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The Almighty Buck United States Technology

Jobs to India -- A Broad Look 902

Posted by timothy
from the is-free-software-outsourcing? dept.
dumpster_dave writes "Wired has an excellent 7 page article on the current and future trend and nature of IT outsourcing from the United States. The conclusion: the smell of inevitability--the economy will survive, though your job, as it is currently, will likely not. Outsourcing is expected to expand from Service and code projects to the creative aspects as well, with obvious correlations experienced in the manufacturing industry during the 70s and 80s. An excellent read that provides good coverage of the perspectives of players on all sides."
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Jobs to India -- A Broad Look

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  • by FallLine (12211) <fallline AT operamail DOT com> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:29PM (#8183948)
    Enough said.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:30PM (#8183950)
    ...the link to the article is already colored visited from when you read it last Friday.

    Maybe I should karma-whore a little bit and repost some of the highly moderated comments from last time?
  • by GreenCrackBaby (203293) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:30PM (#8183960) Homepage
    Rather than rehash what I said about this already, i'll just link to my previous post regarding outsourcing [slashdot.org].

    Nobody ever talks about how this will affect our industry 10-20 years down the road!
    • by Sanksa Wott (680705) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:23PM (#8184613) Homepage Journal
      I agree, and I feel like the effects are evident already. Ive completed a MS in CS, and it seems harder and harder to find jobs that let you "get your foot in the door". Everybody wants 10 years of blah-blah experience, but how do I get experience with specialized enterprise development tools when I do tech support all day? I mean, I cant even get an interview at my own company (300k employees, worlds largest courier service...) because I dont have copies of BEA software installed at home to play with.

      I mean, if it's guaranteed that those entry-level/junior positions are going the way of the buffalo, I will have no experience for those mystical "pure knowledge" positions, should they ever appear. Have I mis-invested 7 years and tens of thousands of dollars on the wrong college degree? Should I just say F*** it all, give away all my hardware, and go get a paper MBA from Sallie Struthers and become a store manager at a Target or something? It's like having a degree in model ship building. Sure it's hard and it takes decades to be considered a master, but only a few really make money for doing it the old fashioned way, and most people just get their model ships from a store that buys them from overseas where they are made for cheap.

      From the duped article, p5: "Your very nature will drive you to fight," Lord Krishna tells Arjuna. "The only choice is what to fight against."

      sorry for the rant, but its tough these days

      --B
      • Ive completed a MS in CS, and it seems harder and harder to find jobs that let you "get your foot in the door". Everybody wants 10 years of blah-blah experience . . .

        The job ads looking for a laundry list of experience in wildly different areas or 15 years of Java experience are bogus.

        - Placing an ad that no local worker can fill: $50.
        - Spending only $50 to comply with federal regulations that make you seek local workers first: Priceless.

      • A particularly telling quote from the article:

        "Don't you think we're helping the US economy by doing the work here?" asks an exasperated Lalit Suryawanshi. It frees up Americans to do other things so the economy can grow, adds Jairam.

        It frees up Americans to "do other things" -- such as what? Pick cotton? Flip burgers?? These minimum wage jobs help the economy grow how??

        Another exchange that sums up the problem:

        "But isn't part of this country's vitality its ability to make these kinds of changes?" I

    • by adamontherun (660770) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:23PM (#8184619) Homepage
      Its not as simple as, yes it will, or no it won't happen. From my experience, it was a mixed bag.

      Used elance.com to find Sidharth over in Bangalore. Sid was cool, spents lots of time with us, hours of Q and A on our online spring break site [travelingparty.com]. He did a good job on the coding, but when it came to getting the ever important cultural aspects of the project, it was a disaster.

      Our launch day promoted our Discount Trips to Cancum.

      Ummm. Sid, no, Cancun...

      Oh. Very Sorry Sirs... next Day. Diskount trips to Cancum ... you get the icture
  • IT Fads (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Goody (23843) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:30PM (#8183962) Journal
    Outsourcing everything to India was in vogue around '97 or '98. It didn't work then and it's not going to work now. But everyone forgets the problems and history repeats itself.

    If you don't like this fad, wait five minutes...

    • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wister285 (185087) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:39PM (#8184100) Homepage
      I'm sure it's a fad much like the moving of American steel, automobiles, textiles, and a variety of other industries were. Oh wait, apparently companies have no shame in erroding their own customer base.
      • Re:IT Fads (Score:3, Interesting)

        by be-fan (61476)
        And guess what. We're still here! And things are better than ever! We've been out-sourcing for decades, and we're better than ever!

        There may be no more jobs in making steel, or cars, or textiles, but back then, there weren't jobs in electronics, bio tech, etc.

        Oh, and by your logic, if you stopped outsourcing stuff like hardware manufacturing, things would be so great! I mean, we'd be even better off if we made memory chips in the USA rather than in Taiwan. Oh wait. That'd put a lot of our electronics comp
        • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Insightful)

          by comedian23 (730042) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @08:01PM (#8184974)
          Umm, what country are you living in? Unemployment is high. Jobs are not being created. Uneducated people can only work at Walmart, restaurants, and other jobs making a few dollars above minimum wage and producing nothing. How is that strengthening our country? So a few highly trained people can get jobs in bi-tech? Great, that takes care of about 1% of the work force, and the rest of the people are supposed to take hand-outs from them? Or live of wellfare funded by the taxes paid by the rich which are constantly increasing.

