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IBM Shifts 14,000 Jobs to India 1077

Omar Khan writes "The New York Times reports, 'Even as it lays off up to 13,000 workers in Europe and the U.S., IBM plans to increase its payroll in India this year by more than 14,000 workers.' Slashdot previously covered the black-and-blue strike, in which the union wondered, 'if other cost cutting mechanisms could achieve the same effect without cutting so may jobs.'"
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IBM Shifts 14,000 Jobs to India

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  • by coupland ( 160334 ) * <dchase@@@hotmail...com> on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:34PM (#12901664) Journal

    I'm sorry but IBM is speaking to European workers very clearly here, however I'm not sure they're listening. The constant strikes, the 5+ weeks of vacation, the voting down of the EU constitution to avoid US-style capitalism. These jobs are vanishing into India because of the cost and headache of dealing with European unions, workers, culture, and bureaucracy. Frankly it's a pain in the ass, and for a market that often has little growth potential. Asia isn't just where the cheap labour is, it's also where the growth is, and the governments eager to work with you, and the best bang-for-the-buck for companies seeking to invest. Until European workers learn to compete aggressively we'll keep on hearing stories like this of companies that just shrug and say "fine, have it your way." Apologies, but something's gotta give.

  • other methods (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Threni ( 635302 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:34PM (#12901668)
    > 'if other cost cutting mechanisms could achieve the same effect without cutting
    > so may jobs.'"

    They'll just do that too!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:35PM (#12901679)
    don't worry, you are not alone. accounting, HR, legal, even biotech and practically everything else you can think of is subject to offshoring. guess who's in the best position now? carpenters. plumbers. electricians. whoops, get ready for people to re-evaluate college and knowledge work on a grand scale.
  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:36PM (#12901686)
    That's just the free market at work. If the price of labor is cheaper there, then that is where labor will be purchased. It's just as simple as that.
  • The problem ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by B3ryllium ( 571199 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:36PM (#12901692) Homepage
    The problem with outsourcing is that eventually the cheap work gets more expensive, then it becomes too much of a burden and things have to shift again ...

    So, gradually, the corporations will pick random underdeveloped countries and beef them up to a point where the workers are too expensive, then they'll move on - until there are no underdeveloped countries left, just bloated overdeveloped cesspools full of unemployed engineers and white collars.
  • NOT a job cut (Score:1, Insightful)

    by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:38PM (#12901713) Journal
    How is adding 1,000 jobs cutting jobs?

    Do the Indians not count because they are brown?

    IBM is adding to its workforce and yet is still critisized.
  • by AtomicX ( 616545 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:38PM (#12901717)
    'if other cost cutting mechanisms could achieve the same effect without cutting so may jobs.'"

    Probably not. For someone like IBM, labour is undoubtedly their biggest cost. If they can get equally good work from Indian programmers for a third of the cost, then I see every reason for them to do that.

    Of course it is hard on the staff, but this is only going to happen more and more as time goes on, and increased union activity is only going to encourage large firms to outsource work.

    The only way for IT workers in western countries to survive is to gain additional skills which workers in other countries lack.
  • Off-Shoring (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ndansmith ( 582590 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:38PM (#12901721)
    Is it really immoral to send jobs overseas? Why do people in Europe and US deserve the jobs more than people in India? How do these reactions to off-shoring fit into our new global economy?

    [I am not saying anything either way.]

  • by nharmon ( 97591 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:39PM (#12901735)
    Except, we're beginning to realize that you do indeed get what you pay for.
  • by lucabrasi999 ( 585141 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:39PM (#12901737) Journal

    While I don't agree with all of the what coupland says above, I certainly don't think it is Flamebait. It is a valid point.

  • by 0kComputer ( 872064 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:40PM (#12901744)
    Individual companies can't get away with shipping jobs to India due to the offshoring stigma, so what do they do? They hire consulting firms like IBM who basically do the dirty work for them. Problem solved; good cheap labor at a fraction of the cost without it being a PR nightmare because technically the company isn't offshoring. I've seen this happening more and more. Kind of scary.
  • Re:The problem ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aralin ( 107264 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:41PM (#12901752)
    By the time they go full circle, the countries where they came from will be underdeveloped and so they can go on :)
  • Re:I'm screwed? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 14erCleaner ( 745600 ) <FourteenerCleaner@yahoo.com> on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:41PM (#12901753) Homepage Journal
    I guess a programming major insn't enough. Now I need to learn Indian as well.

    Don't worry, most of the IBM employees in India speak excellent English. Besides "Indian" isn't a language.

  • Re:I'm screwed? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon ( 454276 ) * <bittercode@gmail> on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:41PM (#12901754) Homepage Journal
    If you think you need to learn 'Indian'-- I'd recommend some basic geography and general knowledge of the cultures in the country before you take on language training.
  • Re:oops (Score:1, Insightful)

    by rkz ( 667993 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:41PM (#12901764) Homepage Journal
    Beyond IT, every job that is a non-manufacturing, desk job and can be done remotely over the phone and a network is a candidate to be outsourced to a business processing center outside the United States and typically in India. The people who are worried are not your run of the mill hippy protesters, they are from all walks of life who are concerned about the erosion of the 'American way.' Someone losing their job to a contract manufacturer in China or an IT services company in India today is less likely to find alternate employment in a hurry.
  • Re:I.B.M == ??? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ndansmith ( 582590 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:41PM (#12901766)
    IBM is a dinosaur for staying on the cutting edge of the global economy? They are moving to the fastest developing continent, Asia, which has the most potential right now. I think that other tech firms are dinosaurs for staying rooted in the USA and Europre.
  • by yog ( 19073 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:44PM (#12901798) Homepage Journal
    And US workers. From the article:
    "I.B.M. is really pushing this offshore outsourcing to relentlessly cut costs and to export skilled jobs abroad," said Marcus Courtney, president of the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers, or WashTech, a group that seeks to unionize such workers. "The winners are the richest corporations in the world, and American workers lose."
    They just don't get it. The winners are the consumer who gets to pay lower prices for the products and services. The other winners are the stockholders of the corporation who get higher dividends and portfolio value. Now, we all are consumers of IBM and similar high tech goods and services--every time we use an ATM, an insurance company, a bank, a personal computer--we are benefiting from offshoring of high cost labor and parts.

    I think this group that seeks to unionize tech workers needs to rethink its strategy a bit. Raising the cost of labor will not provide for secure employment, quite the opposite in fact.

    I don't like to see rising unemployment in the tech sector, either, but unionizing and legislating are not the answers. Innovation, entrepreneurship, and low tax overhead will help. We also have to face up to the fact that there are industrious and hard working people out there who will do our job on the cheap. We in the West need to wake up, start thinking more innovatively, and compete with our best tools: our creativity, education, and tremendous freedom to explore new business opportunities.

  • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:44PM (#12901800)
    I see that you're claiming that Indians are unable to produce quality software and hardware designs. Can you please give some tangible examples/proof of this, and the resulting failures? Indeed, what makes an Indian any less of a programmer than an American or a European?
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by reidbold ( 55120 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:46PM (#12901824)
    Lowering cost itself is not immoral or wrong, but sometimes the means used to achieve the goal is immoral, or wrong.
  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:46PM (#12901826)
    Suit: "Why did you drag me out here?"
    New Hire: "$4 a square foot is why I dragged you out here."
    Suit: "Sure, it's $4 a square foot, we're in the middle of nowhere."
    New Hire: "We're not in the middle of nowhere. How'd you get here?"
    Suit: "Airport."
    New Hire: "Yeah, airport, highway, telephone."
    Suit: "Internet."
    New Hire: "Internet."
    Suit: "Genius. $4 a square foot, and $4 an hour. You're fired!"

