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United States The Almighty Buck

U.S. Jobs Jumping Ship 1524

Posted by michael
from the leaden-parachute dept.
An anonymous reader writes "As painful as February's big job cuts were, they're even more painful since many of those jobs are never coming back as U.S. employers in a wide range of industries move more and more jobs overseas. CNN has the story." Salon has a good piece detailing how job requirements are changing, asking more and more for less and less pay.
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U.S. Jobs Jumping Ship

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  • We Do that (Score:3, Interesting)

    by n8 (32455) on Friday March 14, 2003 @03:56PM (#5513964)
    At our company we now have multiple college graduates working for under $10/hour. Of course we're in a small town. But yeesh!
    • Re:We Do that (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pmz (462998)
      At our company we now have multiple college graduates working for under $10/hour.

      At first, I thought, "what crap", but then I realized $9/hr. is about right for lots of jobs outside IT that don't require lots of critical thinking. Basically, $9/hr. is better than 'Cashier' but not as good as 'Technician II' in the grand scheme of things.

      Unfortunately, the last decade has seen our standards go way beyond $9/hr. being a livable wage. It seems the U.S. is in for an "attitude adjustment". This, in itself,
  • Estate of the Nation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) on Friday March 14, 2003 @03:57PM (#5513975) Homepage Journal
    With the news about India Institute of Technology (IIT) carried by Sixty Minutes, it is a bit ironic that Indias best and brightest, who leave India for better wages in the USA would may be competing with those back in India.

    Sure fire ways to make a living in the USA, providing the trend continues:

    Farm. People have to eat. If americans can't afford the food, someone else can, there's always a buyer, if you can afford to set the right price. (Sound unethical? You're probably not a republican then)

    Become an entertainer (something about americans dancing and singing on a stage works for extracting money from the pockets of everyone else in the world. As of yet americans still make what the world wants to buy in terms of image.)

    Own an overseas company, employing locals for a pittance, and selling goods and services to anyone, anywhere who can still afford them. China looks like a good place to sell, it's got one of the few growing economies.

    Go into politics. If americans can't afford your price for selling out your country, someone, somewhere will and hopefully you know how to keep your payments away from prying eyes, not that the public really cares anymore, but they might.

    Cynical? Why not. You can't expect the current administration or house to insist upon a tariff on imported services, can you?

    • by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:06PM (#5514069) Homepage
      You can't expect the current administration or house to insist upon a tariff on imported services, can you?
      Sure you can, but remember that the american companies like coke, pepsi, McDonalds, KFC, PnG, Nike , etc etc have huge markets outside US, especially in far east populous countries like india, china, japan, korea
      Now if govt. of these countries were to impose the same tariff that you speak of on imported american goods, .... Well you get the picture.
      face it, the world is shrinking day by day, and if affects everybody's life in some way or another
      America is a super-power in the world not because of its military , rather because of its economic dominance. But that economy can not be self contained, To be a world leader you have to play the same game on equal fields
      To stay competetive in world markets the american companies need to reduce costs at all options, and labor cost is a very convenient option.
      • by vsprintf (579676) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:34PM (#5514341)

        To stay competetive in world markets the american companies need to reduce costs at all options, and labor cost is a very convenient option.

        Oh, really? Then why is it that it's only the worker's jobs that get offshored? American companies could save many millions of dollars per year by offshoring management jobs, but that never happens.

        We have American companies claiming offshore workers are better and cheaper (which is one-half bullshit) except when it comes to management. Now isn't that remarkable? We have American CEOs getting obscene salaries and bonuses for putting American residents out of work.

        • by rppp01 (236599) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:12PM (#5514745) Homepage
          If I had mod points, you'd get them all. Well said.

          If companies like HP would simply hire management offshores, or even a low cost, intelligent CEO from another country, they could save millions a year.

          But somehow, that isn't happening, is it?

          I am for tariffs on good from other countries. Impose them left and right. As I recall, prior to income taxes being imposed (which was supposed to be a temporary thing, btw) we mainly relied on tarrifs. This brought the 'best and brightest' here, instead of now where we ship the best and brightest jobs to them.

          I do not see how creating a 'world economy' helps anyone but the rich. It deflates wages. Maybe I am missing the picture here. Maybe there is a grand schema that will allow balance across the globe. If that is the case, then this isn't capitolism, it is socialism, right? Get everyone on an equal ground? But I can't and don't see that. I only see that somehow jobs are harder to find, and those I do find pay a lot less. I am not speaking of .Com era wages, but prior to that- the early to mid 90s era.
          • by Tackhead (54550) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:36PM (#5515014)
            > I do not see how creating a 'world economy' helps anyone but the rich. It deflates wages. Maybe I am missing the picture here.

            I can think of one part of the picture you're missing: In the eyes of 5,000,000,000 people of the 6,000,000,000 on the planet, you are "the rich".

            > Maybe there is a grand schema that will allow balance across the globe.

            If by "balance", you mean "equally distribute all wealth among all 6,000,000,000 people", here's another part of the picture you're missing.

            If you want that kind of "balance", be prepared to give up air conditioning, your automobile, your paved roads, your heart surgeon, your chemotherapy, your MRI scans, your broadband and 56k modems for a 2400-9600 baud serial line, and a couple of hours a day of electricity.

            In short, be prepared to live a lifestyle below that of the poorest inner-city welfare mother. If that offends you as a racist stereotype, replace it with "the most inbred hillbillies in the Appalacians".

            I won't presume to speak for you, but as for me, I'm not prepared to do that. As a citizen of a Western nation in a capitalist economy, I was born into the top 15% of the planetary socioeconomic pyramid. I like it here. I'm staying here. And I'm willing to pay 20% of my earnings, every year, to the top 1% to keep it that way. (The top 1% currently takes about 40% of those earnings, but that's haggling over price, not a fundamental argument about the principle :)

            > I only see that somehow jobs are harder to find, and those I do find pay a lot less. I am not speaking of .Com era wages, but prior to that- the early to mid 90s era.

            The first part is called a "recession". They tend to be finite in length.

            The second part is called "deflation". It happens to CPU prices when better CPU designs reach the market, and/or when competing companies design a comparable CPU but charges less. It happens to wages when skills become obsolescent, and/or when competing workers offer the same work you do, for less price.

            If you're in the CPU business, you can either cut your price, or build a better CPU. If you're in the job market, you can either lower your salary expectations, or learn about a new technology.

            • by Rinikusu (28164) on Friday March 14, 2003 @11:16PM (#5517147)
              I was reading through a Java Developer's Journal that had a slight discussion about all these "brilliant" java programmers out of work due to the recession. They made an offhand remark about "Well, now that they have all this spare time, let's see what they come up with if they're really all that brilliant". I don't think I've seen much..

              Really, folks, this is really the break some people need. Remember when IBM laid off those thousands of engineers in the 80s? Those engineers couldn't find work, but had lots of ideas, and went and started their own small tech firms which fueled the Silicon Valley upswing. (No, not the .bomb people, but the real, honest to goodness engineers).

              Instead of blogging about not having a job, why not write something? Why not create something that you've always wanted to do but never had the time to do it (and now you're unemployed and you still don't have time?)? Don't just "learn" a new technology, CREATE the new technology. A recession/depression is simply an opportunity for many people and the seeds for success are being sown now.
      • America is a super-power in the world not because of its military , rather because of its economic dominance.

