well as their own past employers become their first prospects. Their goal is to compete directly with the outsourcing hosts by offering the same services at fair prices and top quality. Their first two technical services contracts come from surprised and impressed past employers.
Funds remain tight and to honor their contracts the group needs more capital.  It is time to go to the bankers. This is their highest hurdle, but finally two venture capitalists agree to jointly back Stone Soup Unlimited.  They are, at last, back in business.  Regardless, the group agrees to continue part-time gray collar work, thus easing the financial burden of the new company. It is Celia that reminds the group of the other goal in their business plan. It is time to start their lobbying campaign. Some worry that this might be a conflict of interest, but all agree to structure the contracting to support the campaign. The venture capitalists agree with this plan.
The campaign is broad-based and targets both state and federal legislators. Additionally, the program reaches out to corporations through a public relations effort that supports selective outsourcing while advocating that outsourcing contracts be awarded to U.S. individuals and technical services companies.
The legislative campaign emphasizes three goals: (a) no corporate penalties for foreign outsourcing, but tax rewards for awarding outsourcing contracts to U.S.  Citizens, (b) a legislative mandate to have the Bureau of Labor Statistics adjust unemployment data to consider gray collar data, and (c) a legislative mandate to broaden Federal small business loan provisions to specifically support start-up businesses formed by gray collar workers.
Times are still tough, but Stone Soup Unlimited marginally prospers. Their political action continues to stumble, but their progress with corporate America improves because of their success, and due to the continuing marginal results from foreign outsourcing.  What Dave, Celia and their associates have done is rediscover the process that helped build these United States. Is this helping to save America? The answer is yes because they are fighting to preserve and redirect the productive vitality of the American labor force: blue, white and gray.
Always ready with new ideas, Celia proposes that what they have accomplished be shared globally. Some of the group disagrees; stating that such a plan would improve their competitors. Celia acknowledges this, but argues that the Stone Soup Recipe can strengthen the global economy and a stronger world economy enriches everyone. She wins her point and the unsuccessful lobbying program is converted to spreading the Stone Soup Recipe around the world.
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