          I don't want to strain you here, but if we have 1% of the population actually producing something, and the rest simply serving those elite few, A) we have no middle class, B) we have a HUGE trade imbalance and C)we are making other countries rich off of American ingenuity. This doesn't bother you? Maybe you want your children to compete for a few highly coveted jobs which pay extremely well but are taxed at 50%, or else give up and work at burger world as a slave to the rich. The rest of us want the US to actually produce and sell a variety of good all over the world so the US can grow and prosper even more. And yes, we would be better off if we made memory chips here and charged enought to make a profit. We can counter competition from other countries by adding tariffs to cover differences in price and use that money to pay off the deficit. Of course the deficit wouldn't be nearly as high because we would actually be producing and selling stuff rather than just consuming as fast as we can.

          -Comedian
          • Re:IT Fads (Score:3, Interesting)

            Um, what country are you living in? Uneducated untrained people can get jobs in the construction industry that pay more than many "white collar" degree required jobs thanks to record low interest rates and a booming real-estate market. The hell with wal-mart, become a framer. And these people are producing something...
          • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Insightful)

            by be-fan (61476) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @09:00PM (#8185500)
            :: stands speechless ::

            If people did what you actually suggested, the global economy would revert to the 1700s.

            Clue: Free trade is good. Economists say it is good. Economic theory shows trade tarrifs always lead to a reduced GDP in the long term. History shows it is good. Consider France. Before Napoleon, the various provinces were independent, and each had trade barriers (tarrifs, laws, etc) with each other. Napoleon got rid of them, and the entire economy prospored. Consider Europe as a whole. By tearing down trade barriers between countries, the European economy as a whole is becoming more competitive in the world. Consider the US trade relationship with Canada. It directly supports millions of jobs in each country. Hell, despite early criticism, even NAFTA has been successful!
            • Re:IT Fads (Score:4, Insightful)

              by comedian23 (730042) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @09:27PM (#8185737)
              Trade is fine you have something to trade. The US comes up with an industry and gives all the jobs to outsiders while our own people can't find decent paying work. We have to protect our jobs, and actually make something. I can't be the only person in the US seeing rows of closed factories in almost every city but a Walmart and Starbuck's on every corner. Answer me how Starbuck's is helping our GDP. Great, if there is a latte shortage in the world we can be there to help.

              The US is manufacturing virtually nothing compared to what we used to. Take a look at our trade imbalances with EVERYONE and then tell me Free Trade is good. Also don't believe everything you read or hear, take a look around you and see for yourself. I see people with Masters Degrees working at Circuit City, and some people have been out of work for almost a year with no end in sight. Doesn't sound like moving into the future to me. Sounds like the a bunch of our states are nearly bankrupt and the US debt is huge.

              Every job we send overseas is less money and less power for the US. But believe what you want.

              -Comedian
              • Re:IT Fads (Score:3, Insightful)

                by rcs1000 (462363) *
                I'm sorry, but you're wrong.

                "Every job we send overseas is less money and less power for the US. But you believe what you want."

                I shall skip the lecture on the law of comparative advantage. I shall avoid talking about how spinning jennys put home textile workers out of business, or how coding software is not bending buts of metal. I shall avoid pointing out the America has lost jobs in manufacturing cars since the '60s, electronics since the '70s, memory chips since the '80s, computer programming since th
    • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Insightful)

      by savagedome (742194) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:39PM (#8184102)
      Don't forget that it was 97 and 98. *Everything* here in US was working then. Every startup was touted to be the next biggest thing. The 'hope bloat' if you will.

      Times are different now. The bubble has burst and the companies (in a true capitalist way) are looking to strengthen the bottomline. If you cannot make money, well then atleast cut the costs (and yeah, I am aware of the cultural,social et al differences that are not factored but add up) and effectively, you've *made* money.

      I do not want to rob you of your 'fad' but I have a feeling that this one is for real.

      • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Insightful)

        by frank_adrian314159 (469671) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @08:56PM (#8185459) Homepage
        The bubble has burst and the companies (in a true capitalist way) are looking to strengthen the bottomline.

        And this is the real problem - there is no sustainable advantage in outsourcing. Eventually, everyone who can outsource something does outsource it and then you're back in the same boat of no revenue growth, but it's five years later and you actually have less control over the situation. Plus, you've given your new foreign competitors the capital they need to create most of the infrastructure required to invade your market. The idea that capitalism requires the destruction of your economy ten years from now because it makes money a year from now is the main reason why we Capitalists are going to see our system collapse the same way that the Soviet system did. The main issue is that rewards will flow to those who have the discipline to wait for rewards, not those who choose to have them today. It's simply a case of short-term vs. long-term and we're on the wrong side of the equation here. If you think you're getting bit in the ass now, just wait a few years when the chickens finally come home to roost.

    • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Funny)

      by SoSueMe (263478) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:40PM (#8184121)
      If you don't like this fad, wait five minutes...