        Try telling that to Iraq....

        Economy without military doesn't make a superpower any more then military without economy does. You gotta have both to be dominant.
    • Actually, I find that it is myopic Democratic idealism that forces businesses out. If we are so arrogant that we believe we deserve so many costly benefits and salaries that only labor unions can inflate so much, then what else will companies do? They can't afford to do business here, because it's to expensive!

      Businesses would love to stay here, but they have no choice. And farmers right now are sadly getting squeezed out of our heritage because of large-scale corporate factory farmers. As a Republican

      • by Anonymous Coward
        You know, you're very right--your post is very insightful and makes me realize some things I hadn't.

        I consider myself a political independent, but I lean very heavily toward the Democratic side.

        Nevertheless, I really respect libertarian Republicanism. Your comments make me realize that as much as I hate the current administration, the saddest thing may ultimately be the fact that there is a wonderful tradition in the Republican party that's being shafted by corporatist-religious ideologues.

        The thing that
        • The thing that's most upsetting to me about the current climate is that there's no dialogue about issues, just pandering of propaganda. For example, I really am a huge supporter of public education, from the k-12 to university levels, and like to see lots of funding go into it. But I also completely resonate with arguments that teacher unions (and unions in general) hamper progress and competition. I think there's something to be said about cutting taxes and curbing unneccesary spending, but I do think you

      • by lysium (644252) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:00PM (#5514599)
        In the socio- and anthropological fields it is pretty much accepted that the United States is a Third World country that basically won the lottery. I won't provide statistics, but check out (a) Literacy rates (b) Infant mortality (c) Homicide rates (d) % of population below the poverty line, and (e) the gap between the rich and poor. A large middle class running in hamster wheels does not a First World country make. Also: Labor unions are a reaction against the insane exploitation of the 19th century. If the need wasn't there, they would not have been formed, 'cause Americans hate that shit. And in pure opinion, I believe it has less to do with Democratic myopism and more to do with some extremely rich people pulling the ladder up after themselves. Figuratively speaking.
    • Becoming an entertainer is not and has never been a surefire way of making a living. Perhaps you meant 'go into advertising.'
    • Where do you think your fruit comes from? Chile most likely. US farmers are stuck on the crops they know they can get heavy subsidies for, not the ones that are actually in demand.

      Farming has been listed as the most undesirable job in the US for a decade. Don't think your food must be grown locally.

    • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportlandNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:32PM (#5514319) Homepage Journal
      Become a plumber. lets see them outsource that.
  • by ChaoticChaos (603248) <l3sr-v4cf@[ ]mex.com ['spa' in gap]> on Friday March 14, 2003 @03:57PM (#5513976)
    I have no doubt that some have gone overseas, but without a doubt, the worst problem is the economy. No company is going to hire anyone until this mess with Iraq starts to straigten out. Once that happens though, look for mega job listings to start appearing. There has to be a lot of pent up demand out there considering that everyone has been stalled for a couple of years now.
    • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:06PM (#5514064) Homepage Journal
      No company is going to hire anyone until this mess with Iraq starts to straigten out. Once that happens though, look for mega job listings to start appearing.

      It's my firm belief that we are about to invade Iraq because the current batch in W. DC can't figure out how to improve the economy. (Hint: Economies flourish in a stable and peaceful world)

      There has to be a lot of pent up demand out there considering that everyone has been stalled for a couple of years now.

      No. If there's no demand, there's no demand. Interest rates are at incredibly low levels. Go an idea and can convince a bank to fund it? Go into business, best time ever for loans, no competition for the money. Why? People afraid nothing will succeed and they won't be able to pay back the loan.

      I'm quite positive the image projected by the president has 90% to do with the health of the economy, and Bush projects fear and loathing. Clinton (what ever his other warts) projected a positive, inclusive image. It took a while, but economy grew. It started to shrink when it sunk in that the ride was almost over.

      If we're saddle with Mr. 'Axis of Evil' for another 4 years, after 2004, we might as well open trade schools for ditch diggers.

      • by JWW (79176) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:51PM (#5514511)
        Oh if only the president had a more POSITIVE attitude, then every thing would be better. What a load of crap!!

        True the uncertainty over Iraq is stalling economic recovery, but the flip side to this is that the bust is so bad precisely because the boom was waaaaayy too big. Nasdaq worth 5400?

        No, the Nasdaq was never really worth 5400, people just kept throwing money at the market, inflating it to unsustainable highs. One of the big problems we're facing now is people are complaining about when the Nasdaq will get back that high, when in reality it never should have been even clost to that high in the first place.

        In reality the "irrational exuberance" of the late 90's, whether or not attributed to Clinton, is the reason the downturn is what it is and why it is so hard to get out of. In reality the President at the time has very little to do with economy in many circumstances. The .com boom wasn't Clintons charisma, it was collective investors' flight of fantasy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @03:58PM (#5513993)
    Humanity is so ridiculous in its endless tendency to linearly extend every trend into the infinite future. As a "Daily Show" the other night humored: If an infant keeps its rate of growth for several decades, soon it will be the size of giant office buildings and killing us all! Of course we know that isn't the case, just as we know that the economy shifts and sways, and companies try endless tactics to seem to be doing something. In 3 years this will all seem idiotic, but that won't stop the idiots from doing the same thing during the next cyclic downswing.

  • Sad Sad day (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 4doorGL (591467) on Friday March 14, 2003 @03:59PM (#5513994) Homepage
    Yup, it's a sad sad day when college graduates in America are losing jobs to those overseas (particularly India). I was doing Tech Support for Dell for awhile (I know, I know....it paid) and during that time they started outsourcing most of their tech support and customer service to call centers in India. I can't even count how many customers I talked to that were hung up on, or couldn't understand the person, etc etc etc. It might have saved them a few bucks, but it goes to show these companies don't really care about their customers.
    • Re:Sad Sad day (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SuperMario666 (588666)
      but it goes to show these companies don't really care about their customers

      Companies exist to make profit, not to please customers. If pleasing customers is the surest route to profit, then that is the direction that they will head. If say, customers would prefer something cheap over something with good service, then companies will ditch service in favor of cutting costs. Its not sad, its just an economic reality.
    • by hirschma (187820) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:18PM (#5514186)
      I had a real problem with a Dell box I got a few months ago - the sound card just didn't work under Win2k (it only supported WinXP drivers... whole 'nother story).

      Trying to make anyone on their phone or email support understand was equivalent to banging my head against the wall, at least when they had a foreign accent. It went like this:

      ME: " I have this problem"
      DELL: "Here's a suggestion that is irrelevant to your problem" - something along the lines of, put in your System Recover disk.
      ME: "No, you don't understand...blah blah blah"
      DELL: "Here's the same suggestion, verbatim, that is still irrelevant to your problem"
      ME: "You're not listening!"
      DELL: *Repeats same scripted response again*

      Finally, after doing this about 6 times, they finally broke down and handed me to an American supervisor. Once they did:

      ME: "I have a problem..."
      DELL: " OK, we have this solution, OK?"

