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Builder.com Writers Outsourced to India 755

Posted by michael
from the last-one-out-turn-off-the-lights dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Builder.com, which is part of CNet.com, is now outsourcing some of their writing to India. The funny thing is, the editor claims it's not as much about money as because he's 'getting a better interface with producers of the content.' He claims CNet isn't giving up control, but if they're the publisher, and he's the editor, and they can't hire and manage their own writers, why shouldn't the Indians just put up their own website to replace CNet, and we can all read what they write direct? I mean, we're all going to be buying software direct from Indian companies soon, so why not?" Newsforge and Slashdot are both part of OSDN. OSDN also runs sites like devchannel.org which are more-or-less direct competitors of builder.com.
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Builder.com Writers Outsourced to India

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  • by fizz (88042) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:08AM (#8618347) Homepage
    When i worked for featureprice, most of the non phone based technical support was done from india. They are some smart people, but they are lacking in alot of things we take for granted. Our boss always happily let us americans know that he could hire 3 or 4 of them to each 1 of us. Hows that for making you take your job seriously? :) Too bad hes a bastard and should be rotting in jail as hes a scamming prick
    • Your boss is Darl McBride?!? Oh you said featureprice...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:17AM (#8618417)
      did you let you boss know that indian managers were cheaper?
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @03:55AM (#8619504)
        My US based company, in the Fortune 1000, went through the following cuts

        2000 - cut US headcount
        2001 - cut US headcount
        2002 - cut US headcount / hired India software developers to 'help out with maintenace'
        2003 - cut US headcount down to 1 USA developer per product, and 1 USA QA person per 2 products / Tripled India headcount - India somehow manages to go from 'helping out' to 'leading develoment'

        This took the company from 5,000 USA based developers, qa, doc, sales, etc down to less than 1,500 of which most of them are in Sales, accounting, HR, and executive management.

        This left the entire USA based development, QA and doc with less than 20 percent of the original headcount.

        Our development schedules accross the board slipped 6 months to 2 years. This includes a dramatic reduction in functionality enhancements.

        Guess what, that means that many critical high sales dollar generating products are solely dependant on 1 USA developer.

        If we lose 15 key people in the US, our company will have 33 percent of its total sales at risk.

        All the while the executives, who are sad that their stock options have been under water for 4 years, have been saying:

        The IT spending environment is bad - it's not our fault

        India development is comming on board.

        Many of us USA based developers are looking to exit this company since the company does not even want the software products it develops to suceed.

        This is from my experinces in:
        1. Listening to management parrot some powerpoint cheerleading 'our company is great. We care about our employees.' complete BS

        and most importantly

        2. Seeing how the actual actions of the management do not agree with the words, beliefs, and corporate agenda presented by upper management.

        I look forward to 2005 when stock options will have to be carried on the balance sheet as a future expense.
    • by ebuck (585470) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:21AM (#8618447)
      Non-phone based support might be one thing, but never underestimate the power of communication.

      Yesterday, my stepfather had a problem with his email. From his end of the phone, he's not sure if the people trying to help him even understand what he was complaining about.

      His resolution? He's now looking for a new ISP, and perhaps his own domain name so he won't rely on his ISP for email. Some things you can live without for a few days, but when you have a small business like his, ability to send and receive email is critical.
  • Oh man (Score:3, Interesting)

    by iswm (727826) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:09AM (#8618354) Homepage
    First developers (Or many tech related jobs) and now writers.. This is starting to get really scary, especially for people my age; I'm still in high school and it's going to be a few years before I can get a _real_ job, and at this rate it's going to be hard to find any local ones. This really needs to stop, or at least be done in moderation, it's getting out of hand.
    • Re:Oh man (Score:2, Funny)

      by abscondment (672321)
      yeah, pretty soon we'll drive to mcdonald's and they'll put us on a flight to india so we can pick up our outsourced burgers.
      • Re:Oh man (Score:2, Funny)

        by DarkHelmet (120004) *
        Outsourced burgers in India? From what? Holy cows?

        Guess you didn't think that one through ;)

        • Re:Oh man (Score:2, Insightful)

          Outsourced burgers in India? From what? Holy cows? Guess you didn't think that one through ;)

          Though you meant it as a joke ... it should be pointed out that the sacred prohibition against the slaughter of cows applies to "Hindus" (however one might want to construe that term) and not to other sizeable populations within India, such as Muslims.

          Jains are not to kill cattle or consume beef, either, but not because cows possess inherent sanctity. Then there's the Buddhist population...

          Whether the "H

    • Serious Suggestion (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ieshan (409693) <ieshan@gmaTWAINil.com minus author> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:25AM (#8618464) Homepage Journal
      If you're in highschool, here's a serious suggestion from someone who's about to enter the workforce from college-

      Find some skills other than computing.

      No, seriously. Computing is out-sourceable, the rest of your skillset + computing is not. If you speak Hindi and Chinese AND can program C++, you might be a great project leader for one of these overseas projects. If you have a great handle on economics and business AND can code perl, you might be the person who they need to run their software division, because you'll have an eye for both the cash and the technical. If you're a science dork (like I am), you've got an instant-in with any professor that runs his lab using any sort of technology, because not only did you get an A in Genetics, but you can really understand how the PCR Sequencer works.

      If Software Geeks in highschool would turn their computing prowess into A marketable skill instead of their only marketable skill, they'll have a much better time on the job market.

      Just the way it's worked out for me.

      By the way: Perl for the Perseus Project (http://www.perseus.tufts.edu), since I'm a Greek / Latin Major, and Visual Basic in the Avian Cognition Lab, (http://pigeon.psy.tufts.edu), where I do research on Avian Cognition and Concept formation (coz I'm a Psych Major too).
      • by Akki (722261)
        I would like to emphasize that some foreign language skills plus computer skills can make you VERY valuable to the right employers, especially eastern languages like Japanese/Chinese/Korean. Many positions require (near) fluency, but the pay is good and there's little compitition (in my experience).
    • by Magnus Pym (237274) * on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:30AM (#8618496)
      read what the Indians think of their own abilities here [rediff.com].

      BTW, "Coolie" is a word that roughly translates into menial laborer.

      Magnus.
      • by Herkum01 (592704) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:57AM (#8618651)

        Reading your post I am doing something similiar. I am outsourcing a commercial software project to a friends company in China. I am the one doing all the design, project management and quality assurance and eventually be the salesman too. I don't have the skills to do the job myself, it would take a couple of years for me to get to that point and then I would still need to do the programming. If I tried to outsource it in the US it would be a $200,000 project which I don't have and I still would have to find programmers to actually do the project. outsourcing it to some good programmers and the project costs are $30,000. I could not even consider doing it if I could not do it in China.