    IBM. Solutions for a small planet. :)

  • by Tangurena ( 576827 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:47PM (#12901831)
    Our small (under 10 employee) company just offshored a job for one of our clients. All of our clients had been beating us up over offshoring work, because it is fashionable. So we spent more time specking the work and administering it than if we did the work ourselves. But we had to offshore the work because offshoring is this decade's fashion, our generations bell-bottom jeans.
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jonabbey ( 2498 ) * <jonabbey@ganymeta.org> on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:47PM (#12901843) Homepage

    Just so long as they understand they're going to be selling their services and products at the lowest cost as well.

    This whole thing is just the money sloshing around the planet to reach economic equilibrium. Soon enough wages will rise in India and the dollar and Euro will drop, and the pressures will relent somewhat.

    I do wonder about the canonical science fiction question. It's already far more productive to have cheap computers do the work rather than expensive humans for a range of services. What happens over the next few hundred years as the collection of services done by computers grows ever-larger?

    What good is capitalism for workers when there's absolutely no scarcity of labor? Money is just a measurement of scarcity, after all, and if there's no scarcity in labor, there's no money.

  • by DogDude ( 805747 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:49PM (#12901863)
    I don't like to see rising unemployment in the tech sector, either, but unionizing and legislating are not the answers. Innovation, entrepreneurship, and low tax overhead will help. We also have to face up to the fact that there are industrious and hard working people out there who will do our job on the cheap. We in the West need to wake up, start thinking more innovatively, and compete with our best tools: our creativity, education, and tremendous freedom to explore new business opportunities.

    All true, but it's waaaaay too late to fix this. If anything, IT industry workers as a whole needed to realize this 10 years ago. Today, IT people still think of themselves as deserving of an inordinately large paycheck. And what's interesting is that IT people that I know and that I have talked to all seem to keep this mentality even while they're unemployed. I got my wake up call years ago, and left the IT industry for good, because I know that I'm not willing to sit in a fucking cubicle and commute with the lemmings every day for less than $xx an hour.
  • by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:52PM (#12901907)

    So competition means having European workers work at Indian wages, despite IBM being highly profitable?

    So you want governments and corporations to work together to ensure that the highest goal is ensuring that corporations are profitable?

    Do you truly understand what your saying? Workers have fought for literally centuries to be treated with some degree of respect. Corporations are now making record profits, and still seem to find it necessary to replace their workers with cheaper labor? What the hell is it for? What exactly is the point of all this - we'll all be back to 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM hours, with no vacation, at half the wage so that the elite have growth of their profits.

    Capitalism works because people assume that they have a chance of advancing, that the lives of their children will be better. If globalization simply means a gross reduction of wages and transfer of assets to the wealthy, capitalism will lose popular support. How many former IBM employees are going to be praising outsourcing?

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:53PM (#12901925) Homepage
    Ah yes, the race to the bottom... in a few years we'll hear about jobs moving from India to Ethiopia, because the Indians are too picky about things like "wanting food feed their children" and "reducing the work week to 80 hours" to be competitive in the global marketplace.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:58PM (#12901983)
    Nope, I am not a corporate slave precisely because I think of my job as a privilege.

    If one thinks of a job as a privilege then one will logically assume that the said privilege can be revoked at any time.

    Therefore, one will not harbor corporate loyalty of any form due to the risk of said privilege being revoked.

    Ergo, one will prepare oneself continuously for job cuts, firings, etc. by doing at least one of the following:

    1) Improve professional skills
    2) Gaining additional education (grad school)
    3) Becoming more creative
    4) Starting a small business on the side
  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @12:58PM (#12901992)
    I don't like to see rising unemployment in the tech sector, either, but unionizing and legislating are not the answers. Innovation, entrepreneurship, and low tax overhead will help. We also have to face up to the fact that there are industrious and hard working people out there who will do our job on the cheap. We in the West need to wake up, start thinking more innovatively, and compete with our best tools: our creativity, education, and tremendous freedom to explore new business opportunities.

    Listen, buddy, you're not going to get anywhere making sober, rational, actually true statements like that here on slashdot. If you can't make your point by bashing large companies and demonizing people in India, then you're just a Corporate Stooge(tm). Like me!

    Like me, in the sense that I've still got a tech job in the US because I'm making sure that I do work for people that need something beyond simple certifications. The key to having a tech career in the US is in demonstrating how you can connect your comfort with the culture, language, and business habits of the country directly with the IT project at hand. A SQL query, a backup drive, and NAT settings don't really depend too much on cultural history or a smooth use of American English. But the execution of a project that faces North American business users and consumers is only going to shine if the people working on it don't have to have certain idioms translated, or certain Americanisms explained in detail before a dialog box can be well written or a menu hot key wisely selected.

    More importantly, those e-mail threads and meetings that shape the budgets around projects or choose a technology strategy for some problem can be maddeningly derailed by the wrong-continent-ness of off-shored team members, no matter how inately talented or well trained. In short: get tech savvy, and then get in the business of helping tech-dependent organizations use tech resources, even if some of them are overseas. Being the resource is risky, but being an astute student of US culture and knowing which resources make the most sense to use - that's a less vulnerable line of work (and it pays better).
  • Re:Off-Shoring (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cromac ( 610264 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:02PM (#12902043)
    Is it immoral to send jobs overseas? Of course that is going to depend on your own sense of morality. Many people would argue that US companies should look after US jobs/workers first, just like German companies should take care of their citizens, French thieirs and so on. Caring only about the bottem line might be the best thing for the companys gain/loss columns on the annual report but that doesn't make it the right thing to do.

    Why should people worry about the global economy when it's not in their best interest? To the workers who lost their jobs in the US and Europe the wellbeing of the global economy is the last thing they're worried about.

  • by arivanov ( 12034 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:02PM (#12902044) Homepage
    Well... Slashdot needs an extra moderation item - -1 [misinformed, misguided and never been outside South Carolina].

    First - while we have 5 weeks of vacation we do not have statuatory sick leave if a member of the family is sick. US has up to 2 of those. So if you have two kids under 14 in the family and both parents are working the numbers roughly add up to the same - 3 weeks of effective holiday.

    Second - You clearly have no idea of Bureaucracy. If the problem was bureaucracy nobody would have invested in China. Or India for that matter.

    Third - Unions. India has them too. Expect to hear more about them.

    Culture - While I understand your bile I have to disagree with it. The highest productivity in Europe in the high tech industry is in the country that works least per day. Spain. The lowest productivity is in the country that works most - UK. This is actually reasonable if you think about it. If you work with your brain it does not help working yourself out flat and burning it.

    The reasons why idiot PHBs are moving high tech jobs to India is that they like the idea of making people work flat and they count work by the hour, not by the product produced. In 2-3 years once the dust has settled it will become evident that there are no savings and whatever is gained in lower labour costs is lost in productivity (see the Culture note above).

    There is also the reason why smart PHBs are moving high tech jobs to India. There are fewer and fewer native high tech graduates in Europe (both East and West) and the US. That is not the case in India and China. So if a company wants to establish a long term operation it is reasonable for it to move there.

  • That isn't all true.

    I am a union steward for a manufacturing plant in Jackson, Michigan and we do not focus on things like "job creation and preservation".

    We focus on ensuring that our work place is safe (we have never even seen an OSHA inspector in the plant, they make it up to the front office but mysteriously never beyond there).