      And with that, a new Linux/Win2k compatible sound card was sent out. What should have taken 10 minutes instead ate up a full day. I guess a full day of 800 phone charges is cheaper than 10 minutes of American salary.

      The lesson I learned: it may be cheaper to buy a Dell than building it yourself, but it is just not worth the aggro. Which means that I'd buy or recommend Dell if the support were actually an added value, and probably pay more than they're charging now.

      Yeah, I'd say that this free trade thing ain't working out.
      • I think Dell support is just awful all-around. My last run-in with their tech support required talking to 12 different people and almost 20 phone calls. More than half sounded like American english speakers, and some of the helpful ones did not. I don't think the outsourcing is hurting them-- I think a lack of commitment to quality, training, and infrastructure is hurting them.

        These things jumped out at me:

        1. Their order tracking system is so unreliable that they are willing to assume (with no data in
      • by dbrutus (71639) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:44PM (#5514441) Homepage
        This should have been your response after the 2nd round
        "Please pass me through to your supervisor. Whover is writing your support script has made an error"

        1st level techs are highly scripted and you need to know how to break out quickly when the problem is something that isn't going to be in their scripts.

  • by pjp6259 (142654) on Friday March 14, 2003 @03:59PM (#5513996) Homepage
    Other than the U.S. most other first world countries have had terrible economnic conditions in the recent past (Japan, most of Europe). Often times this is attributed to their more socialist government. I wonder if their closer proximity to cheap labor has been a larger factor, and if this is true, if this predicts the future of the U.S. economy as physical distances become less important.
  • Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by craenor (623901) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:01PM (#5514012) Homepage
    I work in the tech industry, and while my company has shipped a lot of jobs overseas. They've used that as a chance to make more promotions and career possibilities for those of us here in the U.S.

    The creation of "expert centers" that handle the more complicated issues has made opportunities for most of us.

    Craenor
  • by GreyWolf3000 (468618) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:01PM (#5514013) Journal
    Perhaps there is a tradeoff to unionized auto workers getting paid 20$ an hour for working basic assembly lines? Or mandatory health benefits for full time workers? Or phony lawsuits? Or any number of social policies that cost businesses tons of money.

    Not that veering to the "right" too much doesn't cause catastrophe with monopolies and such, but we really have made doing business in this country incredibly difficult (especially small businesses). Haven't we asked for this?

    There was a senator or rep who was a staunch Democrat who, when he retired, tried to start a small business (a hotel I think). His business floundered because of many of the extremely harsh policies that he himself had pushed. Also, former NYC mayor Ed Koch (of People's Court fame) began his term quite social minded, but he lamented that his ideas for transportation of homeless actually costed more than just paying for cab rides for every homeless person (there's more to it than this, my memory is just a bit shaky).

    Basically, I feel the pendulum has swung too far to the right perhaps, and overseas business has gotten too attractive, since we've essentially pushed these businesses into a corner with our well-intentioned programs.

    • Trend (Score:5, Informative)

      by truthsearch (249536) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:24PM (#5514244) Homepage Journal
      I agree. I just want to add that the trend's been here for a while, it's just now hitting a larger mass of people and multiple industries. Manufacturing (textiles) has been moving overseas for over a decade. NAFTA helped speed this up with Mexico. Now that mass amounts of our industrial work is done overseas it's moving into more diverse fields, like telephone support and software development. The more expensive we make it to do business here, and the more we lock employers into taking care of employees for their lifetime (unions), the more companies will look overseas.
    • by necrognome (236545) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:48PM (#5514481) Homepage
      Perhaps there is a tradeoff to CEOs making $100+ million for doing nothing more than hemorrhaging parts of a company? Or tax breaks for businesses that reincorporate in Bermuda? Or lawsuits as a business strategy? Or any number of (paid for) laws that cost the citizens of this country tons of lost quality-of-life?

      Sooner or later the trend in outsourcing is going to bite us in the ass, and not in the way that most expect (i.e. improved foreign competition). The United States is a consumer society. The economy cannot survive without that day-to-day addiction we call shopping. You should thank those $20/hour auto workers for going out to the mall and buying televisions, DVD players, computers, and so on (instead of throwing the cash in a Swiss bank account), b/c such behavior makes the things we love inexpensive for everyone. Not to mention the fact that a job in the mall or the local coffee shop is a better evening diversion for a teenager than drugs, gang participation, or other forms of self-destruction. Lower those wages to "reasonable" levels and enjoy the fallout as nobody has any money to purchase anything, save payment of rent/mortgage and other debts.

      There seem to be two possible futures for the United States. The first is a somewhat mid-20th century model, where the country is predominantly middle class, and the nation as a whole is stronger for it (and no, trolls, mid-20th century racism and sexism ARE NOT essential components of a middle-class model). The second is a model where a sizable but still small number of elites controls the wealth of the country, and the lower class has no voice. This model is currently in operation in many third-world countries. Only one of these models represents a peaceful, liveable future. If you like the second model, enjoy the dirty bombs and mirrorshades.
    • Just remember that all this bad stuff happening to you is not by design, and that rich people aren't trying to force you to work in the same conditions that your parents and grandparents fought so hard to get out of. Remember that the free market is a magical place, and that if a bunch of people starve and die, that it's ok. Also remember, that since this is all happening magically, without any help from politicians and businessmen, that addressing your government to fix these issues won't help. Sure, ri
  • Not just the US. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:02PM (#5514030) Journal
    The same thing is happening in Canada, Britain, France, Germany, and every other industrialized nation.

    It's an ebb and flow. There will always be work to do, but kiss your dream job of designing websites for 6 figures per year goodbye - because it was never worth that much.
  • by HealYourChurchWebSit (615198) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:03PM (#5514037) Homepage


    The CNN article makes an intersting point good point
    In the 1990s, it seemed all one had to do to buy a ticket to Easy Street was learn a programming language or how to manage corporate computer networks.

    Okay, so I've learned a dozen ways to shoot my foot clean off [healyourch...ebsite.com] -- and now this article asserts that my skills are just as easily found abroad as here locally.

    But is that really what is happening. When I read the above quote, I wonder, how many QUALITY programmers are losing their jobs to concerns overseas?

    Similarly, if this is the case, okay, so now what? The computers didn't disappear, nor is the need for software going to go away.

    Do we work for less? Do we (dare I say it) unionize? Pass laws? Comments, please.

  • Protectionism (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sgs-Cruz (526085) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:03PM (#5514042) Homepage Journal
    Sorry guys, but this is what you get. That's how capitalism works. When it's cheaper to have guys in a cheaper area doing the work (i.e. PROGRAMMERS IN INDIA), then the jobs will move there.

    IMO, it's somewhat hypocritical to defend the U.S. as the great bastion of free-market capitalism, and then get extremely protectionistic when the jobs move somewhere cheaper.

    That's the problem with a global economy --- it's global. If the standard of living in the U.S. can't be sustained because people elsewhere are willing to work for cheaper, then the standard of living will have to adjust. Of course, you know as well as I do that there's no way any politician will ever let the standard of living ever decrease, so we have protectionistic measures like repeatedly trying to save the steel industry, when market logic dictates that it should be mostly moving to Korea.