      ...and it will be reposted on /.
    • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ackthpt (218170) * on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:46PM (#8184181) Homepage Journal
      Outsourcing everything to India was in vogue around '97 or '98. It didn't work then and it's not going to work now. But everyone forgets the problems and history repeats itself.

      And probably one of the main reasons was they weren't ready for it. Now they are and as one indian service provider stated, they've worked to improve their product. Even getting the indian workers to adopt western names, 'Shawn', 'Jessica' etc. and working on pronounciation. While these may seem to be minor, consider the last time you had a grad student lecturing for the instructor of a college course and you couldn't understand a word he said (real teachers don't teach, they get grunts to do it and are actually working on grant projects or university fundraising, those who can't, do teach)

      Power and communications were a problem, now these people who own and run the companies have their own generators and satellite communications systems.

      Don't assume they didn't learn something and everything is as bad as it was. Dell's failure may well be attributed to only one service vendor who wasn't as polished as others.

      • by Anonymous Coward
        In the past 6 months I've been on the line with no fewer than 5 different outsourced support lines in India, and let me just say this....

        You can replace "Patel" with "Josh" all day long (which BTW totally fucking cracks me up) but it is extremely difficult to get rid of the accent. Hell, you see the same problem in the US with children of immigrants who, while they've essentially grown up here, simply don't speak English outside of school due to their family situation or their circle of friends. I actual
        • by Shakrai (717556) * on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @10:59PM (#8186453) Journal
          Even worse, there is a common tendency to be extremely polite and deferential (perhaps a cultural thing?) while simultaneously simply not understanding what the fuck I'm getting at yet refusing to deviate from the script or think outside the box. I count it among the most maddening things I've ever experienced on a telephone.

          My Dell phone call from two weeks ago: (note: My company has a three year next-day service contract with Dell -- they are no longer supposed to be sending the Commercial Clients to India yet somehow I wound up there)

          [Indian accent]: "Thank you so much for calling Dell support my name is Josh how may I assist you with your problem today?"
          [Upstate NY accent]: "Yes, this is Timothy [xxx] from [xxx], I have a Dell here with a bad power supply, I need to get a replacement sent to me. The service tag is [xxx]."
          [Indian accent]: "Yes sir, thank you so much. Let me pull up your information sir. Ah yes sir I have it here. Tell me Sir what is your name?"
          [Upstate NY accent]: "I already told you, my name is Timothy [xxx]. I'm listed on the account as the contact."
          [Indian accent]: "Ah yes sir, thank you so much for giving me that information. Sir I need to understand your address."
          [Upstate NY accent]: "It's [xxx]."
          [Indian accent]: "Ah yes sir, thank you so much for giving me that information. Sir I need to understand your telephone number."
          [Upstate NY accent]: "*sigh* This is all listed on the account. It's [xxx]."
          [Indian accent]: "Ah yes sir, thank you so much for giving me that information. This is a Dell Optiplex correct sir?"
          [Upstate NY accent]: "That's correct."
          [Indian accent]: "Ah yes sir, thank you so much for giving me that information. How may I assist you with your problem today?"
          [Upstate NY accent]: "Like I said, this unit has a dead power supply and I need to have a replacement sent out. We have a service agreement."
          [Indian accent]: "Ah yes sir, I am understanding that you have such agreement. It expires in March 2005."
          [Upstate NY accent]: "That's right, now can we make this happen?"
          [Indian accent]: "Yes sir, we will do that. I need you to insert your Dell resource CD so we can run system diagnostics to confirm the problem."
          [Upstate NY accent]: "Umm... the power supply is dead. I know what the problem is."
          [Indian accent]: "Yes sir I am understanding that you think the problem is that, but I need you to insert your Dell resources cd so we can run diagnostic to confirm the problem."
          [Upstate NY accent]: "Your not listening to me. The power supply is dead. I can't turn the unit on."
          [Indian accent]: "Yes yes, I am understanding your problem, but we need to follow procedure. Please insert your Dell resources CD so we can run diagnostic to confirm the problem."
          [Upstate NY accent]: "I can't open the CD-ROM drawer because the computer has no power. What part of that can't you understand?"
          [Indian accent]: "Yes sir, I am understanding that the computer has no power. Is the computer plugged in to the wall outlet sir?"
          [Upstate NY accent -- getting louder by the minute]: "You are not listening to me. The power supply is dead. That means it's not working. I can't turn the damn thing on -- please set up the service call for me."
          [Indian accent]: "Yes sir I am understanding that you think that is problem, but we need to confirm it."
          [Upstate NY accent]: "Alright this is going no where. Let me talk to your supervisor."
          [Indian accent]: "No no sir, I can help you with this problem. Please insert your Dell Resource CD into the CD-ROM drive so we can run diagnostic to confirm the problem."
          [Upstate NY accent - loud enough that the entire office can hear me]: "Ya know what? Fuck off. That's an American insult if they didn't teach you that in training."
          [Indian accent]: "Yes sir, I am understanding your problem. Please insert the Dell resourc...."

          [sound of phone slamming onto receiver]
          [sound of me walking around the office threate

          • I even wound up talking to India a few months ago while trying to order a replacement power supply and bigger Hard Drive for a Latitude laptop. Dell outsourced (or used to anyway) the SALES department for laptop components.