    We also focus on fairness and equality. My main concern is to make sure that some one is not getting a benefit that the rest of us aren't and conversely that some one isn't getting treated unfairly.

    Unions still have a valid position to hold in our society as long as companies are willing to screw people in any way possible to increase the bottom line. We constantly work with the company to help them increase product quality and profitability, we only ask them that they work with us to ensure we have enough money to live decently and enough insurance to ensure we can afford health care.

    The government won't do those things for us, and I don't want them to.
  • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:10PM (#12902112) Homepage Journal
    I just want to know what precludes these disenfranchised workers from forming a company and competing with IBM and their new Indian hires.
    A new company formed of the actual talent, with all of the PHBs and their golden parachute collections amputated, ought to compete effectively, or am I missing something?
  • by abigor ( 540274 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:11PM (#12902121)
    Labour costs in much of Europe (especially central Europe - Czech Republic, Slovakia, etc.) are much lower than in the U.S. The famous strikes you refer to are mainly in France, as it's a legal right. This is all about cutting costs through lower wages, and not much else. In fact, it really sounds like your "reasoned argument" is just a thinly-disguised, biased rant against those "lazy, undisciplined Europeans". Nice stereotype. Have you ever worked over there, interacted with Brits, Czechs, Dutch, etc.? They have a strong work ethic, and high productivity.
  • Following the specs to the letter without discussion is a sign of either poor pay or poor management. A poor manager is one who gives out specs and expects them to be followed without question. That's not what a (good) developer (or development team) would ever do.. that's what a "programmer" would do. If you're being poorly managed or not paid enough, why argue with the manager.. it's a lot easier just to follow the bad specs and render yourself blameless even if the job turns out bad. Indeed, I'd say at least 50% of development budgets are spent on projects which never see the light of day due to this problem.
  • by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:13PM (#12902150)

    IBM was founded, built, financed, and supported by Western countries, principally the US, UK, Japan, and Germany. The US, especially, protects IBM's intellectual property, provides a secure environment for business, and enormous amounts of government contracts. The great bulk of IBM's customers are in the West.

    I honestly believe that IBM - and all of the firms so happily laying off their employees in order to find cheaper labour - are acting in an immoral manner. Outsourcing is destroying lives, destroying economies, for the sole point of increasing corporate profits - profits that go, essentially, to a very small percentage of the population. For goodness sake, having a 401k growing at 4% doesn't really matter that much when you're laid off.

    IBM is not trying to help Indian workers - IBM is simply trying to cut it's labor costs. Globalization has accomplished the dream of so many capitalists - labor is now a commodity, and labor is powerless.

    The American - and Western European - middle class is evaporating before our eyes. When the middle class jobs are sent overseas, the entire structure of our society is in danger. We'll became lands where the few with massive wealth dominate the increasingly poor masses. Democracy depends on a healthy middle class. Destroying that democracy is indeed immoral.

  • by airship ( 242862 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:15PM (#12902201) Homepage
    Maybe 'Economics 101' boils down to:
    (1) Look for ways to reduce costs
    (2) Move jobs overseas to exploit cheap 3rd-world labor
    (3) Profit!

    but 'Economics 102' adds:
    (1) Cheap 3rd-world workers spend new pay on basics like decent food, shelter, and medical care, thus greatly improving their lives, but have nothing left over to purchase still relatively expensive luxury goods and services provided by their American or European employer
    (2) Unemployed or now-underemployed former American or European employees now can't afford expensive luxury goods and services provided by former employer, either
    (3) Profits evaporate as sales plummet

    Henry Ford understood this basic economic principle, and made sure his employees could afford to purchase the Model T's they built.

    'Econ 103' goes on to explain how companies that move their labor and infrastructure costs overseas still get to deduct those expenses when it comes time to pay their US taxes, but none of that money stays here to generate income tax, sales tax, and other tax revenue, so government services must shrink. And every dollar moved offshore also costs many, many more dollars lost in other goods and services that lost employees can no longer purchase, resulting in additional jobs and tax revenues lost, etc.

    It's never as simple as it first seems.
  • The fact is that IT companies have made millions and billions off of the work of their employees. IT employees have only been handed a small fraction of that money.

    Um -- you're not paid based on how much money you generate for a company, you're paid based on how replaceable your job is. Guess what? If the janitor stops taking out the trash, eventually the company stops making money. Are the janitors worth a billion dollars a year? No -- because they're paid based on the value of the work they do. They are easily replaceable.

    Same for engineers. You are paid based on how unique your work is. If your work can be easily replaced by another engineer, you're low paid. If it is sufficiently unique, then you are higher paid. Supply and demand, man. Supply and demand.

    Want to be the one who collects the money at the top? Easy. Start your own company and create some jobs of your own.

    Unions can create temporary bubbles where you get higher pay than you deserve, but ultimately it hurts you. Would you rather have a 20% more pay temporarily, but then no job at all when it's outsourced, or would you rather have more stability, just at a market wage?

    Europe is choosing "no job" every day.

  • Re:Ok (Score:2, Insightful)

    by reidbold ( 55120 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:17PM (#12902223)
    How about a progressive salary cut that starts at the very top of the organization? Where the guy who makes the most gets the biggest cut, and it goes straight to the bottom, and at the bottom cuts could be minimized. It would allow them to pay reasonable and realistic salaries to everyone in the company, and free up tons of money to boot.
  • by Mr. Cancelled ( 572486 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:19PM (#12902240)
    People with trades will always be in demand. In fact, I'd throw "auto mechanic" into that list too

    You don't know what you're talking about (dog)dude - I have a lot of friends in the auto industry, from muffler rats to import auto mechanics, and the entire industry's going into a slump. I recently had a friend quit his day job to do part time work out of his fathers garage because there's a bigger opportunity for income there than there is at an established, corporately owned auto shop!

    Add to that the fact that GM and Ford are having a ton of problems -To the point wherein they're considering asking the Feds to allow them to not pay retiree benefits! This isn't future benefits for current employees we're talking about here, this is benefits that have been earned through years of hard work by existing retirees.

    How'd you like to be 70, looking forward to spending your remaining years with family and friends, only to find out you have to now work at Walmart in order to pay your utility bills?

    While I will agree that there will always be some demand for skilled trades workers, it's nowhere near the levels that you're implying, and there's already a huge glut of unemployed trade workers, from mechanics to construction workers.

    It almost sounds like you're doing Lazy-Boy financial planning here... Get out in the real world and see how well some of the people working in these careers you're suggesting are doing in todays economy. It ain't great, let me tell ya

    The best career you've shown is nursing, but the hours and stress required for such a job is beyond what a lot of people want to do. The pay, while good, isn't that great for the requirements of the job (lotsa hours!). Teaching's similar to this... Lotsa hours, lotsa regulations and rules which have grown up due to our politically-correct-obsessed society, and all this for not much more than your average burger flipper makes down to McD's.

    Sad times indeed...
  • by demigod ( 20497 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:21PM (#12902268)
    The winners are the consumer who gets to pay lower prices for the products and services.

    I guess I missed IBM's announcement they were lowering prices. Got a URL?

    I use to work for fortune 500 company that outsourced a bunch of thier IT works (not me). They never lowered prices, but the CEO did get a hell of a raise that year.

  • by Groovus ( 537954 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:22PM (#12902285)
    And the response of these workers and others in Europe is that they don't want to be chattel/wage slaves. Shocking isn't it? It seems like people in Europe can somehow envision a world where there is such a thing as enough profit, and that at the end of the day corporations exist for the betterment of all of society - not vice versa.