    To end this comment on a bright note (hey, it's Friday, let's be optimistic about the future.), this could all be obviated by the march of technology. I'm betting on life being good once nanotechnology comes of age. Yeah, it's a while off, but then, today seemed a while off to the people of 1903.

    • The galling part for those who lack business and managerial skills, is that the jobs that remain will be for those who have the business and managerial skills to coordinate the work of offshore contractors with the needs of their customers in the US. That means moderately technically skilled people with good business/managerial training and generally good people (not necessarily sales- type) skills will have more opportunities than someone with strong technical skills and mediocre people/business skills.

      Of

    • Re:Protectionism (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Taldo (583925) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:38PM (#5514382)
      I'm getting a little tired of the attiude I see from so many that we should either 'just suck it up and deal with it' or 'move.'

      Tell you what.... when it's as easy for me to go to another country and work as it is for foreigners to come HERE and work for peanuts.... then maybe I'll think about not complaining about it.

      As it is, I'm competing with foreign workers, college educated (at no cost to themselves generally, or they're from one of the few wealthy families in their home region,) who are willing to do the same job for less money because they don't care about having an american standard of living even tho they're living in america, and they aren't as deep in debt as I am from student loans.

      Know what? I'd love to spend a few years working in another country. Australia? Yeah.... I can work for three months at a time. Most of Europe? I have to either be independantly wealthy... (be able to prove I can support myself for a given number of months) or have a business to start up. (No.... websites don't count.)

      People are bitching about 'protectionism' a lot on this thread... but none of them ever seem to mention the protectionist policies of OTHER COUNTRIES.

      When I actually CAN 'follow the jobs' the way people from other countries can, we can talk.

  • Supply and demand (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilpenguin (18720) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:05PM (#5514056)
    This is hardly a revelation. When the supply of some good (labor) exceeds demand (jobs), the price of the good (labor) falls. Big shock. Having been a programmer in the 1980s, I well remember when you were lucky to get $25,000 for a programming job. When the number of jobs increases (when we stop insisting the world admire our mighty power and get back to real work), labor prices will rise again.
  • IT Exodus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rwiedower (572254) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:08PM (#5514092) Homepage
    In one call center in Pampanga province, 850 Filipinos answer customer service calls for Internet service provider America Online, a member of the AOL Time Warner family.

    As a small business [peyser.com] systems administrator/web designer, I'm not sure that it's appropriate to claim that the IT industry will be leading the exodus overseas. Sure, call center workers, perhaps. But most of the people I know who consider themselves IT industry workers aren't working in call centers. With the plummeting rolls of visa applicants because of increased INS restrictions, "outsourcing" IT jobs to overseas has to focus on button pushing jobs (like first level support) or large-scale coding projects. I just don't see your average systems administrator being terribly worried about the market right now, despite the downturn. Maybe it's that my company works in DC with the federal government, but so far all the downsizing has done has been to trim the deadwood from shops that employed people who weren't very IT oriented to begin with. How many people listened to those radio ads and thought "I could be M$ Certified and make thousands more a year even though I know nothing about computers!" These people are the ones losing their jobs.

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

      by paitre (32242)
      I -have- to second this.

      Most of the tech jobs that I've seen heade overseas have been low-level programming/dev work and call center/tech support work.

      I -DON'T- see systems administration moving overseas. I -DON'T- see hands on, on-site technical support moving overseas. I DON'T see (much) hosting and hosting services moving overseas. India, China, Indonesia, et al -still- do not have the infrastructure to do large scale hosting (ok, China probably does, but most non-Chinese folks aren't going to be ab
  • by SuperMario666 (588666) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:10PM (#5514106)
    What's more, some IT professionals and immigrant groups complain that U.S. employers manipulate the H-1B visa system, which allows college-educated people from overseas to work in the United States for up to six years. They're supposed to be paid a "prevailing wage," but many employers pay them as little as possible. With such cheap labor available right here in the United States, there's even less reason for IT wages to rise.

    Well, at least the H1-B's that are in this nation are consuming goods and services that are much likelier to be provided by American citizens than if they were coding in their home countries. If there were no or fewer H1-B's around to lower the cost of software production then there would be even more of an incentive to outsource overseas.
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:11PM (#5514124) Homepage Journal
    Don't mean to sound like a troll, but show some initiative.
    Personally, I've always been a contractor, for over 8 years now and sure, the money isn't as good as it was 2-3 years ago, but I still make plenty and have constant work.

    Plus, there are perks:
    I get equity shares, not options.
    I work from home so I don't have to commute.

    But there are down sides:
    Pay for my own medical
    Pay a higher tax rate
    Pay for subcontractors
    Pay Pay Pay ...so the trick is to charge high enough to offset what you pay.

    Personally, I think there are many talented people on Slashdot who do server/network administration, web design/development and many other tech skills, and if they find it's hard finding a Fulltime position might stand to benefit from consulting rather than job hunting.
  • Recessions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Galvatron (115029) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:12PM (#5514135)
    Jesus, you'd think people had never lived through a recession before. This shit happens. This recession is no more likely to be eternal than the Dot Com boom was. Of course salaries are falling from their formerly inflated rate. Then, once they've fallen sufficiently, companies will start moving jobs back to the US, and salaries will rise again.

    Christ, if you think this is bad, thank God that we weren't alive during the Great Depression. That didn't sink us, and this won't either. Also, for those who argue that this time it's different because of globalization: the world was more globalized in 1910 than it is now, because of European colonialism.

    • Re:Recessions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Billly Gates (198444) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:24PM (#5514250) Journal
      Actually the economy is very close to the late 1930's towards the end of the depression. The stock market has been down 3 years in a row and has not recovered. This only happened once during the 1930's in American history. Unemployement is rising near %10 and is alot higher for IT workers.

      The situation I think is worse then anyone relizes. I am willing to code c++, java, or do webpage design for 8/hr with no medical benefits. I am that desperate yet, still viewed as overvalued. I have a friend who use to make $70k a year who now makes 12k designing webpages and is about to lose his job to an Indian outsourcing firm for less! ITs silly.

      An Indian can work half that wage and miminal wage laws prohibit making under 6.50/hr. Indians have free health care and a very low cost of living so they can work cheaper then Americans can.

      I am not an ego maniac and would love to work for under 20k ayear. The fact is even people with many years of experience also are willing to work for about that price while CIO's are getting woodies. Its very sad.

      But you know what really gets me? Microsoft and Sun are lobbing for more h1b1 visa's and are outsourcing to India and Singapore at the same time. Go read any of the jobs being offered at Microsoft's website. Most of them are at Microsoft India.

      May American IT work r.i.p.

  • by TheWickedKingJeremy (578077) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:12PM (#5514136) Homepage
    ... the Japanese already took all of our jobs in the 80s!

    Oh, wait...
  • by gupg (58086) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:15PM (#5514155) Homepage
    I asked a reasonably senior guy at Intel if they were hiring. His reply: "Sure we are hiring ... in China and India."
  • by MyNameIsFred (543994) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:15PM (#5514162)
    I'm old enough to remember the 70s. The decade of stagflation, high unemployment, the death of smokestack industries, etc. In many ways, the comments of today, mirror those of that decade. Concerns about jobs moving to other countries. Whether the youth of today will ever have jobs. Clearly the fears of the 70s were overblown. The U.S. experienced great prosperity thru the 80s and 90s.