            I work in a 2-man IT shop with around 75 users, and I have my own Dell sales rep, who has her own team of specialists. When I want something, I talk directly with one of them.

            You're a corporate customer with an IT department big enough to have its very own PHB, and you're ordering thr
          • [Indian accent]: "Yes sir I am understanding that you think the problem is that, but I need you to insert your Dell resources cd so we can run diagnostic to confirm the problem."
            [Upstate NY accent]: "Your not listening to me. The power supply is dead. I can't turn the unit on."

            I hate to burst your bubble, but that's not an Indian problem, that's a competence problem. Way before outsourcing to India started, I was having the same problems with Good-ol-American tech reps from time to time. People who li

      • Re:IT Fads (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wideBlueSkies (618979) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @11:13PM (#8186540) Journal
        I'm an Application Architect in NY putting together a $10 million system for a big bank. We have a handpicked core of requirements and design people here in NY.

        We've painstakingly gathered over 1200 pages of business and functional requirements, laid out the high level framewwork for the system, and now we're in the detailed technical design phase of the project.

        We have a team of 15 people in Mumbai. All Java centric programmers. A couple of senior guys with 10 years experience, (C++ before Java), and the rest are intermediate level (6 years and less). These guys are all taking part in the detailed design work.

        What a freakin mistake this is.

        Damned Indians are so used to reusing prepackaged code and components that they can't think about good design. What I mean is that they don't think about a problem and then how to solve it properly, they try to change the problem to suit the code they have lying around or have found on the net.

        I keep asking for language independant design documents. Give me a UML or even a freakin VISIO flow from which I could write a component in any language. But I just keep seeing the same old J2EE centric crap. Using Entity beans and Service locators instead of more generic descriptors. I should be able to look at a design doc and figure out how to write a system in Perl, or C++, or Java or COBOL.

        Java is all they know. Thank god. It sucks for my project, but I think this is good for American tech jobs. These Indians can't think outside the box. So the best I think they'll ever be able to accomplish is grunt coding work, after being spoon fed requirements and design work.

        Oh yeah, they don't like to read any more of the requirements docs than they have to. Nobody in Mumbai has the big picture about my project. The knowledge is here in NY.

        If I had to, I could find 10 guys in my division to learn about this system and crank it out (and I already know 5 top knotch guys that I can call if need be, and the other architect has a couple more), but it'll never happen. Better that the company pays 1/10 wages than have the system written properly.

        So anyway, bone up on your design skills boys, and get used to spending time talking to clients about the business. This is how to keep a tech job in the US. Package the grunt work and send it to Mumbai. Don't let them make decisions because they can't.

        wbs.

        • Rubish. (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jotaeleemeese (303437)
          Modern software is designed with resuse in mind.

          Do not invent the wheel.

          If you are trying to re-invent it the one that is completely out of toucvh is you, not your Indian counterparts.
          • Re:Rubish. (Score:4, Insightful)

            by wideBlueSkies (618979) on Thursday February 05, 2004 @11:51AM (#8189843) Journal
            >>Modern software is designed with resuse in mind.

            Agreed. Reuse is great. Where it makes sense.

            >>If you are trying to re-invent it the one that is completely out of toucvh is you, not your Indian counterparts.

            I'm not advocating reinventing the wheel. What I'm saying is that you need to lay out and understand the problem that you have to solve.

            Then pick the proper tools and components with which to solve the problem. It doesn't make sense to 'turn the problem around' and shovel it into a solution.

            Show me how Java and J2EE can solve the business problem. Show me how this code block or an Entity Bean will solve the problem. Not how the problem can be looked at in such a way that it fits the code/framework.

            There's a subtle difference there. Knowing that difference is part of knowing the difference between good and bad design. A 'closed in' design methodology does not work, it is not flexible, is not extendable and will not handle future requirements gracefully.

            Reuse rocks. But good design rules.

            wbs.

    • Re:IT Fads (Score:3, Interesting)

      by SmilingMonk (583609)
      Outsourcing software development was "in vogue" in 1992 at the engineering company where I worked at the time. I trained my replacement for three months. He and his team of three returned to India. I was shown the door and the black asphalt beyond the sidewalk.

      It's coming back around. Only when corporate leaders (followers?) understand that this isn't making them as much money nor as quickly as they thought they would will any jobs return. But then I think of steel, glass, textile, photographic equip

  • Also see (Score:5, Informative)

    by nil5 (538942) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:31PM (#8183976) Homepage
    Bob Cringely [pbs.org] has a good article [pbs.org] on this as well, aptly titled "It's our own damn fault".

    Also, from another perspective is this article [indiatimes.com] from the India Times [indiatimes.com]
    • Re:Also see (Score:4, Interesting)

      by glinden (56181) * on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:53PM (#8184896) Homepage Journal
      Excellent article by Cringely. A key point from the article:
      • If a resource doesn't give you a competitive advantage, you can outsource it without any damage. But if it is a key differentiator, NEVER outsource it.
      Too many companies seem to be forgetting this these days. If it's your core competitive advantage, you can't outsource it.