    One of my old bosses had a great expression - "Trees don't grow to the sky." It was in relation to commodity trading, but it's applicable in many areas of life. Growth can not be infinite - it's simply not sustainable. At some point you need to be satisfied that you're running a profitable business, creating valued products.

    Causing unemployment in Europe and the U.S. to save a couple sheckles on the front end will ultimately result in less wealth and less growth in the long run. You need someone to buy your products, and as others have already pointed out, the unemployed and minimum wage workers of the world aren't going to be able to do so. All the arm chair "free marketers" need to dig a little deeper with their analysis than parroting "corporations are in business to make money" and thereby whatever they do in that line makes sense - that may be a primary goal, but it certainly doesn't valildate or justify every decision corporations make.

    Greed is good only works up to a point - after which you start eating your own young.
  • by TheSync ( 5291 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:24PM (#12902313) Journal
    Cheap products don't matter, what matters is that consumers can afford those products. Unemployed people can't.

    Yet despite years of complaining about oursourcing to Japan, China, and now India, the US unemployment rate is still historically low. Hmmm...
  • by douceur ( 98547 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:25PM (#12902326)
    Well said. The idea that IBM is trying to help Indian workers is ludicrous. But even if that was its intent, that's no excuse to lay off Western workers.
  • Not quite so.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:27PM (#12902349) Journal
    I'm not disputing that there will always be a need for someone to fix plumbing problems, build or repair homes, fix cars, and all those other things.

    But at the same time, those tasks rely on someone using their hands and doing work that they might not otherwise prefer to do.

    The "knowledge" fields require exactly that.... detailed and complex knowledge of the area, in order to perform the work satisfactorily.

    If I'm an intelligent person with no major physical disabilities, I can fix my own house - even if it means buying a couple books and a lot of trial and error. Heck, a while ago, my wife put up bathroom tile in our bathroom we remodeled, and she'd never done it before in her life. Looks completely professional and it's been up there for about 3 years now.

    Same goes for cars, really. It might require a lot of tools and a lot of time tinkering around with things, but most people coming from these other "tech" fields could do it if they set their mind to it.

    On ther other hand, even the smartest, most talented carpenter is not going to be equipped to do biotech work or even H.R. without paying for some formal training/schooling first.

    Therefore, people practicing trades will always be in demand, but won't get the kind of pay they once got, if the other people are out of work and deciding they have to "do it themselves" rather than pay someone else.
  • by fitten ( 521191 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:36PM (#12902447)
    There are plenty of skilled people here in the USA. We have the best colleges, and some of the brightest people. If it is about saving money then why not set up operations in the midwest where housing and the cost of living are low? That would keep the jobs in American hands as well as re-vitalize the economies of the poorest states and

    Because there are lots of people in the USA who are "too good" to live in those places. A lot of them want to live in a 'cool' place and, while much of the MidWest is quite chilly in the winter, it is a different kind of 'cool' they are talking about. It isn't 'cool' to live in a MidWestern town, much less what is considered a city there.

    Me? I've always moved to where the work was and I've lived/worked in a fairly small town or two (~20k people sometimes).
  • by kaladorn ( 514293 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:39PM (#12902489) Homepage Journal
    Said another way:

    It is easy to have lofty principles such as helping the developing world until such time as it actually starts to cost us something.

    Outsourcing is a sign. It is a sign that we're not doing the right things in the (more fully) developed world. If a programmer in India can do my job for half the wage and still look good (relative to his cost of living), then I'd better either learn Gujurati, Hindi, or one of the many other tongues and move to compete with him, or else I'd better be thinking of doing something else.

    Does it shock anyone that at the same time as the US and the EU are bleeding skilled jobs to new centers of skill (India is developing quite a few of technical skill centers!) elsewhere in the world, that we're busy arguing about cutting back to a 35 hour work week (bits of the EU) or about making Intelligent Design the latest 'education' in our schools?

    This is the 21st century. If you trained as a computer geek, realize computers are commoditizing and start looking at an exit strategy. Software is busy doing this now too. No one anymore says "I want to manufacture machine screws by hand!". We know this process is automated and you can now have them for a very low price. Similarly, software will go that route over time.

    So, if you want to remain a highly educated worker at the cutting edge of the newest field, realize that computer software isn't going to be it. It was in the 1980s and 1990s. By 2120, I don't imagine it will be. So what are you doing to start sorting out 'the next area of innovation' and to prepare yourself to work in that field? Or are you buying a $400K+ house, driving a $40K+ car, and spending all your money on toys?

    If you aren't saving up for your next stage of education and you aren't thinking about what it is and investing in continuing education steadily (and that may well mean 'into another area of study'), then you are essentially the woolen worker put out of work when the mills closed, or the hatpin maker who found out the machine could do a better and faster and cheaper job.... and you weren't looking ahead to see it coming.

    So, you've got a warning. The trend is clear. Stop cringing and whinging and get out there and do! Plan, act, educate yourself, and move on to 'the next new thing'. If you have the brains to make sense out of assembly code, if you can write multi-threaded client server apps, if you can make a database sing... then surely you can use that brainpower in some other endeavour to equal effect, given some investment in training.

    Ultimately, we're still stuck in the old model of 'go to school, get an education, carry on with life after education'. We should realize the new model is 'get a part of an education, work for a while, see the changes coming, re-educate, get a new job, work for a while, rinse, repeat.' That's living on globalized internet time. It might not be all that palatable if you feel like saying 'my brain is full' or 'but I've spent my time in school' but it is what the new world's rate of change will require. Be agile or be roadkill....
  • by ragnar ( 3268 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:43PM (#12902527) Homepage
    When will the capitalists start outsourcing the CEOs job? When that happens I'll believe the free market cheerleaders.
  • Re:Fake Free Trade (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:46PM (#12902581)
    You have it backwards. "We" are not losing jobs because "we" (the U.S., Canada, Japan, etc.) are free market and "they" (India, China) aren't. We are losing jobs because "we" are no longer free-market.

    40 years ago the U.S. was truly free market, and China and India were truly Socialist, and economicly "we" were kicking "their" ass.

    What you are seeing now, is China and India becoming how the U.S. used to be, while the U.S. becomes like China and India used to be. 40 years ago, when the United States was the number one industrial producer, when we had the highest paid workers on the planet, and we were the best educated and had the highest standard of living, there was no such thing as outsourcing. Outsourcing is a product of the post-capitalist "welfare" state.

    Companies aren't moving to India to get cheaper labor (that is a side benifit). They are going to India because the market is MORE free than in the U.S., the taxes are lower, and the people work harder and are better educated. "We" got fat and lazy, and we want all our cheap consumer goods and government benifits, and 30 hour work weeks, and we forgot that those goods and services we enjoy are actually produced through capital and labor... not lawsuits, advertisment, and government edicts.

    The West is no longer producing anything except government. So, we are now spending our accumulated capital for imported consumer goods and government services. This can last for about 10-15 years, then the economies of the U.S., Western Europe, will have spent all their accumulated captial and will colapse.
  • Shortsighted (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EdwinBoyd ( 810701 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:50PM (#12902625)
    The position that outsourcing is just good business and benefits the consumer may be true in the short term but has dire implications further down the road. By outsourcing these middle class jobs you are in effect removing the purchasing power of the former employees. The majority do find new jobs, but with lower salaries or with fewer benefits (forcing them to pay the cost). This is coupled with the fact that the US is importing more products than it exports. Which means that jobs that should involve Americans working to manufacture products for other Americans to purchase are becoming scarce as well. This leaves only the services industry which tends to pay bottom dollar salaries and provide few benefits (if any). My question is that what good are lower priced consumer goods if there is no middle class to purchase them and what economy can rely on a service based model if the service cannot be afforded?
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @01:56PM (#12902699)
    "Money is just a measurement of scarcity, after all, and if there's no scarcity in labor, there's no money."

