The paternalistic labor model is anachronistic, or rapidly becoming so. Arguably, it served an important function back when toiling proletarians were a sizable subset of society. As proletarians move closer and closer to extinction, their protective armor becomes more of a sham.
Properly understood, outsourcing really isn’t a violation of paternalistic employer norms. Rather, it is a sign of the model’s waning relevance. As we keep piling responsibilities on the shoulders of employers, more and more decide that the arrangement just isn’t worth it to them anymore. They’ll take their business elsewhere.
In our “damn the man” indignation, we may be tempted to blame heartless capitalists for precipitating so much pain. Let’s be fair, though. Even accounting for the human element, a labor contract should still represent a mutually beneficial arrangement. It isn’t fair to demand that employers take on substantial obligations to people they’d prefer just not to employ at all.
Outsourcing, of course, is only the first stage in this tectonic shift. Even foreign labor may rapidly become irrelevant as automation advances. Our forebears would probably expect us to rejoice. No need to work the assembly lines! Now we can all get busy writing poetry, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge, or just spending quality time with our kids. What a gift!