        My situation is fairly unique compared to large companies trying to outsource whole departments to India. While I have creative control and final say, most management in the US don't have any real design knowledge or quality control when it comes to writing software. They are making the assumption that a person in India is the same as the person in the US ignoring all the things the person who has worked for them has brought. New ideas, understanding business needs, meeting rather unreasonable time expectations are all things that these people do.

        I think that you will find that these companies are going to be slowly start losing market share because they are going to stagnate, they will have no reservior of new ideas. They will have a source of cheap labor for their current software, but it will never get better and just maintain a status quo.

        Anyways, just ranting..., hopefully someone can find something in there.

      • by aacool (700143) <aamaUMLAUTnlamba2gmail.com minus punct> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:10AM (#8618724) Journal
        Do not take that article at face value - it's a whining article by a faux-white. Bangalore is a very savvy city in many ways. Refer a number of articles - Google them yourself.

        I reproduce below a response to the original article that sums up the reality of the situation. Do not underestimate the quality of Bangaloreans/Indians just because they are not American. Most urban Indians have a far better education than many Americans.Underestimating your rival (economic) is the easiest way to lose a deal/war/empire

        From the responses to the article cited:

        Subject: Who made you a Director? first question that came to my mind,cauz atleast the Directors whom I know about will never dare to insult anybody.What makes people great is not their position or the number of degrees that they have,but their character,their humility.You are pathetic at that.To introduce myself,I am a cyber coolie,according to your description,but a coolie whos passionate about what he does,who takes pride in what he does.Clients come to us with problems that haunt their business, problems which could be solved technically.We work with them to identify the actual issue and then architect a solution for them.Now throughout my career what I have found challenging is not the technology,but the task of translating the complex business scenarios into code.Our clients are very much appreciative of this and mind you,I am talking about millions of dollars here(if you can understand the magnitude). This list includes Fortune 500 companies and military institutions.All I think about you is somebody whos frustrated with his career life,doesnt understand the word passion or pride,and taking out his frustration on something.Agree with what good things you said abt silicon valley. -- I am not from Bangalore Posted by Swaroop on 10-MAR-04

    • Re:Oh man (Score:5, Insightful)

      by XorNand (517466) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:34AM (#8618523)

      Um... sure... and what should be done exactly? Protectionism doesn't work. Period. And why do you assume that it's a rightious thing to do? A techie in the Philippines makes about ten times less than an American doing the same job. Do you think that this is equitable? I personally think that Filipinos/Indians are being used. Basic economic theory states that as more job opportunies open up in those countries, the higher the median salaries will be. That means a *lot* of people in the world are going to have much better lives. At some point equilibrium will be reached and the outsourcing will wane significantly. As an American techie, I'm not at all worried about my career. There will always be work here for people like me who are creative, resourceful and motivated. Hopefully that means that much of the chaff in IT will be eliminated; I'll be working with more knowledgable people in my field--the opportunists who got into IT for the quick buck will be off chasing their next white rabbit. All in all, seems like a win-win situation.

      • Re:Oh man (Score:2, Informative)

        by DAldredge (2353)
        When Ronald Reagan and the then current congress forced companies that sold autos in this country to build plants here if they wish to sell here, guess what? They built plants here. Why wound't that work now?

        India and China practice what you so roundly criticize, so why don't you bitch about them doing it.

        *******

        US asks WTO to rule on China's chip tax
        By Tony Smith
        Posted: 19/03/2004 at 11:03 GMT
        The Register Mobile: Find out what the fuss is about. Take the two week trial today.

        The US government has fil
      • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:26AM (#8618788)
        "A techie in the Philippines makes about ten times less than an American doing the same job."

        It's called "cost of living". In the US, you can't afford food, shelter and clothing at 1/10th of what you're making now. You might have a job, but you will not be able to keep it very long living in the homeless shelter.

        "Basic economic theory states that as more job opportunies open up in those countries, the higher the median salaries will be."

        Yep. It's called "inflation". It happens when more capital flows into a region. So they double their income. They're still 20% of your salary which still means "homeless shelter" for you.

        "That means a *lot* of people in the world are going to have much better lives."

        Probably. They'll have twice as much money as they had before.

        "At some point equilibrium will be reached and the outsourcing will wane significantly."

        Huh? It will level off and then fall significantly? I don't see that. I see it leveling off. But that's just the race to the bottom of the wage bucket.

        "As an American techie, I'm not at all worried about my career. There will always be work here for people like me who are creative, resourceful and motivated."

        At $15,000 a year (before taxes). I wouldn't worry so much about a career. I'd worry more about food, shelter and clothing. But that's just me.

        "Hopefully that means that much of the chaff in IT will be eliminated; I'll be working with more knowledgable people in my field--the opportunists who got into IT for the quick buck will be off chasing their next white rabbit."

        Statistics. There are a LOT more people in India and China and so forth. Statistically, your skills are NOT at their level.

        Here, let me put some numbers to that.

        You are in population A. There are 1,000 people in population A. You are in the top 90% there. That means that there are 100 people as good or better than you and 900 people who are less talented.

        Population B has 10,000 people (10 times more than population A). Their 90% mark is 1,000 people. In other words, their best people are more numerous than your best people.

        So, while you're CURRENTLY competing with 100 other people for a good paying job, when you combine both population, you'll be competing with 1,100 people.

        And, of that 1,100 people, 1,000 will have expenses lower than your's. So they'll be able to do the work for LESS than you.

        So, statistically, you'll have to convince an employer to hire you over someone better qualified and yet pay you MORE than that better qualified person wants.

        Good luck on that.
      • Re:Oh man (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Angry Pixie (673895) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:13AM (#8619113) Journal
        Protectionism doesn't work. Period.

        Why are you so sure? What does it mean to be Protectionist anyway? When in history has there ever existed a pure unrestricted free market?

        One of the lessons we took from the failure of the Gold Standardduring the 1920s-30s was that free markets when left unrestricted create horrible consequences, one of which being the abuse of weaker nations and peoples by dominant economic powers; and another being the economic collapse of nations with uncompetitive currencies. And yet another lesson we learned was that a major reason why unrestricted free market capitalism dooms a nation is that participants act to protect their own limited interests, and so with every participant "protecting" his interest, the sole guy out there playing fairly is fated to being swallowed up.

        I personally think that Filipinos/Indians are being used.

        Yes, they are - it's a side effect of unrestricted capitalism, but this is not a worst case scenario. For that, look at the diamond market's effect on Africa.

        As an American techie, I'm not at all worried about my career. There will always be work here for people like me who are creative, resourceful and motivated.