    That's an extremely absurd view of the accounting capabilities of money. Neither the presence of money, nor the absence of money, can objectively account for scarcity. Reality is ultimately more accurate than money, as a measuring tool. :)

    What is money? It's a paper contract to facilitate trade. Observing ebbs and flows in money, you can make some observations about the transaction of goods and services.

    Money exists without scarcity of labor; this is called unemployment. The existence of unemployed persons does not mean money is scarce; it means that there is an imbalance in supplies and demands (persons wanting goods and services but not having the ability or supply to trade for it). Scarcity of money is not the problem; a paucity of goods and services (or labor) to trade in exchange for needed or wanted goods and services, is the fundamental problem.

    All of this can be poked, prodded, and manipulated by genius economists who yet can't predict next quarter's results any better than your local weatherman (discounting obvious inertia, which comprises the bulk of economic movement).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:00PM (#12902752)
    > Want to be the one who collects the money at the top? Easy. Start your own company and create some jobs of your own.

    There, in a nutshell, is the problem. The system we have now is designed to funnel the profits into the hands of a few people, and after multiple decades of this, you end up with a situation like we have now - professionals who used to be able to raise a family in a nice home on a single income now barely scrape by with two incomes.

    This is a cycle of free-market capitalism, it's inherent in the structure of business. As the money gets concentrated at the top, there's less to go around. That's why you see small businesses closing left and right, while Starbucks and Wal-Mart open yet another store in your area. Even if you have an employee-owned company with profit sharing, it will eventually get swallowed up or plowed over by a larger company whose owners screwed people over so they could gain obscene wealth.

    What's the answer? I don't know. Some say eat the rich. I say form cooperatives. The solution is probably somewhere in between.
  • The system we have now is designed to funnel the profits into the hands of a few people

    Where do you think the money goes? Into mattresses? No -- it goes into investment, which creates more jobs. professionals who used to be able to raise a family in a nice home on a single income now barely scrape by with two incomes.

    The world you think used to exist never existed. The reason people need two incomes now is because they SPEND MORE MONEY. It is entirely possible to live on one income, if you don't live luxuriously. The last generation simply accepted living on fewer luxuries.

  • by ScentCone ( 795499 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:09PM (#12902861)
    I just want to know what precludes these disenfranchised workers from forming a company and competing with IBM and their new Indian hires.

    Well, never mind the competitive issues for the moment. The real shock to "workers" who try to do that is that all of the sudden they're facing the same issues their bosses did. The fact that they need a management layer, for example. And the people who tend to be really talented in that area can also be wooed away to a better deal elsewhere... which means that the workers are going to have to sweeten the pot to keep around the sort of people that know how to swing investment deals, secure better insurance rates, negotiate mutli-million dollar office deals, talk with the lawyers, and so on.

    You can purge the PHBs, but the space they occupy doesn't really go away. Companies populated entirely by engineers, no matter how talented, fail early and fail often. The more so when there doesn't seem to be enough money around to pay for their services (at leats, compared to people in India with the same certifications who will work for a quarter of the price and be thrilled to do so).
  • by garglblaster ( 459708 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:10PM (#12902863) Journal
    So what?

    My next notebook isn't going to be IBM anyway
    it will be Fujitsu-Siemens.
    and if it's not made in Germany it will be something else..!

    Yes this is flamebait or what -
    make your choice.

  • by mutterc ( 828335 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:15PM (#12902932)
    Where do you think the money goes? Into mattresses? No -- it goes into investment, which creates more jobs.
    Not necessarily. Stock is bought "used" unless it's from an IPO. When I buy IBM stock, IBM doesn't see a penny of that money; some goes to middlemen, and the rest goes to a former IBM stockholder.

    Since 86% of stock is owned by the wealthiest 10%, money speny buying stock (or stock-price appreciation caused by businesses) goes pretty much to the rich, accelerating the concentration of wealth.

    I have trouble imagining what kind of economic efficiency, or society, we will have when a (relative) handful of people own everything, and the rest of us are serfs.

  • Re:US decline (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:21PM (#12902985)
    You've just described every major shift in world power in human history and most civil wars. Care to try again?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:22PM (#12902989)
    >> The system we have now is designed to funnel the profits into the hands of a few people

    > Where do you think the money goes? Into mattresses? No -- it goes into investment, which creates more jobs.

    *Some* of it does, but a lot of it gets invested in ventures that *lose* money, or into foreign companies which doesn't benefit American workers. A lot of it is tied up in assets and real estate that are essentially Golden Mattresses.

    > The world you think used to exist never existed. The reason people need two incomes now is because they SPEND MORE MONEY. It is entirely possible to live on one income, if you don't live luxuriously.

    I call bullshit on that one. The average middle-class professional has less buying power *per dollar* than he or she did in 1960, and that is a fact. I earn $30,000 a year, which is a reasonable salary but it doesn't go far in San Diego. I don't live a luxurious lifestyle, I have a modest 1BR apartment and I still can't afford a car, let alone a family. I'm sinking in debt. The simple truth is that salaries have not risen anywhere near in proportion to the cost of living.
  • Re:Ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cicho ( 45472 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:29PM (#12903082) Homepage
    Who gives a fuck what it's called if it produces widespread unemployment and poverty, while rewarding a minuscule bunch at the top? We've been there before, and it was called feudalism back then.

    Capitalism does not have to be like this, and wasn't all like this between the 50s and 70s.

  • Yes, the raft of people who are in personal financial trouble from the lack of steady work is vastly impressing. When the electricity gets shut off because you just can't come up with the 4 months in arrears, I'm sure that $10 CD player for sale in the nearby Wal*Mart will be a big fucking comfort to you.

    The mantra of lowered prices is getting waaaaay out of control. People who are not only tossed out of steady work, but are also tossed into big indebtedness, are only going to consume your stupid cheap shit as long as the easy credit environment lasts. But easy credit is unsustainable. So you are being foolish. Americans have already taken ENORMOUS hits to their standards of living merely by requiring 2nd jobs and serious overtime to support them. These extensions of work reduce the standard of living regardless of what they buy (note: often, purchases covered by the system of credit, hence these purchases are overly and unnecessarily expensive). As the common wealth leaves the country, the highly strained American work habit shows as clearly as a wrecked boat when exposed by the lowering tide. It was hidden by the velocity of money, but now we see it clearly.

    It's gone much too far, and America's workforce is falling out of First World status. The middle class is being cashed out (yes, even by ITSELF) simply to mint a few more millionaires ... who then expatriate by various means. And finally, when manufacturing flees, the very basis of the economy is gone, hence you cannot "make it up" with services. You cannot run a sustainable economy on junk bonds, websites, strip malls and pizza delivery. The manufacture of capital equipment must occur in EACH AND EVERY sustainable economy, or slavery results.

    The only alternative is to use the power of populist government to put a stop to capital flight. If another American corporation makes plans to shut down another factory (note: often profitable, but just "not profitable enough" for the voracious investor class) and move it to Mexico, a real populist government would put a stop to it. If necessary, said assets would be confiscated on paper and redistributed as shares to the workers affected. A business is not the sole sandbox of the owner. The workers and community are involved to make it function ... and as well, the real basis of a American corporation is that it's chartered to operate by the State it's in. Hence, the People have their say. The question is, are they willing to reach out the populist hand and take rightful command of America's business assets (the common wealth) as the businessmen and assorted investors try to defect?
  • by gpoul ( 52544 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:39PM (#12903199)
    Not only that, but you're actually causing MAJOR disruptions in the current company if you let a large number of people go in certain locations.