      If you need to develop better technology, if your products need to be higher quality, if your customer service needs to be better than your competitors, you can't outsource that part of your business. Any competitor can duplicate anything you've outsourced, often as easily as hiring the same subcontractor, so anything that is oursourced can't be a source of competitive advantage in your market.
  • Please explain.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:31PM (#8183984)
    Please explain how the economy will survive when there is no longer a middle class because all the white-collar jobs have been moved over seas.
    • by RickHunter (103108) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:34PM (#8184025)

      Good question, and one no-one seems to want to answer. Most will handwave and make vague comments about "expanding economy" or "dealing with people" or "management", but that's bull. This is the start of an offensive to eliminate the American middle class, and replace it with a permanent base of slave labour in "developing countries".

      • Well, actually we are mainly expanding overseas to cut the costs of production, but once everybody (middle and lower classes) will move in countries where there are jobs (oversea), the companies won't even have to pay transport as most of the customers will be in the countries oversea: even lower costs!
      • by frost22 (115958)

        This is the start of an offensive to eliminate the American middle class, and replace it with a permanent base of slave labour in "developing countries".

        Every Governement / ruling elite that did this before ended up heads on a block or in front of an execution commando.

        The middle class is essentially what stabilizes a civil society. Without that you end up either with a fascist dictoatorship (the likes of middle america) or a revolution.

        Now, is the FBI actually good enough to control a nation in open r

    • by be-fan (61476) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:50PM (#8184231)
      Its quite a strech to say that "all the white-collar jobs have been moved over seas" when programmers hardly comprise all white collar jobs.

      And I hate to put it in these terms, but I don't see a whole lot of difference between a certain class of programmer jobs and manufacturing jobs. I mean, isn't that the whole point of languages like Java? To structure things so tightly that programmers are basically just there to put pre-built parts together in a certain order? Does it really less skill to assemble a car engine than to make a Java servlet that processes customer transactions?
      • by DukeyToo (681226) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:28PM (#8184665) Homepage
        Silly troll, you make the classic mistake of likening programming to manufacturing. There is *no* similarity, because each programming project is different. No manufacturing plant in the world makes each item different.

        Artists and craftsmen make unique items, and so do programmers (yes, even in Java). It is an inescapeable fact.

        Outsourcing has a chance at working, not because it is the same as manufacturing, but simply because it appears to be cheaper than doing it locally.
      • And I hate to put it in these terms, but I don't see a whole lot of difference between a certain class of writers and manufacturing jobs. I mean, isn't that the whole point of languages like English? To structure things so tightly that writers are basically just there to put pre-built words together in a certain order? Does it really less skill to assemble a car engine than to make a novel?

        *end spoof*

        There's no similarity between programming and manufacturing, since the goal of manufacturing is to reprodu
      • by HangingChad (677530) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:49PM (#8184862) Homepage
        The manufacturing and customer service jobs go first, then the tech jobs and it suddenly stops there. Bull-shit. After that it's accounting and HR, graphics and creative positions, account managers, sales. So, what's left? What's your next adjustment career? Anything that India and the Cheney administration are arguing for is guaranteed to be BAD for you.
    • by gengee (124713) <gengis@hawaii.rr.com> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:50PM (#8184234)
      Easy: We cannot import from India more than the sum of what we export (to all countries). When we outsource American IT jobs to India, we are merely importing labor -- the same as we would import a car, or electronic device.

      When an American company -- a company which sells the majority of its services or goods in America, for American dollars -- hires an Indian, the American company must either:

      a) Pay the Indian employee in American dollars, or
      b) Convert the American dollars to rupies, and pay the Indian employee in rupies

      Either way, the result is the same: At some point in the chain, someone is taking dollars for rupies, whether it's the employee or a third party. That party is not taking dollars because they like the smell of them. They're taking the dollars because they intend to buy American goods with the dollars. (Or they intend to convert the currency to another foreign currency -- and so the chain goes).

      That we cannot import more than we export -- over the long term -- is true. To believe otherwise would mean we somehow live in a bubble where foreign countries work for us for free.

      There is simply no way, over the long term, that we could outsource all of our jobs, to India or anywhere else anymore than they outsource their jobs to us. (More on that below). It's just not possible.

      The special interests will come up with all sorts of nonsense, all manner of jargon to support their fear mongering. They'll talk of
      races to the bottom, living wages, social justice and other such things. But what they really mean is "gimme." (Read: I deserve to be making higher real wages for the same equivalent work because I am an American. When protectionists speak of races to the bottom, they ignore the flip side of the coin: a race to the top).

      We can rack up debt in the way of trade deficits. Debt which will doubtlessly have to be paid off eventually. But sooner or later the dollar will fall against foreign currencies -- as it is currently, btw -- and foreigners will begin to receive repayment of their loans to us, by way of American exports.

      As American exports increase, so too will employment, barring commensurate increases in productivity.

      One other important point to make is the falsity of the assumption that only American companies are offshoring. This is the most ridiculous assumption of all, and I suspect it's the root cause of Americans' uneasyness towards offshoring.

      Foreign companies offshore jops to America, too. In fact, more jobs are presently "offshored" -to- America from foreign companies than the opposite.