        How do you know? What makes you so special? I know some very motivated and very creative techies who are still looking for work in their field. Perhaps you are a contract worker in the defense industry, in which case you arguably have more job security than other techies; or maybe you possess some rare talent and skill that shifts this employer's market more in your favor? If you either, then I am truly happy for you. There needs to be a place for American techies in this field.
    • Re:Oh man (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:35AM (#8618528)
      Get a trade. They can't outsource your plumbing.
    • The jobs can be outsourced BUT at some point someone has to actually touch the computers located inside the main offices.

      Also when it comes to hardware repairs not only dose the corprate IT force need to be phisicly present to make the repairs this is also true in the computer shops however be prepaired for thies jobs to become the tech equivlent of McDonalds drive throughs.

      Also have back up skills. No matter how diverse your technical skill remember that with most of the jobs being outsourced the program
    • Re:Oh man (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RodgerDodger (575834) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:06AM (#8618707)
      *sigh* It wasn't tech-related jobs first. It was manufacturing and textiles, way back before you were born. This is just part of an ongoing trend that's been in place for 30 years.

      Capitalism 101: it makes economic sense for a buyer to buy cheap if they can. That's why jobs get outsourced overseas. Wether it's IT to India or cars and sneakers to Thailand, that's the way the world works.

      Don't like it? Well, don't be a capitalist. Start advocating something like socialism; you know, the belief that people owe something to society and vice-versa.

      And if you don't want to compete with remote workers, then you better do something that can't be outsourced. Maybe you should consider becoming a chef... it's a little hard to outsource the production of gourmet food.
  • > I mean, we're all going to be buying software
    > direct from Indian companies soon,

    Speak for yourself.
  • by randomErr (172078) <ervin.kosch@nOsPAM.gmail.com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:12AM (#8618378) Homepage Journal
    Soon you can buy the new Indian operating systems Indows XP for the desktop and Inux for the server market!
  • "it's not as much about money "
    funny, thats about all the article mentions!
    anyway, they're talking about freelance work-I'm not in the buisiness, but isn't freelance work pretty much where the purchaser states their price?
  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:13AM (#8618389)

    They would outsource Mr. Fancy Pants Editor and his bosses. Clearly the big bucks are going to these guys. If the writers can live on $1.00 per day in Bangalore, surely then can management live there on $2.00.

  • I am a fairly skilled nerd with experience in digital and analog electronics testing, as well as some programming. I lost my job a while ago due to a sweatshop my old company opened in china.

    I was out of work for a while and just recently was lucky enough to score a job working in an irrigation supply house... doing deliveries and stuff like that. I like so many /. readers grew up hearing that I was "lucky" to love computers because "thats where the money is". I don't care if I make 20k or 100k, I WANT T
  • by ron_ivi (607351) <sdotno@@@cheapcomplexdevices...com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:17AM (#8618419)
    Article wrote: why shouldn't the Indians just put up their own website to replace CNet, and we can all read what they write direct

    Probably because CNet pays them more than they could make running their own web site. Running a web-site would involve getting out and selling ad space and buying lots of bandwidth. Both of these roles are probably more cost-effecively done from the fancy CNet building in San Francisco, because it's a better place to shmooze with advertisers and suppliers.

    CNet still has a nice cushion of IPO cash that they can use to pay Indian developers well as well as buying more expensive things like Esther Dyson's EDVentures [marketwatch.com]

    I'm sure Esther didn't come cheap, so I think CNet's right when they say it's not just for the money savings. If a writer in India can produce better content for the same price they'll hire one there. If Esther can provide even-better content for a much higher price, they'll hire her too.

    My guess is that the cost of the Indian writers to build out the sales side of the proposed website wouldn't be possible in the post-.com-ipo era.

  • ... I'm guessing some will be moving there soon. I'd rather have 1/3 or 1/4 pay for 1/6 the cost of living that 0/100 job at 1/1 pay for 1/1 the cost of living.

    We just need to outsorce the gov't so we can keep our Constitution.

    Wait, does Pakistan like the U.S.?
  • Where I wonder if I'm better off in prison.

    At least I'd be getting health care and not be thrown out on the street.

  • by GrimReality (634168) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:24AM (#8618456) Homepage Journal
    An anonymous reader writes: ...I mean, we're all going to be buying software direct from Indian companies soon, so why not?

    I can understand the frustration, but that statement is quite misinformed, it seems.

    From what I have seen, it seems that Indian companies, not just in the computer software/IT industry, but in almost every industry, has always been and for the forseeable future will always be sub-contracting for US and European companies.

    Of coure, there will always be exceptions, but that would be a very small minority.

    This means that the profits will stay in the US/Europe.

    It is a lot like Chevy trucks being made in Mexico. Does anyone say we will be buying trucks direct from Mexican companies soon.

    Or say, Chinese products, I have seen a lot of product 'Made in China', but very few from Chinese companies.

    I am by no means supporting outsourcing or anything, I am just pointing out that it will only benefit US companies.

    • "This means that the profits will stay in the US/Europe."

      So what, we're all supposed to make our livings as stockholders now?

      Cause if you're not employed by the company, that's the only way their profits can make you money.

    • by The Vulture (248871) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:15AM (#8618745) Homepage
      The thing is that in the process of doing the outsourcing, the Indian companies gain experience at our expense. In due time, we'll be competing against the companies we outsource to.

      I work at the American office of a Taiwanese company that makes broadband products. At first (before I worked for them) we were just an ODM (they would make the products for other customers and slap the customer's label on it), but now with the experience they have gained from making these other products, we are now selling products under our own name.

      A lot of my co-workers in Taiwan have trouble understanding some concepts at the moment (like security), but they are slowly learning from my example.

      You can bet that the same thing is happening elsewhere... And once they finally get the details down, we're of no use to them anymore.

      -- Joe
    • Yes and no

      Yes money goes to CEO's. Does it go to you or me? No.

      Infact it comes out of our own pockets by outsourcing and to the CEO's instead.

      Just an unfair redistribution of wealth.
  • CNet publications got fairly useless a couple years ago. They've been running on fumes ever since. Good ridance.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    you will see WHY you are being replaced.
    The Asians and Indians outperform the Americans
    by a ratio of 6 -4

    Thats why your job is going to India
    Its silly to think they lack the "American"
    intellect, or fail in sophistication.

    Study Math and Science and study it like its your
    life,not like its one big frat party.....
  • I'm surprised at this news, as in every IT shop I've worked in that had foreign workers I found their programming skills to be excellent but their written English skills to be lacking. Oh, they learned English very well, don't get me wrong. But there is a world of difference between being able to speak English fluently and being able to write it correctly. Even the very best of them would have comma issues or something that was a result of their native language rules imposing on their brain. That's perf
    • by Gyan (6853) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:35AM (#8618527)

      Me type god Englis

      Actually, virtually all Indians have a native language other than English. SO, their exposure to English is actually via the written text. Newspapers, magazines, textbooks...etc Barring formal conversations in school, Indian kids* don't speak English. But all of their homeworks and exams are answered in English. So, their grasp of the written form, is adequate.