    I mean the people that worked for a company previously surely didn't just come in to get a coffee each day and run around in the office to keep the others from working.

    The disruptions also happen in customer contact because the customers suddenly have to go and call someone in India instead of in Europe. - Which is usually not what customers want, but so what?

    I'm not sure this will work out for any of these companies, but I hope the disruptions won't be too big that they lose too many talented people, because that would really sad. But maybe they find a better job than they had at their old company and help build the next google. who knows what it's good for?

    You know... Change doesn't have to be bad... but that doesn't help if you were pink slipped.
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cicho ( 45472 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:42PM (#12903229) Homepage
    "Fact is companies are under enormous stress (from shareholders) to increase profits year by year."

    Well fuck shareholders. It's not their livelihood that's at stake. You know, if you're running a small shop and employ local workers, you'll at least have to look them in the face when you fire them. You will realize exactly how your business decisions impact the society you live in. Shareholders don't care, don't know and don't see the results of their wants. They share profits but they do not share responsibility. There's this huge disconnect between owners (shareholders) and their property. Shareholders don't give a fuck about any particular company, they just push money as it suits them. They do none of the work and have no involvement in the reality of the companies they own.

    Whoever came up with the idea of publicly-traded companies was seriously fucked up.

  • by tsotha ( 720379 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:43PM (#12903238)
    Corporations are now making record profits, and still seem to find it necessary to replace their workers with cheaper labor?

    Is that really true? Record profits?

    IBM may be profitable, but IBM is a multinational company that isn't based in Europe. Its officers aren't based in Europe. Why would you expect IBM would have more loyalty to European workers than Indian? And why would Europeans be entitled to those jobs when out-of-work Indians are willing to do the same work for less money?

    What exactly is the point of all this - we'll all be back to 6:00 AM to 9:00 PM hours, with no vacation, at half the wage so that the elite have growth of their profits.

    I think GM would be a great case study here. The workers managed to wrest lots of concessions from the company, but in doing so set it up for a huge fall when cheaper, higher quality cars showed up in North America. You and I can pass laws so we don't have to compete with Indian and Chinese labor, but IBM will always be competing with other multinationals. They have to contain costs, or they won't be able to compete. This year it might show up as profit, but next year it's the margin they have to lower prices to fend off NEC or Samsung.

    Capitalism works because people assume that they have a chance of advancing, that the lives of their children will be better. If globalization simply means a gross reduction of wages and transfer of assets to the wealthy, capitalism will lose popular support. How many former IBM employees are going to be praising outsourcing?

    Corporations work because they produce goods and services people are willing to buy. It really doesn't have much to do with how happy the employees are. And it may be that capitalism loses popular support in certain places, but so what? Countries that can't or won't compete will see stagnant growth and high unemployment while the capitalist countries will grow. Did we learn nothing from the travesty that was Communism?

    There isn't any reason Europeans can't compete with Indians, despite the wage differentials. European companies have a lot of advantages Indian companies don't have, like proximity to wealthy markets, a better educated workforce (not everybody in India went to IIT), and better infrastructure.

    I'd be willing to bet the Europeans could keep their generous vacations and wages, but it's so hard to fire people in Europe it doesn't make sense to hire people. I'll bet it's costing IBM a fortune to lay off 11,000 people. Companies expand and contract with normal business cycles, and forcing them to keep all their employees during contractions means they'll be really reluctant to hire people when times are good. Not only does that reduce the number of available jobs, but it puts companies at a competitive disadvantage.

  • by metlin ( 258108 ) * on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:48PM (#12903298) Journal
    Well, okay - I've a small startup which is trying to get into the Nordic region. I cannot speak for the whole of Europe, but I can speak for my experience in Scandinavia so far.

    But one thing I've noticed is that Scandinavians in general are averse to working long hours, or go that extra mile to make things happen. Even more importantly, they expect several paid days off and are lacking in a spirit of capitalism that I've noticed in the US.

    For instance, bang in the middle of last week, we were told that it is mid-summer, and the Swedes are off for a holiday in some island for the week. This is not the only instance, either - when there is an important or unexpected client call that comes in, folks are usually unwilling to work late or come in early, even for overtime, or be there.

    On the other hand, I've noticed the exact opposite in the US and India. Sure, folks do take their days off, but they are most certainly willing to sacrifice their holiday or their odd night's sleep.

    We are a startup, and we do not have enough resources for everything and everyone, so these things are a much bigger problem for us, than for most other bigger companies.

    The attitude in Europe that I've noticed in general is the fact that no matter what, they should somehow be given their holidays and they would take their days off, come what may - that's a hard thing to sustain in a corporate, capitalistic setting.

    When you find others who are willing to do the same thing cheaper, and willing to be flexible, you would quite obviously go with them. That is the problem.

    As an individual, I can completely understand that you might need a vacation, and it's a cultural factor, too. But folks in India (and the US) are a lot more ready to come work during holidays, or during emergency situations, than folks in Europe.

    I've noticed that there is a general lethargy, or laid-back attitude while doing business in Europe. As a capitalist and a PHB, as you put it, this does not go down all that well with folks.

    Jobs will come back to the US, because Americans will work hard, innovate and stay on top. If it's not the IT industry, it would be something else - and it's the American companies that are making the big bucks, too. However, I cannot say the same for Europe.

    The attitude in Europe is a little disturbing, and they seem to lack the spirit of willing to push themselves to the edge, of going that extra mile, to succeed. Unless that changes, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
  • by advocate_one ( 662832 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @02:52PM (#12903357)
    2) Move jobs overseas to exploit cheap 3rd-world labor

    it's not the cheap labour that matters... it's the fact that they have very poor health & safety laws and their environmental protection laws also lack teeth... this means that you can ruthlessly exploit the workforce by having them work in hazardous conditions whilst also leaving a stinking mess behind... when the mess gets to messy, just shift to somewhere else... look at the ship dismantling industry... it's all but vanished in western nations as the ship owners merely send the defunct ships to the beaches of India to be dismantled. They don't have to protect the workers or worry about disposing of any asbestos... cos the laws are non-existent for protecting the workers or the environment.

    Big corporations do not care about their workers or the countries they've abandoned... they blackmail western nations into providing massive subsidies in order to keep their plant there or build one there... I mean, look at the current stink over the tax kickbacks that Dell are getting for having a plant in Orlando...

  • Re:Ok (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xrobertcmx ( 802547 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:04PM (#12903494) Journal
    I hate to say this, but you are wrong. You see the problem with what you describe as capitalism is that by laying off the workers and seeking to only reward the investors you are eliminating the single largest market for products. If I have no job I can not buy goods and services. The companies that rely on the middle class to buy goods and services will in turn no longer need suppliers as they will be out of business. When those companies go so will the ones that feed them all the way back to the begining of the loop. So in seeking the highest return for their investors these companies need to start thinking of the most lucrative market they have right now. The one where they got their start. If we don't jobs here to buy anything with who is IBM going to sell ecommerce solutions or servers to? I won't be buying online, I won't have money, and neither will you. So keep laying off those workers, when we run out of jobs to retrain in guess what, you've all killed the host.
  • Re:Ok (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dslbrian ( 318993 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:30PM (#12903778)

    Companies are in business for one thing only: To yield the highest amount of profit to its investors. That is the _only_ thing companies do and should do. People who think companies have a moral duty to anything are misguided.