    Is today just a dip that will go away? I think so.

    • No, you are wrong. Everything is awful, and it will only get worse. There will be no improvement, ever. Oh, and "technology" was just a passing fad, it's over now.
    • by hirschma (187820) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:30PM (#5514302)
      Let's see...

      In the early 70's, you could:

      Buy an average car for 1/4 to 1/3 of a yearly average household income.

      Buy a house for 2x-5x of a yearly average household income.

      Today, its more like:

      Buy an average car for 1/2 or more of a yearly average household income.

      Houses start at 5x yearly average household income.

      But here's the kicker: in the early 70's, there was almost always ONE breadwinner making up the average household income. Now, its almost always TWO.

      When I was a kid living in Brooklyn, taxi drivers routinely owned homes and cars, and mom didn't work. Today, Mom and Dad work in some service drone job, and can't make ends meet. And that was true 10 and 20 years ago.

      Things have gotten a lot worse.
      • Where do you live? (Score:5, Informative)

        by raygundan (16760) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:10PM (#5514726) Homepage
        Dude, you need to move out of brooklyn. Or the valley. Or wherever it is you're living that costs are that high. And stop looking at BMWs.

        A nice, new Honda Accord is less than 1/4 the national average household income. A house in a less inflated real-estate market should work well for you also. $120K for 4 bedrooms here in Indiana, and interest rates are rock-bottom.

        For the record, the average household income in 2002 for the whole US was $58K [washpost.com]. Your numbers for the value of stuff in the 70s are still true today. 1/3 of $58K is a little over $19K. Plenty for a new car. Houses start at only a little more than 1x that here! Lots of small houses in the $85-$90K range. Huge houses (by valley/nyc standards) are available for $150K.

      • A new house of today tends to be much larger and more featured than house of yesteryear. For example, the great housing story of the 50s was Levittown. Its where the great suburban fantasy started. A typical new home in Levittown was something like 700 square feet. Typical new homes of today are two and three times as large. They tend to have washers and dryers standard, and other features that were unheard of in Levittown. Similar statements can be made about cars. I've owned cars from the 60s and 7
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:15PM (#5514163)
    Hey, aren't we being selfish?

    Think of the people in India that just had their standard of living raised. Who is to say that their living standard is less important than your living standard?

    We complain and complain about the Recording Industry backing up a "inferior business model".

    So are we! Its time we found something else that we can do better/different.
  • by 00_NOP (559413) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:17PM (#5514180) Homepage
    It makes me laugh how the Americans - the inhabitants of a state founded on the revolutionary concept of liberty - are so phased by the idea of free trade and are always quick to see a conspiracy when lower skilled jobs (yes, folks, that's what they are) go abroad.

    Having spent days hacking around with some perl code that my (non-IT literate) colleagues think is just magic, I know that this sort of thing is really not very high skill at all and so of course graduates in Bangalore could do it for less money.

    In the mean time we ought to use our greater capital stock and education systems to learn even higher skills and stay ahead in the game.
    • by hirschma (187820)
      Sorry, but there is no free trade going on here.

      We're dealing with countries that have no regulations about the health and well being of employees.

      We're dealing with countries that have no regulations about the environment.

      We're dealing with countries where the economies are still centrally planned enough such that the cost of labor doesn't rise with demand.

      When there is truly a level playing field, sign me up. But stop tooting about how the siphoning off of jobs is somehow related to the holy grail of
  • by CommieLib (468883) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:17PM (#5514182) Homepage
    All of this reminds me of Schumpeter's famous phrase "creative destruction". What has happened is that there was an enormous swell in the demand curve for IT workers in the late nineties with the tech boom. This drove wages up, as the supply curve lagged. As new people entered the field, the supply curve slid out to accomodate demand.

    Here's where it always sucks for those workers. The demand curve contracted sharply after the tech bubble burst, so the wages dropped correspondingly. This of course is what every sector (except for the government sector, unfortunately) faces from time to time. A micro-example is the set of jobs created for building a house. Suddenly the house is finished and demand falls to zero.

    So what's the long term prognosis? Unless some new wave emerges that causes another correspondingly large shift in demand for tech workers, wages will be where they are, and probably fall further with international competition.

    The bright side of all of this, and it's hard for us tech workers to see, is that everyone else gets cheap software and information services. This is the way the system works. The alternative is to chase demand curve shifts and change careers every ten years or so, which is probably not such a bad idea from a spiritual point of view anyhow.
  • by Ars-Fartsica (166957) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:19PM (#5514202)
    All industries must face the realities of commoditization of technologies and dispersal of knowledge. Manufacturing, textiles, etc dealt with this a generation ago. Semiconductors dealt with this a decade ago. All of these saw production move to cheaper regions.

    The real issue is what will replace these jobs. So far forecasters are looking at advanced services such as finance, healthcare, and design/r&d to shore up the expensive US labor market. Maybe...how many biotech researchers do you know? As for software, its a done deal. You can get minimally adequate functionlality from overseas code and thats all anyone cares about as long as it is cheap.

  • by SuperMario666 (588666) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:19PM (#5514204)
    Would learning Hindi while I have some spare time be a worthwhile venture or since most foreign IT workers have at least a basic understanding of English, would I be wasting my time?
  • i got canned. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cfscript (654864) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:20PM (#5514208)
    a little over a year ago, i was working for a multi-million (post .com bust) content supplier. the salary was a pittance, but it sure beat living on the streets. about a year after i had started, i was abruptly fired for 'fundamental development issues' and replaced with 2 visa'd indian programmers who i imagine are making a great deal less than i did. really, i have no problem with foreign labor (especially when the laborers are brought into this country and spend the mony here), but the ironic twist was my 'development issues' was trying to steer the company to OSS, the same company who a month beforehand paid for my rhce class/test. so beware, linux advocates, indians will quickly come and take your job.
  • by asv108 (141455) <[gro.oiduatahp] [ta] [xela]> on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:22PM (#5514229) Homepage Journal
    Looking at the posting on Fuckthatjob.com , almost all of the jobs listed are web design related jobs. Now, I'm not saying that the job market is good, it is real bad, but have you ever posted an ad for a web design job? Hundred of resumes will pour in from people who are "frontpage experts" and and are proficient "JavaScript Programmers." So maybe a lot of these companies are posting ridiculous job requirements because of the amount of unqualified canidates sending in resumes.

    The fact is, a smart employer is going to try and get the best people for their money. Because of the sorry state of the economy, you can hire web designers for $30K/year. As to those who actually like the idea unionizing IT, I can't think of a worse solution. Unions were once a necessary evil when work conditions were deadly, people were being exploited, and children were forced to work. Today, Unions exist in sectors where it easy to Unionize or the product or service is crucial to the economy, dock workers for example. Unions don't allow promotion based upon performance, instead factors such as years in the union and degree level decide promoteability and pay-rate. You could be the shittiest teacher in a PA school but if you have your masters, you will receive X amount of money simple because of your degree. There are countless other examples detailing the evils of unions, not that all unions are evil. Without unions, workers would not have the protections that exist today, but the Union model is outdated for the 21 century. Ever try getting a booth setup at the Javitz center?

  • by Slartibartfast (3395) <ken@j[ ].org ['ots' in gap]> on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:25PM (#5514259) Homepage Journal
    Don't get me wrong: all too many of my friends are laid off -- including two who got the hatchet this very morning. Nevertheless, from a long-term global perspective, I can't see poor countries exploiting their most valuable (and renewable!) asset -- their brains -- to get a leg up as being a bad thing. Eventually the US economy will come around again; maybe this year, maybe next, and when it does, wouldn't it be nice to have trade partners that weren't always broadening the trade defecit?

    $.02
  • by puppetman (131489) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:26PM (#5514262) Homepage
    We have a team in India doing basic database monitoring and support (mostly to back me up, as I'm a finite resource).

    They are cheap - about $1000 US a month for their services.

    From their resumes and other clients, you would think that they are well trained and efficient.

    Unfort, I don't find their work that valuable.

    First, while their English is good, it's not good enough. The communication barrier has caused several problems, resulting in database downtime that need not have occurred.

    Second, while they advertise themselves as DBAs, there is only one that I marginally trust. We have had to create detailed instructions for doing simple things. They take days to do what I can do in hours, and often fail at what I consider simple, bread-and-butter DBA tasks.

    Third, we don't have much of a stick over their head. Should they walk off with our data, our schema, our code, or just trash our site, there is little if anything we could actually do.

    An article (recently posted on Slashdot) mentioned that the larger the company, the more likely they were to move IT jobs overseas. In the long run, this is a counter-productive move. Firing a bunch of people will lower the demand for your goods and services; the unemployed don't have the money to spend. And you create a group of seriously pissed off people with time on their hands.

    The Salon [salon.com] story mentioned a website called a site [fuckthatjob.com] where people post these ridiculous jobs. Perhaps someone will come with a site that will list companies that have fired local workers to ship the jobs overseas.

    The whole thing makes me wonder if it's time to start thinking about a new career. It's kind of scarey to wonder if tech jobs will become as scarce as those well paying manufacturing jobs of the 50's and 60's (you know, the ones that are now in China, Taiwan, and Mexico).
    • Amen

      Having rewritten 90% of the code we got back - after painfully detailed specs were prepared - I don't see any benefit in this offshore work. We have the same problems you are experiencing.
      Bad communication.
      Hopelessly inflated skill levels.
      No real accountability.

      Yet, and this is the kicker, management will continue to think this is worth it because these guys charge $6/h and I charge $60/h. No amount of common sense or proof of past screw-ups can convince them that the guy with the cheapest r
  • by peacefinder (469349) <alan DOT dewitt AT gmail DOT com> on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:27PM (#5514276) Journal
    The US military has called up some 150,000 reservists in the last several months. Presumably most of these people had civilian jobs before being called up, and most of their employers would need to fill their shoes with temporary workers. I'm just guessing, but I'd think that every ten reservists pulled out of the economy would open up at least five temporary jobs.

    These overall job losses are happening despite a probable 75,000 job openings. Eeek.
  • Unions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bull999999 (652264) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:30PM (#5514310) Journal
    Perhaps they are sending jobs overseas because they won't have to deal with unions. Remember not too long ago, the dock workers went on strike (at the cost of US economy) despite the fact that they were already highest paid blue collar works and management promised job security. How about the mechanics of United Airlines? UA was facing bankruptcy and they still refused a paycut. RTD (Mass transit system for Denver metro area) bus drivers are threatening to go on a strike lately. RTD already were being subsidized by the cities even when the economy was good because they weren't making any money. Now dispite the fact that the cities are hurting for money and jobs are scarce, they want a raise?
  • by tokki (604363) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:31PM (#5514314)
    Let's face it. Times are tough. Budgets and earnings aren't what it used to be. We need to find ways to save money and tigthen our belts.

    In short, we've got to outsource upper management to off-shore countries.

    There are plenty of well trained and highly educated people in foreign countries that can do excellent upper-management work: CEOs, CFOs, vice presidents... and they'll do them for pennies on the dollar of the exhorbatent prices we pay for CEOs now. 40 million dollar golden parachute? No more!
  • I don't buy this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:38PM (#5514378) Homepage
    While many jobs are being shipped offshore, consider the following points:
    • The quality of the work being done by Indian (or whatever) programmers (or whatever) varies wildly. Some of it is good, a lot if it is not.
    • In my experience, companies like Amex who outsourced their entire IT needs to IBM India (yes, IBM India) and let loose hundreds of employees are now rehiring those same employees (mostly analysts and PMs) through third-tier consulting firms at a much lower cost. So they get the quality they need (because they can't get it from Indians) but they save a bundle of money. It's not uncommon to find a project manager at Amex directing 15 indians that used to be manager or director of so-and-so two years ago. This is (I think) more about deflating the job market than shipping jobs to other countries.
    • The perennial "web programmer" and "web designer" and so on is out of work because there is no more market for them. There are no more dotcoms hiring teams of 20 people to "design" three web pages at ~$60K+ per year. No way. But software developers and architects and so on with solid experience and real skills are still finding jobs. The subject of the Salon article sounds to me more like one of those foofy "html programmers" or equivalent than anything else.
    The dotcom boom created thousands of jobs that were filled by people with 6 months of experience and a "computer degree" from a community college or Devry. Sorry, but those are gone. No more demand. These people should go back to what they were doing before the went into "computers" to make "big bucks".

    It sounds callous, but it's true.

  • by rjnagle (122374) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:48PM (#5514478) Homepage
    I wrote an article [idiotprogrammer.com]about this phenomenon a while back (when I was facing the same unrealistic job requirements).

    My favorite anecdote was a job ad requiring 5 years experience writing technical manuals for military vehicles. People who write such job ads end up paying more than they should because of this "illusion of scarcity."
  • by blincoln (592401) on Friday March 14, 2003 @04:50PM (#5514500) Homepage Journal
    This really sounds like the business equivalent of a pyramid scam.

    The motivation behind cutting costs in things like IT is so that the business as a whole (and particularly the execs) can have more money.

    However, in order to *make* that money, customers need to be able to afford the product. If no one is making a decent salary (by which I mean at least $40k for a household), no one is going to be able to afford the products at their current prices. The only alternative will be to cut the selling price, which eliminates the original reason for the outsourcing. Either that or continue the pyramid and find an even cheaper country to do the work, and temporarily make money off of today's India and China.

    I am also curious as to the long-term results of basically removing increasingly skilled jobs from western countries. It's not like we can *all* be fast food cooks.
  • by Eric Damron (553630) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:02PM (#5514617)
    I can't believe that everyone didn't see this situation coming. It is the logical path of a world controlled by corporations in an emerging global economic system.

    For the corporations the equation is always simple and, for the most part, always the same. The path that reaps the greatest profit is the path to follow. Period, end of story, no appeals allowed.

    Out sourcing work to cheap labor increases profits so it will continue. There are three ways that jobs may start coming back to the US.
    1. We lower our wages to compete. (Not a good option)
    2. The legal system does something that impedes jobs from being outsourced. (Not a good option)
    3. It becomes more expensive to outsource than to keep jobs in the US. (The best option)

    Option number 3 will slowly occur as the living standard rises in the countries where the work is currently being outsourced. As the workers wages rise and come in line with the wages in the US costs of producing goods in those countries will rise.

    This could take a long time, however, and one of the big questions is: When the cost of production comes to parity where will the factories that produce the goods be located? We may be loosing jobs for a lot longer if there is no incentive to move the jobs back to the US. The startup expense is one thing that is keeping some factories in the United States but once moved it will be the same startup expense that will keep them out.

    It will be interesting to see how politicians deal with the effects of selling out the American people to the corporations.

  • by ChaoticCoyote (195677) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:09PM (#5514717) Homepage

    I've had my share of ups and downs in this industry. I started my career in the Savings & Loan industry -- and after that industry went bust in the early 80s, I had to find a new place to make a buck. A similar collapse hit the "web industry" over the last five years (lots of unjustified hype, bad management, etc.) -- and while I wasn't writing web pages or Flash animations, I was affected nonetheless. I worked as a development director/lead technologist at a couple small businesses that killed themselves by leaving reliable industries to "webify" their product. Both companies are gone, but I'm still here.

    There's nothing unique to the computer industry when it comes to bust-boom cycles. It happens all the time in other industries. My wife began her working life 25 years ago as a geological drafter -- you know, with pens, ink, fancy templates. The collapse of the oil and minerals industry did more to end her career than any new reliance on computer-aided drafting. Is she crying in her soup? Heck no -- she worked for various social agencies, often for low wages or free, and built herself a new career in disaster recovery and education. Businesses may come and go, but there'll always be disasters. ;)

    Right now, I'm doing contract work, writing a book, and placing myself for a "coming thing" that may or not be big in our industry. My wife has a nice, stable job; our kids learned long ago that their Mom and I don't listen to "gimme, gimme." It's sometimes difficult, but we keep surviving. Never surrender, never give up -- a good philosophy from a very funny movie.

  • Law Enforcement (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chemical (49694) <nkessler2000.hotmail@com> on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:13PM (#5514756) Homepage
    I currently work on a helpdesk, and I feel am very fortunate to have the position (considering I got the job after only one month of unemployment and also that over 300 people applied for the spot). However, there are no promotion opportunities at my company and it is unlikely that there will be in the foreseeable future. The likelihood that I could get another job paying what I make now is also unlikely and probably will be for some time to come (I was offered a job as a Linux admin that paid $5000/yr less than the helpdesk). Although I do have some somewhat esoteric and uncommon skill sets (particularly AS/400), the IT future on the whole looks grim.

    One of my coworkers had an interesting idea though. He was considering signing up with the California Highway Patrol. It seems like a good plan. Officers make over $50k a year for entry level, get tons of benefits (like $3000 a year for meals), extra perks/pay for specialized skills (such as piloting or even bilingual), and there is a real growth opportunity. Police officers are in high demand in California right now. Look in the classified in any paper and you will see several listings for several cities. Even my sleepy little hometown of Half Moon Bay, CA is always looking for new officers.

    I actually considered, and am still considering, signing up too. I'll have to get in a little bit better shape before I do, but that's not a problem. It would be a rewarding job where I could make a difference, and make some cash too. Something to think about, anyway. You gotta give it up to the Uncle Sam. Best employer you could ever have.

  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:14PM (#5514781)
    Predicted long ago [amazon.com] by the cantankerous Edward Yourdon. Ed was complaining about sloppy US software engineering as well as cheap, competent international labor. Ed wrote a sequel during the dot.com boom rebutting his earlier thesis, but the earlier ideas seem more accurate. Ed's numerous books start with some current social commentary, then repeat his personal brand of software engineering.
  • by StandardCell (589682) on Friday March 14, 2003 @05:35PM (#5514998)
    I know I may get modded down for this, but I'll stand up for this particular point. If one looks back at all of the technological innovation in the past 50 years, the vast majority of it has come from within the United States. Telecom, semiconductors, software, you name it - if it was commercially viable, that commercial viability pretty much originated here. Now that the expertise is being outsourced, what will sustain further development of it here?

    If you look at all the new grads coming out, they have been told time and again that technology is their ticket to success. They've been pushed through universities like cattle, but they never expected the slaughterhouse to be right at the exit. Now that there's a glut, economics is dictating huge competition driving down salaries. Tech suddenly isn't as sexy any more, and people are flocking to jobs at more traditional companies. Tech companies keep outsourcing more and more.

    But let's move this one step further. People coming into university see this. They stop coming in. Innovation and research starts slowing down. Nanotech and biotech research vaporizes because the capital base that is partly cross-subsidizing it vaporizes slowly. There is no killer application driving the tech economy. We can do with what we already have.

    What we may end up with is the majority of our technological manufacturing and knowledge base outside the United States. The United States (and, to a large extent, the rest of the Western world) could become dependent on foreign technology the same way it is dependent on foreign oil. Yes, many of these jobs being outsourced are staying within the foreign subsidiaries US companies, but the bulk of the knowledge is not on US soil. Those workers can walk away at any time without recourse for the US companies.

    My point is that there are very serious implications for everyone's life in general. If the majority of the expertise and manufacturing ends up outsourced to what are effectively third world countries, we could be subjected to embargoes by cartels in the same way OPEC has power today. It could even impact national security, since overall research into technology could stagnate and the pool of available scientists and engineers dwindles.

    If you think it can't happen, think again. It already has in large part. If not for cooperative trade agreements, many of the bulk goods coming into the United States would disappear overnight, from Tommy jeans to Sony TVs. This means that there may be greater reliance on the US military to protect us. Unfortunately, many of these countries possess big weapons that they didn't have 50 years ago. The US won't be able to push them around like they have already, and this will cause a loss of control.

    So what can we do about this? We need to vigorously publicize the nightmare stories of outsourcing. We need to show homegrown successes. We need to get these people waking up before we end up hanging ourselves by our own rope. We need to prove that we are better than those working in third world countries. We need to show what made the United States a great country - hard work, perserverance, and a good brain.

    OR

    We had better give up now and accept a much lower standard of living, and all of the shock it will create. It will be either one scenario or the other. But not both.
  • by SourceHammer (638338) on Friday March 14, 2003 @06:09PM (#5515274) Homepage
    So I guess now you can work at a 7-11 and make more money within 2 years than you can with a 4 year degree in computer science? Plus the payback of the student loans. Even if you make more in the long run the payback will take another 5-10 years. I am not sure that we will have any programming work in US by then...go into a trade while you are young and you still can.
  • NOT good.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by xchino (591175) on Friday March 14, 2003 @07:06PM (#5515739)
    I'm getting tired of this whole "This is good because it will improve global economy, so adapt or die." crowd.

    This will NOT improve global economy, this will improve local economy of OTHER countries. Do you think India is going to stop taxing American imports just because a very, VERY small minority of the population is getting paid well by third world standards? Are they going to start outsourcing their jobs back into the US? I doubt it. So corporations make some money from cheap labor, because the country they outsourced to doesn't have labor laws, the outsourced country is only slightly better off, and we have Americans who can't find work to feed their own families. I fully admit I CAN'T compete with an 8 year old chinese boy in a sweatshop. I would never WANT to compete for that job, and no one should have to live with that kind of job, just to survive. If you want to rememdy the global economy, human rights MUST come first, as money is just a measurement of a human time.

    Also, as an American, I have given my governemnt certain rights over me, so that they can work in good faith toward my best interest and the best interests of the American people, not so that they can make the world a better place. I could give less of a shit if my job supports an Indian Family who were previously impoverished, if now MY family is impoverished.

    If employers are allowed to ship our jobs off to foreign countries with no penalty, rather than hire us to produce their product/service, then I should be able to ship in products and service from foreign nations without penalty or tarrif.
    So explain to me how it is a fair playing field when corporations can undercut salary expenses by shipping jobs to foreign countries, while still being protected from Industry in those foreign countries underselling the same product/service over here?

    It also undercuts traditional American values. We are beggining to no longer be the land of oppurtunity. If Americans can't get jobs, aliens can't either. So instead of a bright, well trained Indian worker coming over here to have a high standard of living, he has to stay in his home country, getting paid next to nothing and still living in third world conditions.

    And to all the +5 Informatives spouting "Americans think just because they are American and have an education they have the right to a high standard of living and a decent job.", all I have to say is, You are god damn right we do. My father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc.. fought to give me that right, and I would fight to give my kids the same right. Why should I have to lower my standard of living so others can raise theirs? It's not like we've always been on top in the global economy, we made it there, and we made it there for ourselves, not for others, although we are gracious in letting others join in. Why should we sacrafice our high standard of living instead of foreigners sacraficing their nationality? If you want what we got, then you can come to America, but America should NEVER come to you.

    I know, I know, I'm rambling in my digression. I do tend to get upset when I see non-Americans blaming the US for whatever is wrong with their countries. (ie. chinese bitching about US tax imports instead of 0 chinese labor laws).

    I see a few -1 Flaimbaits coming, but oh well, this is how I feel :)
  • by Suchetha (609968) <suchetha@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Saturday March 15, 2003 @12:16AM (#5517388) Homepage Journal
    this article hits home because i am one of the people the jobs are coming TO.

    i live in Sri Lanka and work for the webdev section of a british dotcom. at the moment the company has 20 webdev people in the UK and 4 in SL (the rest of the team are support staff and grafx ppls), but according to the ceo they are thinking of downgrading the entire uk structure and hiring more people here in SL.

    my point is here... by UK standards they are paying us peanuts!! i get paid less than 7% of what the job i do would cost if it were being done by a brit. (trust me, i checked the numbers, a dev guy would get UKP2,000 there i get the equivalent of UKP150)

    but this amount lets me make about 10x of minimum wage here which is a decent amount.

    but there are downsides to this.
    • MOST ASIANS ARE DRONES!!! if you want them to do a piece of work and keep doing it they are perfect. but our society and education system which puts more weight on conformity and herd-following (and no i DO NOT mean chasing a bunch of cows around 8-) ) means that if you want to do something innovative here you got to find those exceptional types who can think and improvise. and those ones are already in the US on their H1B
    • most people in asia don't speak english all that well. this leads to confusion and problems in communications with the westerners
    i was hired because i am one of those few nonconformists who decided to come back to my country (went to uni in OKC, USA, saw the dot bomb about to drop and buggered off, also my parents run a moderately successful company here), i can think on my feet and i am am bilingual (i speak both languages well enough to pass for a native, in fact when i was in the US i frequently was)..

    i see my friends trying to make a living in the US and i feel sorry for them (degree holding CS guys stacking shelves in wally world...) personally i would love to get them down here where the cost of living is low, and if you know how to manipulate the system (which, believe me i do) you can live and work. sure you'll miss your mega malls, and seeing the latest movies as they come out, no mtn dew, no game arcades and no DSL.. but we got great weather, cheap housing (by us standards anyway) and beaches...

    personally i would LOVE to have a few slashdotters come join me here, and i am already running a dotcom that could use some help (so its not making money atm but i'm working on that part)

    i guess the point i am trying to make is this. the US has been training its people for freedom and creativity, the east for drones. put the two together and you get a potent mix. we could use some creative thinkers here, you could do with some drones there.

    anyone wanna come mix it up??

    Suchetha
  • by alizard (107678) <alizard@@@ecis...com> on Saturday March 15, 2003 @01:44AM (#5517752) Homepage

    I'm really amazed at the number of people on all sides of the political spectrum who can't figure out what's going on around them. Foriegn outsourcing is not about corporate survival except in companies with a historic record of mismanagement. Let's say you're making millions of units of almost any mass market item a year. The difference between the cost of doing R&D here and in India spread over X-million units is fairly trivial. A recent article quotes a CEO as saying that he expects a problem with Indian competition 10 years from now, but this is saving him money now... what's implied is that 10 years from now will be someone else's problem.

    This is about notching up earnings in a down economy so CEOs can make the profit targets which will enable their next batch of stock options. It's the same sort of thing that has produced Enron-style shell games to inflate reported profits.

    Like just about everything else that's been going on in the last few years at the large corporate level, it's about short-term maximation of profits. Not for the stockholders, for the CEOs themselves. The stockholders aren't going to know when to dump their stock to get maximum value for it. The CEOs don't have the slightest interest in their employeess, the health of the nation or the communities in which they're doing business, profit for the stockholders or building good companies anymore. "The commons" is just something to privatise a chunk of and strip-mine that chunk until it's worthless.

    This is hardly surprising. When one's main form of compensation is based on meeting quarterly profit or stock price targets, one doesn't want to invest in long-term R&D or employees or anything that might conceivably interfere with making the next batch of stock options kick in. Doing anything interesting and creative that doesn't show an immediate return is the sort of thing that makes investment analysts who generally don't understand what the companies that they advise about do real unhappy. Make them unhappy and the stock price drops. The stock one previously got in compensation drops in value... along with the CEO's personal net worth.

    Why hasn't private industry built a space infrastructure capable of supporting things like a powersat network supplying enough energy to make Middle East oil permanently obsolete? In general, the present corporate business model can't support major projects that would take 10 years to provide a return on investment. A typical Fortune 500 CEO isn't going to start a project that's going to do nothing for him but make a successor look real good.

    The funniest part about this is that the CEOs doing this appear to be under the impression that India is just another bunch of burbs whose residents talk funny, have an interesting ethnic cuisine and work real cheap.

    [Note 1] They are normally on the edge of nuclear war with their Muslim neighbor, Pakistan, mainly over religious hostility. The dominant religious grouping (Hindus) is calling for the expulsion of Muslims. Poor Muslims are being physically pushed into Bangladesh.

    Message: 10
    Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2003 11:08:10 -0500 (EST)
    From: "IntellNet"
    Subject: News Flash: Ten killed as bomb rips rail coach in Bombay [globeandmail.com]

    Ten people were killed and 75 hurt yesterday when a bomb blew up on a train packed with homebound commuters in Bombay, the deadliest in a spate of blasts in India's financial capital in recent months.

    Note 1 - to read this kind of happy fun news yourself, subscribe to OSINT-L [mailto], the Open Sources Intelligence mailing list.

    What I describe is business as usual.

    Third World generally translates as "powder keg".

    However, the CEOs who are doing this know that if they lose their bet and one of their call centers disappears in a conve

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