      *I'm only refering to the urban middle-class segment.
    • by adept256 (732470) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:48AM (#8618610)
      An interesting fact for you; India has the second largest English speaking population in the world. In fact, there is concern over the relegation of India's native languages, of which there are many. School is taught in English, and for some it may be regarded as a first language.

      I'm going to go ahead and say that an Indian writer may be as competent as an American writer. I think the bigger issue is context and perspective; can an Indian writer offer an American audience the same perspective, from their different context, as an American author?
    • Programmers of any country are rarely eloquent speakers and passionate writers even in their native tongue. The skillsets just don't seem to mix that well.

      I would assume the writing will be done by professional writers, and that's a whole other kettle of rice.
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:28AM (#8618488) Journal
    Exporting America: false choices
    In none of the attacks on my position on outsourcing has a news organization addressed the facts.
    March 10, 2004: 11:12 AM EST
    By Lou Dobbs, Lou Dobbs Tonight

    NEW YORK (CNN) - You may have noticed recently that I'm being attacked for my views on the exporting of American jobs and my calls for a balanced U.S. trade policy.

    Gerard Baker of the Financial Times called me the "high priest of demotic sensationalism."

    An editorial in the Economist magazine accused me of embarking "on a rabidly anti-trade editorial agenda" and "greeting every announcement of lost jobs as akin to a terrorist assault."

    Lou Dobbs comments on recent attacks of his views on the exporting of American jobs and U.S. trade policy.

    Play video
    (Real or Windows Media)

    Daniel Henninger of the Wall Street Journal excoriated me, I must say, in high style for my troglodyte views on outsourcing by saying, "It's as if whatever made Linda Blair's head spin around in 'The Exorcist' had invaded the body of Lou Dobbs and left him with the brain of Dennis Kucinich."

    Washington Post columnist James Glassman has simply accused me of being a "table-thumping protectionist."

    Those quotes are from some of the most respected news organizations, and there have been dozens of other articles critical of my view that outsourcing American jobs is neither sound, smart, humane nor in the national interest.
    Makes a fellow think

    I will tell you it does make a fellow think when attacked so energetically and so personally. But in none of the attacks on my position on outsourcing has a single columnist or news organization seen fit to deal with the facts.

    Number one: We're not creating jobs in the private sector, and that's never happened before in our history. Our economists and politicians need to be coming up with answers, not dogma.

    Number two: We haven't had a trade surplus in this country in more than two decades, and our trade deficit continues to soar.

    Number three: We've lost three million jobs in this country over the last three years, and millions more American jobs are at risk of being outsourced to cheap overseas labor markets.

    That seems to me, at least, to be more than sufficient evidence for all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, to question critically the policies of both parties that have led us to this critical juncture in our economy and our history.
    Check out the "Exporting America" list

    Frankly, I would love to be proved wrong in my views, and I would gladly change my position, if only my critics would answer a few questions factually, empirically and straightforwardly.

    One: How many more jobs must we lose before they become concerned about our middle class and our strength as a consumer market? Two: When will the U.S. have to quit borrowing foreign capital to buy foreign goods that support European and Asian economies while driving us deeper into debt? Three: What jobs will our currently 15 million unemployed workers fill, where and when?

    My critics and proponents of free trade and outsourcing suggest I'm a protectionist because I want to curtail the export of American jobs to cheap foreign labor markets just to reduce wage levels, and to eliminate our trade deficit and to pursue balanced trade policies.

    YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
    Lou Dobbs Tonight
    International Trade
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    or Create your own
    Manage alerts | What is this?

    Our principal trading partners, Canada, China, Japan and the European Union, all typically maintain annual trade surpluses and pursue balanced trade. Why don't my critics call them protectionists? Why not call them economic isolationists?

    My critics, and proponents of the status quo, are offering false choices. They say we must decide between protectionism, or economic isolationism as the president said today, and free trade. I'm sure they believe those choices are the only ones available.

    But maybe they also fear our policymakers may discover a middle ground for a desperately needed new U.S. trade policy: a balanced trade policy in the national interest.
    • The best way to instantly create a trade surplus in the US would be to make New York City and Los Angeles "autonomous regions" with separate measures of trade and GDP.

      Instant book-cooking surplus, wow!
    • IMPORT(reason) (Score:5, Insightful)

      by poptones (653660) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:11AM (#8618729) Journal
      I work in a call center. I went back there about five months ago and I went back simply because I enjoy the job. I do my best to meet the metrics expected of me, but I don't let it burden me - if my call time is a little high I have no problem taking the heat. If this ends up with me being fired (although I doubt it will) it really doesn't matter to me - I do what I do because I enjoy it, and if I weren't doing what I do here I'd be doing something else I enjoy somewhere else (and, because I'm able to work a four day weekend schedule with three open days in the middle of the week, I do just that).

      I'm 41. I grew up in a small town about 30 miles outside Detroit, and I remember well the fuel crisis of the 70's, and the Detroit response to the growing stream of imports that followed. I also vividly remember the Polish coal miner's strike and proudly wearing my red "Solidarnosc" t-shirt. I was - and am - a punk. I come from a blue collar home, and I share many of my father's ideals - a man who worked thirty years as a union pipe fitter. I am definitely no corporate apologist.

      Yet I'm saddened to see the same nonsense being repeated in this field that happened nearly three decades ago in the auto industry. Only this time it's doubly embarassing to me, because Japan in the 70's was already a very developed, affluent nation (remember when they were taking all that heat for buying up US properties?). This time, however, it's India - a nation brutally overpopulated where people regularly die needless deaths from ailments like burst appendices and dysentary.

      I had an appendicitis attack a few years ago. I didn't have a job and I had no money in the bank. Yet I showed up at the hospital and they asked zero questions when it came time to resolve the issue. Total cost was several thousand dollars and the fact I couldn't pay for any of it at the time meant essentially nothing: I got my treatment. If I hadn't, I likely would have died a slow, painful death from paretenitis.

      We live in a nation where no one HAS to starve. Where no one HAS to sleep on the street. Where no one HAS to die from common little ailments simply because they can't get basic medical attention or clean drinking water.

      Isolationism is cowardice. Isn't this that same community of folks who routinely chant "evolve or die" when it comes to issues like RIAA protectionism, proprietary software protectionism, and absurdly overblown patent laws? Yet I've not seen ONE comment from anyone here of that sort.

      I'm ashamed for the lot of you.

      • I disagree with you (I'm an immigrant Canadian BTW.) I'm a leftist and don't subscribe the view of a nationalist (capitalist?) like Lou Dobbs. So even though I am against what is transpiring, I am nowhere near Lou Dobbs on the econopolitical spectrum. The reason against the present type of "free trade" can be summed up as follows.

        First of all, I support trade. It is a way for all countries to prosper (check out 'absolute costs and comparative costs' to see why.) However, I am against what passes for "free trade". We can go into lengthy argument over this but I'll just describe where you are wrong.

        Who Benefits?

        What you fail to contemplate is the benefits--in particular, who is benefitting from this? Indian workers, for instance, do not benefit in the long term. What is to stop the jobs from being outsourced to another lower-cost country? In fact, it WILL happen. When that happens, India will lose jobs while another poorer country gets the jobs for a short while. Rinse and repeat. You cannot build an economy in such a manner. This is nothing more than capitalist voodoo magic (except the capitalists won't tell you that there is no such thing as real magic.)

        If the outsourced workers don't benefit overall in the long-term, who does? Well, it is pretty simple. It is the capitalists. When I say capitalists I am talking about shareholders of corporations. The vast majority of the benefit accrues to the shareholders. It doesn't accrue to India or Indian workers, or American workers. This is blatantly obvious to anyone that follows these things. For instance, corporate profits go up almost in full proportion to the "free trade."

        Why most leftists oppose

        Another serious problem with "free trade" is that one of the major reasons corporations carry it out is to circumvent environmental regulations and working conditions. This isn't so much a problem in the tech sector but plays a big role in manufacturing, textiles, and others. In other words, there are many cases where corporations simply move to another part of the world just so that they can hire workers that they can fire at will, pay no benefits, etc.

        What passes for "free trade" is coming at the expense of workers. Most leftists would not want to see all the benefits accrued by worker movements in the past to be destroyed.

        US Imperialism

        You are a sympathetic person. I am glad you are--we need more like you. However, what is happening isn't going to help anything even if what you are saying were true. The US economy is too small relative to the number of poor people. Even if 100% of US "jobs" were transplanted elsewhere, it probably isn't enough for 1/3 of Africa alone. If you really care about the lives of the less privledged in other countries, stop US imperialism! US imperialism has set back many countries by decades (particularly Latin America.) Get your country to stop meddling in other countries' affairs, overthrowing goverments, bribing--and hence solidifying--corrupt evil politicians/autocrats, and don't provide military "aid" to any of these countries. That will help the poor more than what "free trade" ever will.

        Auto Industry and Japan (circa 80's)

        The auto industry survived in the 80's because of protectionism. Basically, USA and Canada slapped on a massive tariff on imports (this happened because auto unions are stronger than anyone else, including the capitalists who own the car companies.) So Japanese companies came and built factories in USA and hence manufactured cars there. If it weren't for government intervention, the auto industry would have completely dissapeared. There is no way USA and Canada could have competed against Japan at that time. So this isn't a good example for you case. Whether this was a good thing or a bad thing depends on your ideology. Capitalists claim the intervention was bad because it jacked up car prices (cars would be cheaper if it weren't for that); socialists and most leftists would say it was good because it kept the auto industry.

        Sivaram Velauthapillai
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:30AM (#8618497) Journal
    Answers on Outsourcing
    A finance professor argues against placing blind faith in outsourcing. His views follow.
    March 12, 2004: 8:18 AM EST
    By Rory L. Terry

    The following is a guest column by Rory L. Terry, an associate professor of finance at Fort Hays State University.

    NEW YORK (CNN) -- A great deal of effort is being expended to convince us all that the outsourcing of jobs under the rubric of free trade is a good thing. I would like to discuss some of these arguments.

    Our labor force is not better trained, harder working, or more innovative than our foreign competitors. The argument that we will create new jobs in highly paying fields simply is not true. We have no comparative advantage or superiority in innovation. To assume that we are inherently more creative than our foreign competitors is both arrogant and naive. We are currently empowering our competition with the resources to innovate equally as well as we. Consider the number of new non-native Ph.D.s that leave our universities each year; consider our low rank in the education of mathematics and the sciences; and consider the large number of international students enrolled in our most difficult technical degree programs at our most prestigious universities.

    Most of our best, high-paying jobs can be exported.

    1. doctors (even surgeons)

    2. mathematicians

    3. accountants

    4. financial analysts

    5. engineers

    6. computer programmers

    7. architects

    8. physicists

    9. chemists

    10. biologists

    11. researchers of all types

    Our trading problem is an externality

    An externality exists in economics any time there is a separation of costs and benefits, and the decision maker does not have to incur the full cost but receives the full benefits of the decision. The fact is, there is no economic force, no supply and demand equilibrium, no rational decision process of either business or consumer, that will make an externality go away. Classic examples of externalities are when a business dumps toxic waste into a nearby river and the downstream residents incur the costs of cancer. The business is able to lower its costs and pass those lower costs on to its customers, and never pay for the treatment of the cancer patients. We have laws in this country against dumping and pollution because they are externalities -- they require a legislative solution.

    Cost reductions and other benefits provide a strong incentive to outsource jobs. A company that decides to move its production overseas cuts its costs in many ways, including the following:

    1. Extremely low wage rates

    2. The circumvention or avoidance of organized labor

    3. No Social Security or Medicare benefit payments

    4. No federal or state unemployment tax

    5. No health benefits for workers

    6. No child labor laws

    7. No OSHA or EPA costs or restrictions

    8. No worker retirement benefits or pension costs

    Besides cutting costs, there are other benefits to exporting jobs, including the following:

    1. Tax incentives provided by our government

    2. Incentives from foreign governments

    3. The creation of new international markets for the company's products (which ultimately empowers the company to turn a deaf ear to this country's problems and influence)

    4. The continued benefits of our legal system and the freedoms that we provide

    The net effect of all of this is lower costs, higher revenue, higher profits, higher stock prices, bonuses for management, and the creation of wealth for a subclass that benefits from low taxes at the expense of the rest of us.

    The costs of the decision to outsource are not borne by the decision maker. As a society and as a country, we experience many costs from outsourcing, including the loss of jobs, social costs, higher costs of raw materials and loss of national s
    • by anoopa (98436)
      Who the hell hasn't moderated this up as one of the more informative/non-troll postings on this topic!!! Then again this has become a teen-/.-ers play pen which I insist on visiting quite a few times every day : )

      I'm from India, I did my undergrad in the US and have worked here for about 5 years (still paying off my loans : ), and I appreciate and agree with your post/comments.

      I do have a different take on some of the points you bring up:
      1. Externality as you/your professor phrase it, is a definite (or so
    • by madro (221107) *
      Outsourcing does not lend itself well to oversimplification. That said, there are some assertions here that I have to disagree with:

      We have no comparative advantage or superiority in innovation.

      The US 'melting pot' has a unique blend of population size and diversity. Some countries are larger, a few may arguably be more diverse, but none can claim both. The different viewpoints and backgrounds represented in the US, combined with a general bias toward individualism, are the wellspring of innovation. A
  • by DAldredge (2353) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:32AM (#8618506) Journal
    Posted by: StrugglingInMI on Tue, 09 March 2004 14:49:15 | (2324 Reads)

    http://www.itunemployed.com/xaraya/index.php?mod ul e=articles&func=display&aid=264

    Elegy for a Profession

    A song of the discarded

    Hello, Corporate America. Do you know us? Do you remember?

    We are I/T.

    We are the men and women who helped you build the 21st century.

    We flocked to the new technologies, taught ourselves the skills we needed when colleges could not, and forged the tools you asked for.

    We signed up willingly, knowing that of all professions, ours was the one where today's knowledge would be tomorrow's obsolescence, where last week's skill is worthless now, and where falling out of touch with progress is career suicide.

    And we knew, some of us, that ultimately it would be impossible to keep up with the pace of change - but we tried anyway.

    We are I/T.

    We are the ones who embraced the idea of 7 x 24 operations, who willingly condemned ourselves to odd hours, unpaid overtime, and ever-increasing expectations, so "expensive equipment could be used most efficiently."

    We are the ones who gave up families, friends, and "life outside" to spend endless hours building, fixing, and changing the systems that kept you going and growing. We learned that the dream of a 40-hour workweek would never, ever apply to us.

    We are the ones who carried pagers when they were almost exclusively the tools of doctors, pimps and drug dealers.

    We are a young mother, sitting in a cubicle at 3:00am, troubleshooting a software problem while her new baby sleeps in a carryall next to her desk.

    We are a husband, called from his bed in the dead of night, on call not to save a life, or rescue a trapped motorist, but to rebuild a database index, or repair a broken disk drive. And sometimes, the problem was fixed, and it was the marriage that stayed broken.

    Do you know us? We are I/T, too. We are the family of a "computer geek", who learned that vacations, holidays, and sick days did not mean freedom from stress for our loved ones, or uninterrupted time with us. We watched as our parents and spouses took cell phones, laptops, terminals, and manuals with them everywhere, ready to give up our family plans on a moments notice to keep your business running. We heard the phones ring in the middle of the night, at the park, or during dinner. We tried to understand.

    We are I/T.

    Yes, we are the ones who listened when the siren song of ever higher salaries beckoned. Are you surprised? Do not blame us for taking the salaries you offered. Rather, look to yourselves for creating a work environment so intense, so stressful, so demanding that for ten straight years, the schools to teach the next generation found fewer and fewer applicants.

    But your demands did not decrease. In desperation, you threw money at us to buy the expertise your own voracious appetite made scarce.

    We are the ones who welcomed foreign workers into our midst, when things were so bad you had to recruit overseas to feed your endless demand. While other departments struggled with racism and intolerance, we became a United Nations in miniature, grateful for help from any quarter, any society that could ease the crushing workload. We built a society of equals, holding no prejudice except technical inadequacy.

    We watched our budgets shrink each year, while demands for productivity soared, and our pleas for more help were ignored. And we endured the criticism when the inevitable failures occurred, as overwork, stress, and tension took their inevitable toll on our skills.

    We are I/T.

    We had to learn not only our profession, but yours too. We learned your business practices so well that sometimes we knew more about them than you did; and we are the ones who had to stand by and listen to your "voice of experience" while we watched you make fatal decisions.

    We designed the systems you asked for, only to watch as t
  • Are we going to blame the President for this one as well? It seems that everyone is outsourcing, and there is no one to stop it.
  • by LordK3nn3th (715352) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:34AM (#8618520)
    I know I'll be flamed to death and modded down, but the government should have nothing to do with outsourcing and restricting those companies who do.

    It should be responibility of the consumer to buy American-produced products, not for the government to control whether we can decide who we hire or not, or where.

    Vote with your dollar, but don't let the government have more power to control us.

    Also, let us not forget that Indians are people too. Countries are man-made divisions between people, but in the end, we all need to eat, drink, get medicine, and have fun. Is an Indian life less important than an American one?

    Really, I don't have much of an opinion on this issue, because I just want to buy cheap, efficient products, and I use Linux anyway so most of the software is freely available. I can see why people are complaining (Americans need jobs!), but then again, so do Indians, and they work for less.

    So, again: If you don't like a companies' practice, don't buy their products. Don't let the government have more control.
    • by dustman (34626) <{dleary} {at} {ttlc.net}> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:58AM (#8618660)
      I know I'll be flamed to death and modded down, but the government should have nothing to do with outsourcing and restricting those companies who do.

      The government already does have everything to do with "the outsourcing problem".

      The amount of taxes our government levies, and the restrictions placed on companies (environmental regulations, labor laws, etc), are why it's cheaper to outsource jobs overseas.

      Nobody in America could possibly afford to work for $0.80 an hour. But, even if they could, it's illegal to pay people less than $5.65 or so (whatever minimum wage is now).

      I am not sure whether or not I would say we have too many restrictions of this nature or whatever. But the fact remains that it is literally impossible for US workers to compete with the workers of other countries. And it is impossible because our government makes it illegal to compete on even ground.
    • if MegaCorp (tm) produces cars in the US, then they have to follow labor law, and pollution laws, and saftey laws.

      if MegaCorp(tm) produces in 'tinycountry' they have to meet US saftey laws to sell in the US, but they can pay their employees any wage, with as few benefits as the workforce will accept, and pour as many toxins right into a river as they can get away with.. and guess what? they can sell the car for a whole lot less money.. and you think people will buy american because of their ethics?

    • 1. The notion that free trade is good for workers in foreign countries doesn't always pan out. I know that NAFTA actually lowered Mexican wages. The larger the labor pool, the more chances of a labor surplus somewhere, and the easier it is to keep prices closer to subsistenence.

      2. The problem is, if you make slave labor legal then the company that uses it has an advantage. Then it's just a race to the bottom as other companies have trouble competing. If we're going to have free trade, we also need certain

    • It should be responibility of the consumer to buy American-produced products, not for the government to control whether we can decide who we hire or not, or where.

      Vote with your dollar, but don't let the government have more power to control us.


      I agree with that in principle. But have you ever tried looking to purchase textiles that are still made in the USA?

      It is a good idea to vote with your dollars, but what do you do when all available products are made overseas?
  • by ct.smith (80232) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:34AM (#8618524) Homepage
    It seems to me that when the music and film industries complain about prirating, we often cry out that they are just refusing to deal with changing technology. They ought to adapt. If they can't adapt, they ought to go out of buisiness.

    Funny that when the topic is the American industry and not technology, everyone refuses to adapt. Well, surprise! The economy and the industries of the world change, but Americans refuse to adapt. Instead, we'll see more anti-trade and anti-captitalist legislation such as tariffs or requirements for employing Americans citizens only. Not too different from anti-piracy legislation. What hipocracy!

    OK, enough ranting from a non-American point of view. Have a nice day.
    • It seems to me that when the music and film industries complain about prirating, we often cry out that they are just refusing to deal with changing technology. They ought to adapt. If they can't adapt, they ought to go out of buisiness.

      I agree, if Hollywood wants us to stop pirating movies then they should follow Bollywood and produce nothing but Hindi musicals. That would put an end to the piracy.
    • The difference is that the MPAA and the RIAA are hordeing money and fucking over it's customers and the artists it "serves." THIS is why we tell them they need to adapt to stay alive in a market that's fed up with paying obnoxious prices.

      What we're seeing here is similar. IT workers are getting fucked over so that the higher-ups can buy bigger SUVs. This is the only benefit to exporting. That money that we're sending overseas ain't coming back over here, buddy. We also lose independency and piss off
    • Funny that when the topic is the American industry and not technology, everyone refuses to adapt. Well, surprise! The economy and the industries of the world change, but Americans refuse to adapt.

      I think that at the base of a lot of slashdotters Ideology is that Corporate America does not act according to the best interest of the populace in the nation they reside.

      When the RIAA overcharges for CD's and bullies people into settlements, that is not in the populaces interests.

      When large corporations take
    • There are several problems with this criticism.

      1. Copyright which exceeds the life of the author is not something the voting public desired. Intellectual property rights have been extended far past their original intent and people with the money to do it are writing their own laws *cough*Disney*cough*cough*. These laws should not be considered legitimate products of a representative democracy.

      2. Shutting down file trading systems because they could be used to transmit copywrited material is like eliminati
  • Indian Translator Translation = Hello please explain... I've been working with developers from india on and off for about 3 months. It is torture. They are absolutely incapable of communicating complex business rules. Sorry, 2nd, 3rd 4th language learners just can't get down like that. People we need to vote and stop this insanity.
  • by premii (667023) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:37AM (#8618533)
    US gets more BPO work than India: US commerce dept
    US commerce department data quoted in a news article in The Wall Street Journal show that a lot more work is being outsourced to the US in comparison with other countries like India.

    http://us.rediff.com/money/2004/mar/18bpo.htm?head line=US~gets~more~BPO~work~than~India [rediff.com]
  • Here goes... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by srcosmo (73503)
    If India can produce cheaper software, shouldn't we in the West be willing to buy it?

    It seems that too often we're for lower tariffs on anime, imported gadgets, etc., without fully realising that economic liberalism must be mutual. Look at President Bush's ill-advised tariffs on foreign steel -- he talked up freer trade, and then undermined it.

    If we can't bring ourselves to buy Indian software, why should they buy anything from us? Maybe they won't. Maybe it'll start a trade war, and everyone will lose.

    Just

  • Since when does the country of the developer matter so much? The Linux kernel was written by a Fin, so even in 1991 at Linux kernel version 0.1, it was being outsourced. It also means every time youre booting into Linux youre supporting outsourced software (from US) and costing real Americans real jobs.

    Heck ATI is a Canadian company, and you'd better start buying nVidia since you dont like Indian software developers. Is the free software movement just a US movement? Since when does nationality of free soft
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:45AM (#8618596)
    The slashdot community is so libertarian on issues where libertarian goals seem convenient and fun to get self-righteous over. The hypocrisy that abounds when free markets take your jobs is hilarious to us onlookers.

    I'm truly sorry if you guys are losing your jobs and I wish ill on no one here, but whenever outsourcing comes up the /. community automagically becomes a protectionist democratic bunch.

    We are amused by the hypocrisy thrown in ultra-sharp 4mega-pixel relief.

  • Tired of this crap (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cOdEgUru (181536) <cherian.abraham@ ... inus threevowels> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:47AM (#8618604) Homepage Journal
    Why is it that everytime *another* corporate decides to ditch their bonafide american employee and jump in to bed with an indian firm so that he can save 20% and earn 50% more bonus for the Senior staff, all of the slashdot crowd and rest of the civilized society starts bad mouthing the people across the ocean who does their job for a fraction of the original cost?

    Why is it that your Indian counterparts end up the bad apple, while you safely chose to ignore the people who made the decision to outsource and the govt who chose to standby and watch. Is it because that its easier to do so?

    What happened to the path of civil disobedience? What happened to when people disagreed with the policies of the Govt chose to clog the streets with political rallies, shoulder to shoulder with thousands of others and march in unison?

    What happened to "lets start a campaign against firm "A" who has decided to ditch loyalty for quick cash" and actually follow through with it by actively campaigning against the corporations who chose to fire its employees, stash their millions in Cayman Islands by withholding tax and reward their CXO's with millions in bonus and stocks.

    Nope, its far too easier to just blame the Indians!
  • by Screaming Lunatic (526975) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @12:55AM (#8618642) Homepage
    Every where I turn. There is bitching and whining, and whining and bitching.

    Oh no. Some nameless, faceless person that I have never met in my fucking life is gonna take my job. And it is my god-given fucking right to earn a living so I can have obese children that listen to too much Justin Timberlake and I won't be able to have a perfectly manicured yard enclosed with a white fuckin' picket fence for their fat asses to play in.

    You don't have a job? Acquire some goals. It won't cost you a cent. Get off of your fucking ass. Your job got shipped overseas? Get yourself a big-assed crate and fill it with all the fucking negativety, self-pity, and loathing and ship that the fuck out of here too.

    Take the easy way out and mod me as flamebait. Or reply with your plan to improve the situation for yourself and the people around you that you care about.

    Prosperity is there for anyone that desires it. The breadcrumbs are for the losers.

    That sir, is the gauntlet. It is go time.

  • Bubble! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bruthasj (175228) <bruthasj.yahoo@com> on Saturday March 20, 2004 @01:00AM (#8618664) Homepage Journal
    I hate to burst a long running bubble around these parts, but producers, managers, marketers, and publishers actually do a job that is necessary to make a decent product, whether that is music, web content, software, or apples (the edible kind). I won't get elaborate, but I think you know what I mean. There are those that suck at their job and there are those that are good. Those that suck do not automatically disqualify the purpose of the position they are in, they disqualify themselves for being in said position.

    Just like selling software, an ephemeral--and in most cases intangible--object, these people do unseen work to make a product happen that brings the bacon home--for all of us.
  • by humankind (704050) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:27AM (#8619175) Journal
    Nobody really wants to hear this, and I'm sure I'll get flamed, but my company has done business with several Indian software companies and the reason we choose to work with them was NOT because of cheaper labor and costs. The bottom line is that on average, the Indians are BETTER PROGRAMMERS than most Americans. You can get better-quality work and better service.

    Nobody wants to really address this issue, but in my experience, when we need something done, we don't get the whiny, flaky experience that is so common with American developers. There are definitely cultural issues which can impede certain efforts, but the Indians know code, especially on a lower level far better than their American counterparts, and they're not obsessively distracted or inconsistent.

    The issue with outsourcing isn't half as much about cash flow, as it is a testimonial to the fact that if American developers were half as productive as Indians, it would be cheaper to use them, and we'd have better quality software.

    Before you argue this point, stop and look around you. Do you think the quality of the majority of things you use on a daily basis, especially anything made in America, has dramatically improved in the last 20 years? Do you think this culture's work ethic is even near as substantive as it was many years ago? We live in a society where we're constantly taught that everything can be upgraded, we're fed disposable products, we screw in lightbulbs that are manufactured to fail, we sit in front of televisions all day long and can't pay attention to anything, and you want to talk about who can program better? The educational system in this country has been sliding downhill rapidly. The reason India is so appealing is because they haven't turned into ADD self-absorbed mega-consumer capitalists yet, so their production is superior. And what's the US's "solution" to this problem? Pass a law making it difficult to outsource. How ironic.
  • by Angry Pixie (673895) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @02:47AM (#8619237) Journal
    Several decades ago Karl Polanyi, IMNSHO the world's astute economic historian and philosopher, discussed pretty clearly how we were building up to a rehash of the world economic crisis of the 1930s.

    To put simply, the world is split into the developed industrial and post-industrial nations, and the developing nations. The developed nations (USA, UK, Germany) are typically rich in knowledge assets, whereas the developing nations (India, Mexico, and to an extent, China) are rich in natural resources.We in the US and Western Europe have the creativity and the skills, but tend to be in short supply of labor resources and materials. The reciprocal is true in the developing nations. This permits us to exert bargaining power over these nations, resulting in cheap materials and cheap labor.

    Through Western education, developing nations are beginning to develop the creativity and the talent, with which to complement their ownership of the resources. However, we in the post-industrial West (and Japan and Taiwan) are not as able to gain the resources.

    This is where things get scary. India has been a good place to pump out cheap code - even if the code isn't innovative or even original. The Chinese are good at assembling parts, despite not being talented at designing them. That's changing. With this growing independence in creativity and talent, combined ownership of the factors of production, developing nations are shifting the balance of power in their favor, and most likely will be able to exert greater economic (and thus political) power over the current post-industrial nations.

    In my opinion, American and Japanese ingenuity will continue to save our two economies; however we'll lose much of the bargaining power we already have once it becomes desirable for an Indian firm to outsource some of its processes to cheap American labor. We can definitely expect the price of materials to increase for Western businesses as a result of the balance of power.

    In case anyone's interested...

    The Great Transformation - The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time, by Karl Polanyi ISBN: 0-8070-5643-X
  • by Skapare (16644) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @03:34AM (#8619447) Homepage

    The biggest reason that Indians are such good programmers (and engineers) is because, at the current time, only the best and brightest in India are being educated and trained to do this work. On average, America and India have the same proportion of people who are smart at some given level (assuming an equivalent educational level). But in India, the educational system, and the economy, are just not up to par with America in terms of cranking out more programmers. That doesn't mean India's premiere school, IIT, is bad. In fact is it an excellent school, despite the limitations of resources they still have to work with. But IIT is pretty much all there is in India (several campuses around the country). In proportion to population, America cranks out far more programmers than India does (at least for now). That means it has dug deeper down the barrel in its population. There are many times more programmers from America as from India.

    Right now, there are lots of people in America who can be considered "la creme de la creme". But they just happened to be in the wrong place (like, working for a mismanaged company that failed) when things went downhill. There are plenty of these highly experienced, well educated, people around looking for work. But they are also drowned out by even more people who just can't come anywhere close. The "noise level" is basically drowning them out.

    But in India, it's mostly just "la creme de la creme" that's available. The "bottom of the barrel" isn't even trying because they don't have the educational system scaled up the way America has, so they don't even have a hint of the basic skills needed. If you take 1000 random resumes of people in India looking for work, and 1000 random resumes of people in America looking for work, on average you're going to find that a much higher proportion of Indians are better qualified for that work. And that's only because such a higher proportion of the population in America is (still) trying to get these jobs, and thus you have lots of lesser qualified people in the pool (in America, but not in India). Give an employer a choice of which stack of resumes to take to fill a job, and quite many will choose the Indian stack just because of the better signal to noise ratio (even if the salaries would be exactly the same).

    Ultimately, what America needs to do is cut back on cranking out more programmers (and engineers, and other high tech people), so that "la creme de la creme" can take the work and get well rewarded for it, regardless of which country they come from.

    • The biggest reason that Indians are such good programmers (and engineers) is because, at the current time, only the best and brightest in India

      Indians are no better at programming than any other ethnicity. In my experience I've seen more evidence to support the argument that Indians aren't very good programmers at all, but that they are excellent at following instructions. In other words, they can't program or think out of the box. Obviously though, any such argument is severely flawed.

      I'd say the spe
  • by Greenisloved (689734) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @04:02AM (#8619523)


    I came to USA to pursue masters degree and it is a great prestige for my famiy if i complete this program

    Everyone was saying , life in Us is the best.This further fuelled my desires

    Im gonna finish MS now and probably return back to India becuz of obvious reasons

    Whats worse is my undergrad friends are so F**** skilled in programming now that i feel its utter waste to do MS .I read some OS concepts , some networking concepts , and stuff that prof researched all his life.
    At the end of day i ahve skills that r not welcomed so much in industry

    My indian buddies work for Intel sun Thoughtworks IBM and i bet im no inferior to them in skill when i came here.

    Bad decision.Life in USA is materialistically awesome.
    Family wise , i dont wanna explain.

    I really mean it , u guys should see some laid back countries and relatiosnships of people there.

  • gah (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ShadowRage (678728) on Saturday March 20, 2004 @09:31AM (#8620314) Homepage Journal
    Another example of outsourcing issues:

    My mom was wanting insurance info from her insurance agent in Arizona... she heard a few clicks,then it got weird and static-y, then someone with an indian accent picked up the phone, and you could hear lots of other people with indian accents on the phone.. andh ewas trying to give her help... but she could barely understand him...she just hung up, very pissed off that her insurance company had gotten so cheap that they outsourced their phone help to india... for a company that's just across the state, She doesnt like the idea of someone in some foriegn country knowing her personal info...

    So outsourcing isnt good for the employee, and the consumer doesnt like it.

    These companies need to rethink their decisions...
    It's not as bad when they outsource more internal, less consumer interactive work.. but when it's something that directly affects the consumer..and they dont like it... it's not pretty.

    My complaint here is, how good will editing be from someone who isnt a native speaker of english?

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