    Hardly. If that were the case, then slavery would be the ultimate corporate goal (although in some corps I imagine that might actually BE the goal).

    Companies don't exist in a vacuum and they don't exist independently either. Corporations depend on the infrastructure around them to survive. They need the government to build roads to and from their factories, they need electricity, water, and they need customers to buy their stuff. You don't get any of that in a society based on slavery (certainly not the latter).

    So, it is in the interest of the corporation to have a vibrant and healthy society in which to exist - a reason why the government does impose certain ethical/moral behaviors on corporations (they're not supposed to lie on their financial statements, they're not supposed to fabricate BS about the quality of their products, they can't shoot their underperforming workers, etc). Corporations are always trying to push the envelope, and outsourcing is one of the latest ways to do it.

    And if the road to the highest return on investor investment leads through paying management insane amounts, so be it.

    You would be a fool and a stupid investor to think so, although your not alone, the world is packed full of foolish stupid investors. How many millions did Carly screw HP out of - yeah good leadership job there...

    Personally I think if companies want to outsource the bulk of their employees, effectively becoming a foreign company, then they should be treated as a foreign company. No tax incentives or whatnot, they can import their products just like any other foreign company (and be subjected to whatever import tariffs apply). Go incorporate in India or China (oh, and don't forget to take the CEO on the way out)...

  • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:31PM (#12903796) Homepage Journal

    If you want justice, then stop paying starting engineers straight out of junior college three times the salary of teachers with thirty or more years of experience. Stop demanding it for yourself.

    Too bad if you try to do this in the United States without enough money for complete financial security and independance, one of the bigger guys will come and offer to buy out your company. If you refuse, your safe full of company secrets will myseriously disappear to a fire. If you persist in continuing to threaten the big guy's business, his thugs will come and offer to blow out your brains.

    What a shitty fantasy world you live in. Fortunately this does NOT happen in the United States. Sometimes there are legal pressures, but no ones brains have been blown out. Sleepycat Software is still in business despite the billions that Larry Ellison has in his wallet. My brother works for a startup company with fifty employees that directly competes with my company employing over 100,000. Yet no one there worries about their brains being blown out. That little lady with her boutique on the corner is still in business despite the billions in the Walmart coffers. And only a nutjob like yourself would tell Linus Torvalds to get more life insurance because someone from Redmond is coming to blow his brains out.

    Get a clue!
  • by homer_s ( 799572 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:31PM (#12903801)
    You're either not very competitive or not very successfull- regardless of your balance sheet. It could be you're in a low-competition industry that there aren't any major competitors for your business. It could be that you simply aren't taking enough market share YET to get noticed. Either way- it will happen eventually.

    Wow. That is amazing. Without knowing what business we are in, what our margins are, you can pass judgement that we are not successfull or competitive. Amazing!

    If you failed- do you really think your employees would have stayed employed? Heck, if you sold out rather than fail, do you really think your employees would stay employed?

    I do not understand this statement and what is has to do with my point. My point was that we (my partner and I) should make more money than my current employees, simply because we took the risk and we should be rewarded for that risk. Otherwise, why would we have bothered to start a business that provides employement to ~ 7 people?

    You employed people to have fun for you? On company time?
    Maybe I was not clear enough. I meant that while we started out (no employees), we put in 15-20 hours days. At that time, most of my current employees, were gainfully employed in other companies, got married, bought houses, etc.
    Now, you are telling me that I should share my company's profits equally with my employees? Then what is my reward for putting in the long hours?

    Conversely- say your employees make you a lot of money. Say one single employee was completely responsible for half your revenue- would it be fair to keep paying him the same as the rest are getting?

    Depends - if the fictional employee (who makes half the revenue of the company) is able to do it because of his unique talent, yes, he/she will get paid a lot. If the employee is able to make that money simply because of my organization (he goes to a client, says I'm from XYZ corp and the client gives the order because he is from XYZ corp), he will get paid the market salary. If he quits, I will just replace him.

  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Foobar of Borg ( 690622 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:31PM (#12903806)
    Whoever came up with the idea of publicly-traded companies was seriously fucked up.

    If I remember correctly, that would be the European monarchies. Corporations came into being for the purpose of colonizing (or eliminating) and exploiting "inferior" cultures. Merchantilism was one of the things the U.S. was fighting during the Revolutionary War, since the British Crown used the joint-stock companies to dump goods on the colonies, along with a bunch of other annoying nastiness.

    Basic capitalism is fine for the time being, but corporate capitalism is really just a throw-back to the time of kings and emporers.

  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cicho ( 45472 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:39PM (#12903888) Homepage
    "Shareholders are the owners of the company. Companies borrow money from Shareholders"

    Only at the IPO. After that, shareholders play among themselves and generate no investment, no value whatsoever. And as they sell and buy shares (influenced by media and analysts whoe serve their own interests), shareholders make and break companies in ways that are in no way related to the companies' actual viability, financial standing, product quality and so on.

    I have only one thing to say about shareholders: fuck them. If they want profits, they should try some real work - exactly what you're advocating for us lazy Europeans. This is what capitlaism is all about, no?

  • by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:42PM (#12903921)
    Ah yes, the race to the bottom... in a few years we'll hear about jobs moving from India to Ethiopia, because the Indians are too picky about things like "wanting food feed their children" and "reducing the work week to 80 hours" to be competitive in the global marketplace.

    Bullshit. In this dystopia you've described, who do you think these corporations are selling their products to? After all, everyone is out of work except for the Ethiopians, who don't make enough to buy the products.

    Hmmm, perhaps your argument is not logical?
  • by jaydonnell ( 648194 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @03:43PM (#12903932) Homepage
    Best workers in the world? Americans.
    Really? Is that why japanese cars have far fewer defects? Seriously, this type of attitude is counter productive. We americans aren't any smarter, better, or harder working than anyone else. Compare our high school students with those from most of the industrialized world and you'll realize that we aren't that bright in general. What we've benefited from is a great society that enables people, but there isn't any reason that other countries can't do the same and to make matters worse the Republicans are taking us in the opposite direction. We need to invest more money in education not less. Skilled jobs are going to India because they have a lot of highly educated people that will work for less than americans. There are a lot of countries with people that will work for less than Indians, but they aren't educated!
  • University Heights/Hillcrest is a nice area, but it is not luxurious by any stretch of the imagination. It's definitely middle/working class property.

    You still don't get it. If it costs that much to live there, it doesn't matter what your general evaluation of the area is -- it's by definition luxury. I don't care if the place has rats.

    San Diego property values are waaay overpriced for what you get.

    What you "get" is to live in one of the nicest areas in the world.

    You have *no* idea, you're fucking clueless. Call me spoiled? I've sacrificed a lot. I've paid my dues, and got basically nothing, so go to hell.

    Hey, welcome to life. Sometimes it sucks, and things don't pay off right away. But sheesh, take some responsibility for your own life.

    I shouldn't have to leave town when I'm an experienced professional who just wants to earn a decent living!

    You know, I think I should be able to live in Brentwood or Beverly Hills or Eastside Manhattan on $30K/year. Shouldn't I be able to live when I just want to earn a decent living?

    The answer, of course, is N-O. Don't cry to me that you can't afford to live there. Yes, the answer is MOVE. Previous generations have moved plenty of times, because they knew they weren't owed anything. Times change -- adapt or perish. Most areas of San Diego are freaking expensive.

    Move, get roommates, save your money. Maybe you can afford to move back someday.