      We all know how Flint, MI was hurt by General Motors' offshoring of factories to Mexico. Michael Moore even made a movie about it. But most people don't know about the tens of thousands who are employed in America by Toyota, by Mazda, or other Japanese car manufacturers. An American factory closing and moving to Mexico makes a great fear-mongering evening news story, but a similar-sized new factory operated by a foreign company in America does not.

      Capitalism is inherently cyclical. It's the job of policy makers to make these cycles as painless as possible. But the cycles will always remain.

      There is no need to blow a fuse over it.
      • by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:11PM (#8184468) Homepage Journal


        Those Japanese car factories are located in America because tariffs on imported cars make it more economically sound to build the cars in America. While you seem to be espousing free-market trade, you use an example that is in fact protectionist. You get rid of those tarrifs and those Toyota and Mazda factories will evaporate back to Asia.
  • What's Left? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RickHunter (103108) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:32PM (#8183999)

    So if service jobs, creative jobs, research jobs, and development jobs all get outsourced... What's left and why, exactly, will the economy survive? Oh, right, we'll all get jobs dealing with people face-to-face, selling things to people with no money. Or we'll all wind up being managers.

    Excuse me while I look skeptical and write this off as one more piece to make executives feel more comfortable about destroying their country and killing the population.

    • Re:What's Left? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GnrlFajita (732246) <brad AT thewillards DOT us> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:40PM (#8184120) Homepage
      You're just not looking at it in the long term. If everyone begins outsourcing to India, then the law of supply and demand requires that eventually the cost of doing this will rise. So they'll begin to outsource to some other, cheaper, country. The cycle will repeat itself until eventually the U.S. is the cheapest place to 'outsource' jobs to.

      It's all about perspective, man. Look at the big picture.
      • Having trouble with this comment? Try the all new SarcasmDetector 0.8.2-b!

        Someone did. They modded you insightful :-)

      • No (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:29PM (#8184683) Homepage Journal
        There are too many people in India. When programmer A wants a nickel more, they will get rid of them, and get someone else who doesn't have an uppity attitude about money.

        The only way the US will compete, ever, is if our standard of living drops...a lot.

        Now, If everything I need to survive decently had its cost cut by 90%, then I'd be able to compete.

        Personally, I'd like all corporat tax breaks be removed from any company that outsouces. If it makes them so much money, it shouldn't be a problem, right?

        • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

          by donutello (88309)
          The only way the US will compete, ever, is if our standard of living drops...a lot.

          Or if the standard of living in India rises...a lot.
      • Big Picture (Score:4, Insightful)

        by weston (16146) <{westonsd} {at} {canncentral.org}> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:51PM (#8184867) Homepage
        "The market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent"
        "In the long run, we're all dead" - Keynes

        No matter how true the rosy big picture may be, the devil is still in the details for those suffering from the change. If there are things we can do to make the transitionless volatile, why not do them?
    • Re:What's Left? (Score:3, Insightful)

      There will be the people who own companies, and the service industry to maintain their lifestyle. Don't expect to get paid good for that either, since illegal and legal immigrants will do crap jobs for less money.

      You could learn a trade, but don't expect to work your way up to running your own business. Trades will be corporatized, so if you want to be a plumber you'll have to work for National Plumbers, inc.

      So, basically there will be a two class system, since they've effectively figured out how to elimi
    • People in the US will intially become unemployed. Some, not all of you, don't be silly.

      That means less purchasing power, economic slowdown, trade deficit.

      Salaries by necessity go lower. Your currency devalues.

      Then there is a point in which you become cheap enough to be worth to invest again in the US.

      Painful? Yes, but frankly some evening out is necessary when you realize how much overpaid people in western countries are.

      The wasteful SUVs, gadgetery, cheap air travel, cheap credit can't be artificially
  • by Westech (710854) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:32PM (#8184007) Journal
    Please to be joining me in welcome our hand-coding hundu overlords.
  • by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:33PM (#8184016) Homepage
    the economy will survive, though your job, as it is currently, will likely not

    And how is this supposed to happen? Those who do not end up on the streets will be training as Fryolator operators working for enough money to pay the rent.

    The only good thing I can see out of this is that all the malls will close.

  • by charnov (183495) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:34PM (#8184024) Homepage Journal
    I was just reading up on Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and how we have to be responsible for everyone who ever touches or affects our digital documents (and we are financially responsible for damages real or perceived). Our lawyers seem to think that if you read the law strictly (as any lawyer trying to sue would) that means that any offshoring that results in any damage or dissemination of data could cause us an enormous amount of money. We already carry a $100 million bond against accidental release of data (we deal in multi-billion dollar international contracts) and our carry gave a big 'NO" to outsourcing in any way shape or form. Hell, I can't even get opensource software in here because if something goes wrong, there is no one to sue.

    Crazy world...
  • Worrisome (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dustmote (572761) <fleck55&hotmail,com> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:34PM (#8184036) Homepage Journal
    This is one of the reasons that I am relieved that I no longer work in IT. I worry a lot about those friends of mine who still work in the industry, especially those who have kids. I think that part of the problem is also that the market was oversaturated, so to speak. IT became the big degree to get in the 90's, because "that's where the money is", so the jobs that do remain have a number of people applying for them. Post-boom, post-outsourcing computer field sucks.
  • by Arslan ibn Da'ud (636514) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:35PM (#8184040) Homepage
    can I get a job as a Slashdot article duplication identifier?
  • Makes me growl. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Faust7 (314817) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:35PM (#8184047) Homepage
    The six Hexawarians are sympathetic but unmoved. They disagree with the very premise that cheap labor is hurting the US.

    Seriously, then they need a brain refresher. This is one of the core issues, and it's really simple: Companies seek to maximize profit and minimize expenses. Expenses decrease with cheap labor. If cheap labor is outside the U.S., and can be logistically implemented for the company as such, there's a good chance they'll move some operations offshore. And this has in fact happened.

    And they think it's somewhat laughable that, because things aren't going exactly our way, ordinarily change-infatuated Americans are suddenly decrying change.

    How on earth is this a laughable thing? Change for the better, change for our better, is a totally pragmatic and understandable goal. When this goal is hurt, yes, we decry it. There's nothing laughable about that at all.

    Translation: We're not just cheaper, we're better.

    Tell that to Dell.
  • by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:38PM (#8184089) Homepage
    If all these jobs are related to call center, I say LET them NOT move to india.

    Yes you heard me , let them NOT move to india. The last thing I want as an Indian, my country to be columbia/mexico of the IT industry. I think indians should be ashamed to be the janitors of IT industry.

    Also for those of who are going to point to M$ and IBM and HP research centers being moved to India. I would rather see our own Indian companies becoming more self relient and working for the benefit of Indian consumers than US.

    The more India depends upon foreign lands to create local jobs, the less it becomes self relinet and lesser powerful.

    India for one should take lessons from its colonial past. Rememer East india company came as traders looking for spices and ended up ruling the country for 200 years. This time its going to be different, its economical slavery that we should be afraid of. In this day an age no power is better than economical power and serving joe six-packs for their problems loggin on to AOL, though a short term profitable business , is ruining the resourses of the country.

    I am not ranting against US. Infact exactly the opposite. The US and its companies should also strive towards self serving economical structure.

    • I like your attitude. India does not need people with post-grad degrees answering moronic questions at a call center. But America has an entire class of otherwise unemployable people who would consider that the pinnacle of their careers. In a perfect world, each job would be held by someone to whom it is part of their self-actualization [wikipedia.org].

      It seems as though Americans are being punished today for having forefathers who loved them and worked hard to give them a better life, because now the fact that our comm

    • by qtp (461286)
      I would rather see our own Indian companies becoming more self relient and working for the benefit of Indian consumers than US.

      No offense, but so would most of us American workers.

      India for one should take lessons from its colonial past.

      So should the workers in the west, during the hight of British colonialism, there was massive unemployment and poverty throughout England. As the American companies move to eliminate their workers jobs and outsource them overseas, I expect that we will see more of tha
    • by donutello (88309) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @08:20PM (#8185121) Homepage
      Nonsense. That is the exact kind of thinking that has led to India staying poor for the past 50 years. India's closed economy ensured that Indian companies could be successful without striving to improve their products. Compare the average quality of goods you can buy in India to the average quality of goods you can buy in the US.

      Here's a newsflash: India is neither self-reliant nor powerful. Open trade improves the economy and the living standards. There are no self-reliant countries anymore. Every country depends upon other countries for essential resources.

      And it's not as if the call-center jobs are taking resources away from other, more productive endeavors. Until recently the unemployment rate in India has been through the roof. You would have a very good point if these outsourced jobs meant that people were not doing other stuff that would be more useful to the national economy, however that is not the case.

      The East India company took natural resources away from the country. No money was input into the country in exchange for these resources - rather money was taken away from the country when the products of these resources were sold back to India. This is not the case here. Outsourced jobs infuse valuable foreign exchange into the country and provide employment to a large number of people, improving the overall lifestyle.
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:38PM (#8184095) Homepage
    Keep in mind that while some jobs are being outsourced to India, it serves companies even better to amplify the FUD about it. They don't have to actually do it, and their wage-slaves are bullied into terror, submission and lower wages -- especially the new-hires.
  • by cubicledrone (681598) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:41PM (#8184130)
    To export software or spreadsheets, somebody just needs to hit Return.

    That about says it all. No wonder it's so easy to fire people. "All you do all day is hit return!"

    This is what happens when people are asked to manage something they refuse to understand. Knowledge is destroyed and the economy is damaged. Think of the thousands of years and tens of millions of dollars worth of education that are being wasted right now.
  • Stop government aide (Score:4, Interesting)

    by www.sorehands.com (142825) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:43PM (#8184154) Homepage
    Stop the government aide to the companies outsourcing to foreign countries. When a company outsources, we still allow them to deduct that cost from their federal (and state) taxes. Lets stop that.

    Have anyone considered the privacy and security issues when sending this information to foreign companies? The call center for American Express in India may not have the same security and legal protection for your records -- but then again with the patriot act, we don't have any privacy anyways.

    • by kippy (416183)
      Not just that, tax ths shit out of companies that outsource. If they're saving 50K per year, charge them 45K. Put it into a fund to generate domestic jobs via public works projects.

      lots of details to work out but it would slow job leakage and what does still happen would feed domestic job growth.

  • to my counterpart in India. I hope he doesnt troll!
  • by Nonac (132029) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:53PM (#8184261) Journal
    About a year ago I hired a developer in India to do my job. My employer is none the wiser. I pay him $12,000 to do the job I get paid $67,300 for. He is happy to have the work. I am happy that I only have to work about 90 minutes per day (I still have to attend meetings myself, and I spend a few minutes every day talking code with my Indian counterpart). The rest of the time my employer thinks I'm telecommuting. They are happy to let me telecommute because my output is higher than most of my coworkers.

    Now I'm considering getting a second job and doing the same thing with it. That may be pushing my luck though. The extra money would be nice, but that could push my workday over five hours.
  • parallel example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by theMerovingian (722983) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:56PM (#8184296) Journal
    I am reminded of when Coke tried to penetrate the Indian market with their sugar water. They hired a high power American ad agency, who made these commercials about the 'heart of India', with misty images of the Taj Mahal and such. It flopped.

    Then, Coke hired an Indian ad agency. These guys made commercials with sexy women and fast cars, and Coke sold like hotcakes.

    The moral of the story: creative work is more likely to be relevant in the culture it was created in.

  • by SmilingMonk (583609) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:58PM (#8184313) Homepage
    So it all comes home to roost, eh?

    Back in the early part of the previous century, few middle class, and certainly no upper class people complained when textile, glass production, steel, and later manufacturing were shipped off shore. Many people just smiled and wagged their heads whenever Unions complained about jobs going overseas. Some people warned that off-shore job movement would sink the US economy.

    Fast forward to the present. Who's complaining now? It appears to be whoever is left in the middle class. The upper class still doesn't care. One difference this time is that the middle class is largely un-unionized and therefore un-represented during job/salary reviews and other decision making activities.

    If people want to change things, here are several things to consider:

    Corporate law specifically states that actions taken or products produced by corporations must be in the public interest. Yes, it says that. So a good question to ask is Is it in the public interest to put them out of work by moving their jobs overseas?

    Corporate leaders currently earn over 600 times the average salary of their employees. Moving jobs off-shore is likely to make a small percentage of the US population even more wealthy.

    Yes, it's still about the economy. For all his other failings, Henry Ford had an interesting idea that his employees should be paid well enough to be able to afford one of his products.

    Until corporate officers are encouraged to employ people from the country that issues their charters, the gap between the have's and the have nots in the US will continue to grow.

  • by avandesande (143899) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @06:58PM (#8184317) Journal
    So I toss a slur across her desk. I call her a protectionist.

    "Oh, and I'm proud of it," she responds. "I wear that badge with honor. I am a protectionist. I want to protect America. I want to protect jobs for Americans."

    "But isn't part of this country's vitality its ability to make these kinds of changes?" I counter. "We've done it before - going from farm to factory, from factory to knowledge work, and from knowledge work to whatever's next."

    She looks at me. Then she says, "I'd like to know where you go from knowledge."
  • by Dr. Evil (3501) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:08PM (#8184422)

    Isn't the automotive industry heavily regulated regarding foreign content? Isn't that the case for precisely the reason that Wired is blithering on about?

    Also in the past fourty years haven't we seen the demise of the single-income family? Hasn't the price of goods, services, taxes etc all outpaced the increase in income? Don't Americans have the least time off and the worst hours in the industrialized world?

    I don't see how the automotive industry is an example of how outsourcing overseas is a win/win scenario.

    Am I missing something?

  • by Osrin (599427) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:12PM (#8184479) Homepage
    They need to ship the old, dead, non-growth skills out to lower cost economies that can sustain those types of job and then retrain the workforce to take on new challenges that help the country and it's economy on the road to growth.

    Nobody in the developed world needs to be developing code anymore, we need to use the minds we have for aids and cancer research, building hover bots and interactive hologramatic entertainment stations.

    As an individual it's a harsh world, industries are going to turn over faster and faster in the future, we have to be ready to retrain and move on.

    There is a reason why most European countries have worked hard over the last two decades to reduce the number of blue collar workers building cars or mining coal. This is just a natural extension of the same macro economics...a weak government will bend their policies and stop the flow of offshore low end jobs, a forward looking one will encourage it.

    Sorry, I'm in a funny mood.
  • recent studies (Score:3, Insightful)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland@@@yahoo...com> on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:18PM (#8184561) Homepage Journal
    have shown, that in a best case scenerio, after ALL costs are added in, its as expensive as hiring local talent. Usual it's more expensive, and the project failure rate is hirer, as well.

    There is a difference between manufacturing and software development, and to compare the two will lead to some pretty specious arguments.

    I have had the 'opportunity' to be interviewing for a job. In many of those interview, the subject of oursourcing has come up. In every one, there projects had failed, and internally, the project managment has started to prevent outsourceing do to its cost.
  • by Clay Mitchell (43630) on Wednesday February 04, 2004 @07:25PM (#8184640) Homepage
    Jobs to India: A Second Look

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

Working...