  • by ghoul ( 157158 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @04:26PM (#12904301)
    Well the fact is you as an American consumer cannot afford to not talk to that person as noone in America is going to spend their time on you not at the cheap rate at which you are buying their product. So your choice cheap stuff or talk to foreigners. We all know the way that is going to go. Sure if everyone in America could afford to buy Luxury labels made in America it would be good but its not. So much of the American wealth is concentrated at the top that compared to the gdp most Americans are poor and can only lead a good life by buying foreign produced goods for cheap. The solution you ask? Its the same everytime in history- discontent, war and the poor rise up and kill the rich to get back the money. But for that to happen first the middle class needs to be elimnated which is what is hapening now. Count your blessings now that due to globalization and outsourcing you have at least one more generation of cheap consumption to enjoy before the next revolution occurs
  • by richieb ( 3277 ) <richieb&gmail,com> on Friday June 24, 2005 @04:29PM (#12904325) Homepage Journal
    The attitude in Europe that I've noticed in general is the fact that no matter what, they should somehow be given their holidays and they would take their days off, come what may - that's a hard thing to sustain in a corporate, capitalistic setting.

    I worked for a European company during the 90s and I spent a lot of time working in Paris and London. I haven't noticed anything like this. The company was a startup, and a typical day for everyone was from 08h00 until around 19h00. Nobody was slacking or demanding 5 weeks vacation.

    When you find others who are willing to do the same thing cheaper, and willing to be flexible, you would quite obviously go with them. That is the problem.

    You have to be careful what you mean by "the same thing". If it is sitting in the office for more hours, then sure.

    However, productivity of a programmer (or any "idea" worker) cannot be measured by the number of hours spent in the office.

    For example, whose more productive: programmer A, spends a week from morning to night writing 10,000 lines of code; whereas programmer B slacks on Monday, on Tuesdays realizes that the problem can be solved much nicer using code generation; on Wednesday he completes the generator in Python and is done with the 10,000 lines of code right then and there. Maybe "worked" for solid 8 hours.

    Which one would you like to work in your startup?

  • And *you* still don't get it - this isn't just about me, or where I live or what I do.

    Actually, it is -- all of your evidence is anecdotal. Because things suck for you, then it must suck for everyone. Well, got news for you -- it DOESN'T suck for everyone. In fact, it sucks a helleva lot less today than it did in previous generations. You just have this rosy colored view of 50 years ago that never existed. People considered television a luxury! People didn't buy books, they went to the library. And people saved for a damn long time to be able to afford a house. Vacations were driving to see Aunt Marge in Iowa.

    when in fact the economic environment has changed *radically*.

    Indeed. We have more mobility, more communication, more opportunity, more education, more nearly everything. Ironically, we also have far more whining. You're miserable because you have unrealistic expectations of things that are supposed to be handed to you.

    I have a friend. Dude is about 42-43, works as a parts export manager at Honda. Dunno what he makes, but probably, eh, $60-70K. He is a millionaire -- from nothing. How did he do it? HE SAVED. He lived very modestly. He invested it. He has a wife and kids, but he still lives relatively modestly. You would never suspect he has that much money.

    So did he steal the money? Did his ill-gotten gains come from the backs of the poor?

  • by SeattleGameboy ( 641456 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @05:04PM (#12904633) Journal
    I call BS. Vast majority of the CEO's in a public company have either one of these two things (or in most cases both). 1. A board made entirely of their friends and comrades who can be easily greased for any raises or bonuses you want. 2. A FAT contract that guarantees you will be able to make a SHIT load of money no matter how you perform. Even if you get fired. How could you lose with setup like that? Please, CEO's have it WAAAAYYY to good these days.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2005 @06:33PM (#12905320)

    > ...all of your evidence is anecdotal. Because things suck for you, then it must suck for everyone.

    No, it doesn't suck for everyone - it just sucks more than it used to for the average person.

    This [dallasnews.com] is not anecdotal.

    "Two-income families now commit about three-fourths of their incomes to fixed expenses compared with just over half in the early 1970s."

    > People considered television a luxury!

    In 1955, about 64% of households had one. A color set was about $800, which would be about $5500 today. That's about the price of a nice big plasma TV, and guess what? It's a luxury item. No suprise there. People bought what they could afford, just like today. If cheap TVs and cell phones were available then, they would have bought them.

    Yes, you can get ahead by living modestly, and kudos to those who do (I've been there). But the reality is that it's much harder for the average middle-class worker to save now than it used to be. Energy, housing, and health care have all gone up disproportionately. Disposable income is down and continuing to drop. We still have a high standard of living, but personal debt has had to skyrocket to maintain it. Why is that? We're working harder than ever before - is it "whining" to point out that we're getting the shaft?

  • by kisak ( 524062 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @06:33PM (#12905321) Homepage Journal
    Actually, European workers are the most productive in the world. Why should European workers put up with US workers that work long hours without producing?
  • "Two-income families now commit about three-fourths of their incomes to fixed expenses compared with just over half in the early 1970s."

    OK, now look at the average size of a house now, and in 1970. I don't feel like looking for the reference, but houses are much larger now than they were in the 1970s, and especially the 1950s. Why is that?

    Just because people spend more on "fixed" expenses doesn't mean that they *have* to spend more, and that's my point. People have unrealistic expectations about their lifestyle.

  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vsprintf ( 579676 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @09:51PM (#12906556)

    Those 16000 jobs still exist, they'll just be held by different people. Presumably those in India need to feed their families as much as those in the EU - seems morally neutral to me.

    The problem is that the 16000 workers (wherever) helped build the company to what it is. A "company" used to encompass the workers who built the company as well as the investors and executives. In this brave new world, it seems the "company" only includes the executives and investors, while the workers who built the business and were promised things like pensions for decades of work are now expendable widgets. The executives get bonuses. The current employees lose their pensions, jobs, and otherwise get screwed. Does it still seem "morally neutral"?

  • by Shajenko42 ( 627901 ) on Friday June 24, 2005 @09:53PM (#12906560)
    Here's the problem - I'm sure that every executive actually does see the problem, and knows that if every executive stopped offshoring, then we could avert this eventual crisis.

    Except those executives only work for one company, and if they refrain from offshoring while no one else does, their company dies even sooner.

    Similarly with the average person and Walmart, for instance. They may know that Walmart is killing their town. But if they alone refrain from shopping there, they only hurt themselves.

    It's a classic prisoner's dilemma instituted among many participants, with predictable results.
    I think I'm going to have some guilty pleasure when I see executive compensation finally fall victim to globalization.
    When that happens, watch them sudden realize the benefits of protectionism, as well as all the politicians they've bought.
  • by dedazo ( 737510 ) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @12:06AM (#12907209) Journal
    Hey, that's a great point. I'll use it the next time I see some slashbot trying to make a point about Microsoft being "evil".

    Maybe I'll even get modded up, like you.


  • by AxelBoldt ( 1490 ) on Saturday June 25, 2005 @02:19AM (#12907674) Homepage
    You do have to kind of wonder about the sanity of unionized grocery store workers commanding some of the best wages and benefits in many small towns. They are people with no actual skills and in free markets people are supposed to get paid based on what their worth. Grocery store workers are not worth a lot.

    Clearly unionized grocery store workers are worth more than non-unionized ones, since they are paid more. In a free market system, the "worth" of someone is exclusively determined by the wage they can command. Workers who unionize follow precisely the correct strategy in a free capitalist market system: maximize your return with all means available. In other words: Wal-Mart's strategy. Why do question these worker's sanity, but not Wal-Mart's?

    Workers banding together in unions to maximize returns is exactly equivalent to capitalists banding together in corporations to maximize returns.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI