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Intel The Almighty Buck

Intel Chief: Don't Call Us Benedict Arnold CEOs 1033

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the highwayman-ceos-no-good-either dept.
theodp writes "In a USA Today interview, Intel CEO Craig Barrett pooh-poohs arguments against outsourcing, explaining 'We do not send our basketball teams to compete against the rest of the world, saying the other teams have to play slower because our folks aren't fit enough to run as fast.' He is also fed up with being called a Benedict Arnold CEO (perhaps he'd prefer Unemployed Computer Scientist). Barrett pegs K-12 math and science education as the biggest threat to U.S. employment, but when pressed about U.S. kids who do well in both, attend excellent universities, but have no guarantees of good jobs when they graduate, Barrett remarks 'I don't have a solution to that one.'"
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Intel Chief: Don't Call Us Benedict Arnold CEOs

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  • Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:27AM (#9027812)
    I'm reading this as I train my China replacements...
    • Re:Hmmm (Score:4, Funny)

      by BlightThePower (663950) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:47AM (#9027955)
      When no-one is looking, knock them off the table and onto the floor. They are certain to smash.
      • Re:Hmmm (Score:3, Insightful)

        by saden1 (581102)
        Seriously folks, has anyone seen the Prime Time [go.com] show that aired on ABC this past Thursday? It was disgusting. I wouldn't want to employ these people.
    • by bangular (736791) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:13PM (#9028146)
      The reason companies outsource to China, India, etc. is because they can get away with paying these people next to nothing. They literally wouldn't be able to legally pay these people those wages in the US because they are below minimum wage. It's not about quality or anything like that. It's because these people live in such poor countries they can be paid next to nothing. If they legally could, I'm sure these companies would have slaves. If they want to pay these people the SAME US wages I have no problem with that.
      • You know (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I used to think that was true, but if you look at the key locations for outsourcing, Ireland is still well up there. Its below India (was top location two years ago) but it will remain top 5 according to most projections.

        Ireland is part of the Euro-zone. It is a little cheaper than America to employ people. But in terms of education and infrastructure, these are the same people, often holding British or American degrees (btw, if you've ever been to the Republic you can see why some would choose to foresak

      • by composer777 (175489) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @02:53PM (#9029345)
        What's ironic, is that India is going through the same thing that the US was four years ago. They have such a demand for workers over there, that everyone and their brother is getting into IT, which leads to a lot of clueless programmers screwing things up. On top of that, even the good ones are making so much money that they just aren't that motivated. Think about it, if you have 5 years of salary sitting in the bank, what motivation will you have to work over 40 hours of week or to bust your ass? Meanwhile, in the US, most of the bad programmers have been weeded out, and what's left are over-worked, but extremely talented programmers who often have everything on the line. That explains the difference in quality, in my opinion, not some "difference in culture" as others have said. I think that it's purely market based.

        I still don't think that this will brigde the gap. There is just too large of a difference in pay, and I think we need to regulate "free" trade if we are to have any hope of preventing disasterous economic consquences. It's like an article that I have read on the CWA Union's website said, those that promote free trade basically are presenting an article of faith. They have nothing, they have no evidence at all that this will be good for society. In the mean time, they are making boatloads of cash during the "jobless recovery", and simply want us to just believe, without any evidence, that things will get better. It's pure BS, and I see no reason to believe these people, they have given me every reason not to trust them.

        By the way, here is that article by the CWA presenting their view on "free trade". See, not everybody in America is insane, you just have to turn off the tv and focus on other sources of news if you want to make sense of it all.
        http://www.cwa-union.org/news/CWANewsDisplay .asp?I D=1383
  • by krets (645685) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:29AM (#9027821)
    What's it trying to say?

    Benedict Arnold [ushistory.org]

    I still don't get it.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:33AM (#9027853)
      Benedict Arnold was a traitor - he betrayed his country and his people for money.

      These CEOs are traitors - they are betrying their country and their people for money.

      Understand now?
      • by Ralph Yarro (704772) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:02PM (#9028072) Homepage
        Benedict Arnold was a traitor - he betrayed his country and his people for money.

        It is true that he betrayed Britain but it seems that he was looking for glory more than for money. Also, to be fair, there were a LOT of traitors in the colonies at that time including such infamous characters as George Washington, and it seems harsh to pick on Benedict Arnold in particular.

        Furthermore, he did later repent the treasonous acts of his youth and, an older and wiser man, he returned to the British fold, gave valuable service to the Crown and was forgiven his past. I think you're too harsh on him.
        • by conradp (154683) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @04:25PM (#9029923) Homepage
          I just felt the need to point out that not all of us yanks are morons, and I for one found your post to be quite funny. And simultaneously insightful, as it skillfully points out that one group's traitor is often another group's hero.

          Someday these CEOs may be lauded as heroic global citizens who were able to look past the myopia of the little clumps of dirt on which they were born and provide opportunities to the underpriviledged in India, China, and other parts of the underdeveloped world.

          But for now, and especially during a presidential election year, they're just traitorous, greedy scumbags who are giving "our" jobs away to damn furriners.
      • by thedillybar (677116) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:36PM (#9028313)
        These CEOs are traitors - they are betrying their country and their people for money.

        They aren't betrying, or betraying for that matter, their country. What obligations do they have to their country? They pay their taxes, provide products and services, and the US economy would be worse off if the company didn't exist at all.

        They're certainly not betraying their people. By my estimation, "their people" are their stockholders. If their choices are outsource or lose to their competitors, there is no question. It's unfortunate, but what are they supposed to do?

        No I'm not (even close to) a CEO, and no I don't have a solution to our unemployment problems.

        • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @01:03PM (#9028551) Homepage
          They aren't betrying, or betraying for that matter, their country. What obligations do they have to their country? They pay their taxes, provide products and services, and the US economy would be worse off if the company didn't exist at all.

          The companies were created thanks to this country, though. They succeeded thanks to the stability the US provides, the technological advances and trained graduates government-subsidized universities produce, and the American workers who actually, you know, designed and built the hardware that they sold.

          They're certainly not betraying their people. By my estimation, "their people" are their stockholders. If their choices are outsource or lose to their competitors, there is no question. It's unfortunate, but what are they supposed to do?

          It's not the only choice, that's the point. They could get rid of a lot of costs by simply reducing the ridiculously insane executive compensation--no, CEOs of corporations generally don't deserve the salaries they get, in most cases their jobs can be filled by any reasonably experienced executive.
        • by vsprintf (579676) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @01:37PM (#9028810)

          They're certainly not betraying their people. By my estimation, "their people" are their stockholders.

          An amazing number of people (especially CEOs) seem to have forgotten that *company* means a group of people, and that group includes all the employees, not just the executives and the stockholders.

          If their choices are outsource or lose to their competitors, there is no question. It's unfortunate, but what are they supposed to do?

          That is self-serving tripe put out by executives like Barrett to justify their actions. B of A started offshoring while making huge profits. Intel is in no financial straits. They are getting rid of the people who made that company a huge success and shipping their jobs overseas. I would call that "betraying their people".

        • What obligations do they have to their country?

          QED

      • IEEE position (Score:5, Informative)

        by dslbrian (318993) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @01:22PM (#9028696)

        For those who haven't bought into the "outsourcing is great for America" BS, check out this discussion about IEEE-USA's stance against outsourcing [washingtonpost.com]. The IEEE has also released a position paper on the topic [ieeeusa.org].

        Looking at the economic side of the argument, there is also a short article about a finance professor arguing against placing blind faith in outsourcing [cnn.com] and the "externality" that companies are exploiting given the current labor and tax laws.

        Want to do something about it? Try using your vote. Bush and Kerry have established their position on outsourcing (Bush is for, Kerry is against). Being unemployed does not mean you lose your right to vote, so make it count.

      • by jmichaelg (148257) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @04:15PM (#9029849) Journal
        Benedict Arnold was a traitor - he betrayed his country and his people for money.


        These CEOs are traitors - they are betrying their country and their people for money.

        So were you a traitor when you bought that Korean RAM over the homegrown variety? How about when you bought that Toyota or Honda? Were you a traitor then?

        The CEO's are going for the best value just like you.

  • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:30AM (#9027832) Homepage Journal

    When CEOs say "good for the economy" they don't mean "good for the average Joe" they mean "good for our shareholders"

    It's easy for these CEOs to sit in their ivory towers and tell the people that various things are good for the economy, they aren't the ones facing unemployment or living cheque to cheque. What matters to these people is making the shareholders happy, the workers are expendable cogs in their money-machine.

    Imagine, for just a moment, that Craig Barrett were to say "Intel investors, I have a great plan. We'll stop outsourcing and start hiring domestically. Yeah, it'll cost more money and there will be a profit hit for a while but it will keep our people working and spending their paycheques domestically." Something like that is truly good for the economy as a whole, but how long would be be CEO for? The security guards would be showing him to the door in minutes.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:34AM (#9027859)
      " It's easy for these CEOs to sit in their ivory towers and tell the people that various things are good for the economy, they aren't the ones facing unemployment or living cheque to cheque. What matters to these people is making the shareholders happy, the workers are expendable cogs in their money-machine."

      Your aim is slightly off. here let me correct. "It's all about the new BMW I'm going to buy with my golden parachute". If it was JUST about the shareholders, then CEO's would be outsourcing their jobs.
      • by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:37AM (#9027872) Homepage Journal
        Your aim is slightly off. here let me correct. "It's all about the new BMW I'm going to buy with my golden parachute"

        heheheh, well done. I have no problem with people getting rich if they've earned in a way that's equitable to all but getting multi-million dollar bonuses for taking away peoples' livelyhoods? That's just disgusting blood money.
        • by Jhon (241832) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:03PM (#9028074) Homepage Journal
          I have no problem with people getting rich if they've earned in a way that's equitable to all...
          I'm sorry -- but that just doesn't make any sense to me. What is an "equitable" way to get rich? I haven't seen any overlords with whips beating the backs of workers to get them to perform. They work of their own accord. And if they want, they can leave.

          Outsourcing isn't the fault of the CEOs and to blame them smacks to me of a witch-hunt. It's a nice way to mis-direct attention to the REAL problem: Globalization. In particular, Globalization where we don't insist foreign workers fall under the same EPA, OSHA, minimum wage, workman's comp, etc standards that we force on the employeers of our OWN workers.

          If you want to REALLY solve the problem, either force outside workforces to comply with OUR standards, or lower OUR standards of employment to meet theirs. CEOs and corporations are not "boogie men". We've set up a system that basically lays money at their feet and we complain when the bend over to pick it up.
          • by Lumpy (12016) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @01:44PM (#9028863) Homepage
            yopu must be around 23-18 years old with no kids. as that would explain your lack of knowlege into the real world.

            Say I have a family, wife is not working and 2 kids at home... if I lose my job, then we are screwed royally. Not from the loss of income, mostly from the loss of health insurance. only a single young kid with no kids would fail to understand the terror of having a family without health insurance. Housing can be gained, food can be gained... that $400.00 a month perscription for your wife's health or the special needs of a chil you have? you CANT get those wnywhere.. you cant replace those med's with a $0.29 cent box of Kraft Dinner. without the med's you are Boned... royally boned. what happens if a child get's sick? I guess let em die? a single woman with children get's aid from the state... a family is told to go to hell.

            "I haven't seen any overlords with whips beating the backs of workers to get them to perform."

            really? you are obviousally new to the world of work... as they do find those and make sure to let that employee know that "we are going to have to cut health benefits if you dont work double overtime for free so we can ship this product on time." and management knows for a fact that family workers are prime for abuse as they will not leave without having something else lined up no matter how crappy they make it for that employee.

            Me? I'm enough of an asshole to tell my boss to F**K himself loudly and instantly go over his head and tell that asshole to F**K himself.. I've let my bosses know this from day one that I will NOT go above and beyond for them unless they do so for me. Basically I learned really early to NEVER EVER trust your employer, I don't care how nice they are, they will NEVER go out on a limb for you.

            CEO's are not boogeymen. but they are generally useless to every corperation. they typically offer ZERO leadership, ZERO ability to actually change the course of the company. Ther are a few good ones, but they are getting as rare as the DoDo bird.
        • It seems we need an economics lesson here. Just because an American worker loses his/her job doesn't mean the CEO has simply taken away his/her livelihood. The money has been *redistributed*. If the company does not stay profitable, many more people do lose thier jobs. Also remember, there are more people depending on a company than just the ones who happen to work there. What about grandma and gradpa whose retirement is dependant on the success or failure of the company?

          I'm no big fan of offshoring, and i
      • If it was JUST about the shareholders, then CEO's would be outsourcing their jobs.

        The CEOs are outsourcing their jobs, or, more accurately, they're outsourcing their successors' jobs, and I think most of them realize it.

        How are they outsourcing their jobs? They're training a new crop of managers and workers overseas. How long will it take before those people realize that they have everything they need to start their own company and compete with their former employers?

    • by Ingolfke (515826) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:46AM (#9027951) Journal
      Yes they would show him to the door, because his job is to make money for the shareholders.

      If your bank sent you a letter and told you that they had decided that a new policy would be to reduce 20% of your savings annually in order to increase the wages of their local branch tellers so they could match cost of living increases and ensure employee comfort would you (or the average joe) keep banking there? Nope... so why would any shareholders keep money in Intel if they can make more money elsewhere... answer... they won't.

      Furthermore... despite all the hoopla about buying domestic... most people don't check every single thing they buy for where it was made. They buy whatever offers the best value, so if AMD outsourced their work to a place that had cheaper labor and thereby reduced the cost of operations and thereby reduced the price per chip... then Intel would in a tough spot, would most likely lose sales, and would eventually be in a weaker competitive position, which would reduce their shareholder value.

      Now since both companies are in the U.S. one might argue that you have to legislate that these companies keep jobs here. This is a Benedict Arnold policy, pandering to the fears and pains of today's masses while selling out the future. Yes would protect some higher paying domestic jobs today if we keep companies from outsourcing, but this would be giving away competive advantages to foreign companies who WOULD take advantage of lower costs of skilled labor in other countries. So in 10 years, you could have an Indian/Chinese/ that could enter our market, drastically undercut our prices, and still make good/better profits. Our companies would fold, investments dollars would flow out of the U.S. and future generations would have a much more difficult time finding quality work.
      • by tfoss (203340) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:52PM (#9028446)
        Yes they would show him to the door, because his job is to make money for the shareholders.

        If your bank sent you a letter and told you that they had decided that a new policy would be to reduce 20% of your savings annually in order to increase the wages of their local branch tellers so they could match cost of living increases and ensure employee comfort would you (or the average joe) keep banking there? Nope... so why would any shareholders keep money in Intel if they can make more money elsewhere... answer... they won't.

        I hate this unfortunately pervasive attitude. The point of a company/CEO/board is not, and should not be to make as much money as quick as possible, at any cost to anyone. Morality ought to be a consideration in business decisions. Why do so many people seem to think that companies should be faceless money-grubbing automatons? That makes me vomit in my own mouth.

        There is a place for responsible companies, ones that treat employees, consumers, the environment, etc with respect. There are various [fortune.com] lists [corporateknights.ca] that suggest this idea of responsible business isn't totally foreign.

        What if you, as a CEO, could make more money by shipping programming jobs to India, should you? What if you could make more by using child labor in Burma? How about if you could make more by dealing with an apartheid supporting regime in South Africa, or a dictatorial regime in the Sudan, or North Korea, or Iraq? How about if you could make more money by overstating earnings reports? What if your motthoople widget would cost a little less if you buy from company A rather than company B, only company A tests it by anally raping baby seals?

        Not only is moral behavior a good thing to do, just because; it actually can be good in terms of reputation, public image, and employee karma. If you prefer the Gordon Gecko style of business, so be it... But don't cloak that in the bullshit of 'responsibility to the stockholders.'

        -Ted

      • You may be right, but all that means is that the shareholders are just as short sighted.

        It doesn't take a genius to understand that if you manufacture a consumer product and don't pay your workers enough to be able to afford that product, you will soon enough have no sales (Definatly worse for a company than marginal profits)

        Eventually, it will come back around when the many foreign workers start to create a domestic demand and then decide to meet that demand themselves (by forming new companies). Effec

    • by swillden (191260) * <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:54AM (#9028010) Homepage Journal

      When CEOs say "good for the economy" they don't mean "good for the average Joe" they mean "good for our shareholders"

      Most "average Joes" are shareholders. Many have personal investement accounts, some have pension plans, and most everyone with a semi-decent job has a 401K, or equivalent.

      It's a bit more complex than you make it out to be.

      • by Rich0 (548339) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:29PM (#9028266) Homepage
        Most "average Joes" are shareholders. Many have personal investement accounts, some have pension plans, and most everyone with a semi-decent job has a 401K, or equivalent.

        Take a typical smart middle-class person who started out with only modest support from his parents, and made his own wealth.

        Let's assume he makes $60,000 a year for 30 years, and puts away 10% of that into stocks increasing at a growth rate of 10%. Let's assume no inflation (it doesn't affect my illustration, it just makes all the numbers bigger).

        When he retires he'll have made $1.8 million from salary. He'll also have put away $180k of that salary into stocks, and he'll have made about $900k in stock growth. (I used a free web 401k planner to get the numbers.)

        Now, 10% growth is about all you can really expect, and a 10% rate of savings is pretty considerable. Most people do not save that much. Even so, the stock growth contributed only 1/3rd of his lifetime wealth accumulation.

        Try walking down the row of cubes at work with the following offer - if you accept a layoff we'll add to your 401k as if you had an extra 1% of growth for 30 years in the company stock. The CEO might take that in a heartbeat (assuming he were solely motiveated by money) - the CEO probably has millions invested in stock, and a 1% boost over 30 years might easily exceed his annual salary. On the other hand, the average worker probably has maybe $100k in stock, and so an extra $50k or so after 30 years surely isn't worth losing his job.

        Most ordinary people benefit the most from decisions that benefit works - not shareholders. That isn't to say that we should just plunder company treasuries - there should be a balance. However, the balance should not be, whatever is good for people who can afford stock is good for everyone...
      • Most "average Joes" are shareholders.

        what dream world do you live in???

        less than 39% of americans hold stock in any companies.

        no I dont have exact figures but they can be found on most trading and wealth websites... you might also like to see that less than 50% of americans have a saving account!

        that is a minority, so Few "average joes" are shareholders.

        and here's a news flash to you... most americans dont have a semi-decent job.

        it is a whole lot different than you make it out to be.
  • by NineNine (235196) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:31AM (#9027836)
    Unfortunately for the fat & happy Americans (I'm one of them), we're entering an age of a truly global economy, where there are very few barriers as far as communication and travel. There's a huge standard of living between first world and thrid world countries. Basic economics (hell, and nature) say that what's going to happen is that there's going to have to be an equilibrium that say, the US and India will reach, eventually in terms of standard of living pay rates, etc. At least for the next generation or so, the US is going to see a dramatic drop in standard of living, while other parts of the world increase (we're seeing that already in SE Asia). There's no way around it. The Net and telephones and cheap air travel have done this, and there's really no way to stop it. The genie is out of the bottle. CEO's do what they always do: maximize the bottom line. workers do what they always do: work for as much money as is possible. It's really inevitable, and it's time the IT industry sucks it up and realizes this. It's already happened with other US industries (autos, steel, textiles), and will continue for the forseeable future.

    Time to tighten up those belts boys! The days of a big house in the suburbs with a giant SUV are pretty much over. If you expect to be able to continue living as well as you have been previously, you're kidding yourself.
    • by maelstrom (638) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:41AM (#9027897) Homepage Journal
      Free trade doesn't have to be a zero-sum game.

    • by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:55AM (#9028012) Homepage
      um, no, a true global economy would mean that workers can move to where the jobs are and that there is a world wide rate of pay that differs little from one location to the next.

      what we have is CEOs taking advantage of underpaid high tech workers in countries that have no labor laws.
      • by Ba3r (720309) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:26PM (#9028236)
        Exactly, except what is so infurating about the article is that this CEO claims that it is US workers who aren't competitive due to education. Bullshit, US workers are not competitive because the US has a higher standard of living, and thus has higher costs. The only thing that keeps US workers afloat is their education.
  • Money fever. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:31AM (#9027838)
    "Barrett pegs K-12 math and science education as the biggest threat to U.S. employment, but when pressed about U.S. kids who do well in both, attend excellent universities, but have no guarantees of good jobs when they graduate, Barrett remarks 'I don't have a solution to that one.'""

    How about being honest with us, and admitting it isn't about education, but all about the money?
    • Re:Money fever. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by pe1rxq (141710) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:47AM (#9027953) Homepage Journal
      I find it funny that after all that time all the capitalist fanboys are just now learning that in their system there is no guarantee that money is flowing their way....

      Both communism and capitalism predict that ultimatly there will be some balance in which everyboddy has equal chance and oportunity.
      The problem is that everybody has to play by the rules and there is no place for protectionism.

      Our technological advances are slowly taking down the natural protecting boundries... Ever since that started we tried to build new ones by law (taxes on money going the wrong way) but the balance is already tipping due to our own greed.

      The only question remaining is will we keep oscilating around this ideal forever or will things stable out after a while and reach a point of stability where everyboddy is happy?

      Jeroen
      • Re:Money fever. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by provolt (54870) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:09PM (#9028122)
        The only question remaining is will we keep oscilating around this ideal forever or will things stable out after a while and reach a point of stability where everyboddy is happy?


        The answer is: WE CAN NEVER MAKE EVERYONE HAPPY! Never. Ever. Not possible. Never will be. Never. Never. Never.

        Why? Because people are never satisfied with what they have. Just look at the forms here. We have people that have enough disposable income and enough time to use a computer to post a comment about how terrible their life is. "But I'm unemplyed." "I'm underemployed." "My job isn't what I want to do."

        Seriously, those are good problems to have. If you can use a computer, you're not too bad off. A real problem would be something like not knowing if the well will have water today or if the water in the well will make you sick."

        People ALWAYS find something new to bitch about. No one will ever be happy. Utopia doesn't exist. Every time someone tries to build it it, something much, much worse appears. Free Trade and Democracy are the best ways we have to make the problems that people have be of the "what shall we have for lunch" type.
  • Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cybermace5 (446439) <g.ryan@macetech.com> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:32AM (#9027840) Homepage Journal
    That whole interview really did collapse at the end. He spouts off about having to compete, and discusses at length how kids need to be taught math and science, and how many teachers aren't educated in the subjects that they teach. But then he has to admit that even if the kids were taught to excel, it wouldn't change anything.

    We are not competing on basis of skill here, we're competing on the basic cost of living. Today's CEO's are pocketing the savings from outsourcing, and will be retired when the house of cards crashes down because no one here has any more money to spend.
    • Re:Yeah... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wavicle (181176) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:53AM (#9027997)
      Yes. Craig Barret, like Carly Fiorina, has found a PR whipping boy. The public knows that Math & Science K-12 education is very poor. It's really just a red herring. Every one of the white collar jobs they ship over seas requires a college education, and he admits is the university system is healthy.

      They are lobbying for reforms to K-12 not because they actually care whether or not K-12 education gets better but because it would take years to happen and in the meantime they can continue finding ways to increase the bottom line. If you're laying off people here to send the jobs over there, you are admitting that you have people who could do it over here regardless of the state of K12 education.
  • by MakoStorm (699968) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:33AM (#9027849)
    To turn a small profit, they have outsourced over seas and cut the people that brought them to their current size. If turning on the people who made you what you are isnt treason, then what is?

  • by duckpoopy (585203) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:33AM (#9027850) Journal
    Kids with Down's Syndrome can graduate from US public schools. I suppose it is good for the ego of the disabled kid, but it seems to indicate that standards are pretty low here.
    • by ImpTech (549794) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:58AM (#9028034)
      Well, its not like they lower the standards for everyone so that the downs syndrome kid will pass. They lower the standards for that kid. I don't know if it really helps the impaired kids to be handled that way, but I don't see how it necessarily hurts anybody else.
      • How can they be called "standards" if they change from person to person? This muddy standard has devalued what an education is worth. If some one sees "High School Graduate" on a resume, how are they to know if they got "passed along" or if they are a mensa type? High school diplomas have degraded to certificates of attendance.
        • by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @01:19PM (#9028674) Homepage Journal
          I call foul. Take New York as an example, there are several different stadards for students. Almost all students have to get a Regents diploma, which is actually quite tough (last year something like 70% of students failed one particular Regents exam) but students with learning disabilities can graduate with a special needs or school level diploma.

          It's hardly fair to ask these kids to take calculus and write essays or remember obscure historic facts. So instead they learn specific life skills. And that's what that diploma certifies -- that they can do SOMETHING. NY employers know what this means.

          Furthermore, you can graduate with an honors diploma, which says that you passed all the regents course, took a certain number of honors level classes, put in some community service time, and performed a massive research project.
    • First, I find rating a comment like this as insightful a much more accurate predictor of low intelligence than whether a kid has down syndrome.

      Second, the graduation certificate given to a child who received significant accommodations is different from the graduation certificate given to a child that met all standard without significant accommodations.

      Third, as much as people wish to malign our education program, and it may be that it is less able to put out compulsive eggheads, education in the US has

  • by Mad Man (166674) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:34AM (#9027858)
    http://volokh.com/2004_03_14_volokh_archive.html#1 07922202284050918 [volokh.com]


    [Eugene Volokh, 3/15/2004 07:53:35 AM]

    Calling people traitors: As readers of this blog know, I've been quite critical of people calling others "traitors" simply because they disagree with them about the war or about foreign policy. There should be plenty of room in civil debate for good-faith disagreement about what's good for the country. Moreover, decent Americans can still sometimes consider the legitimate interests beyond the American national interest -- for instance, they might oppose an attack on some country because of a concern about the country's innocent citizens, whether or not the attack is in the interests of America's citizens. It's neither fair nor productive to reduce legitimate policy disagreements to accusations of lack of patriotism, or, worse still, treason?

    But if this is true, then what's with all this that we've been hearing about "Benedict Arnold CEOs"? There are lots of hard and interesting questions about how American businessmen should deal with international competition. Some think that outsourcing is on balance bad for America, others think it's good. Some think that businessmen should focus first and foremost on the interests of America generally, others that businessmen should primarily serve the interests of their shareholders (within, of course, the boundaries of the law) -- or that outsourcing helps both shareholders and, ultimately, America generally, since without it we'd lose our competitive edge and thus have to lay off even more people. Reasonable minds can differ on this. But there's no justification for waging this battle through slurs and insults, and allusions (even if clearly hyperbolic) to a man whose name has become a snonym for "traitor."

    But if I'm mistaken, and "Benedict Arnold" is permissible political hyperbole to be used against people whose economic policies you think undermine the American national interest, then why isn't "traitor" permissible political hyperbole to be used against people whose foreign policy you think undermines the American national interest?

  • by YankeeInExile (577704) * on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:35AM (#9027864) Homepage Journal

    Globalisation is not going away. Outsourcing is not going away. IT jobs in the US are going away.

    Go see Grapes of Wrath [imdb.com], and get a good understanding of what real hardship is like. Nasty fact of life: Things change. And no amount of political posturing, wishing, whining, begging, or threatening is going to change that.

    If you really want to be a coder - that is - if you chose IT because you genuinely love it (I do), then emigrate.

    You cannot change the attractiveness of outsourcing through fiat. However you can change your situation until you are more attractive than Ravi's House of Outsourcing and Tandoori[1] and you will not have trouble finding work.

    Just as the dot-com bubble was collapsing, I took my meager savings and moved to a place where the cost of living is low, but infrastructure is well developed. There were surely tradeoffs - learning a new (human) language is substantially more difficult than learning a new programming language, but to be frank, that was a big part of the adventure: Throw myself into a foreign culture and see how well I could adapt.

    Now, I have a comfortable, but not lavish lifestyle - two junior programmers and one artist working on projects I manage (who make about 150% of what local companies pay for the same work) - and without hesitation I can say: I have a much better quality of life than I ever had working in the dot-bomb universe. And with personal freedom increasingly a joke in my homeland, I have a strong feeling I will never repatriate.

    If you chose IT because you thought it would lead to riches and a comfortable lifestyle: Well - you should have paid more attention to your carreer counselor in high school. It is not too late to learn to be a plumber, or a car mechanic.

    1: The one thing I cannot get in Mexico that I really loved when I was in the Silly-con Valley: Indian food

    • by lildogie (54998) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:41AM (#9027898)
      Or, if you're literate, read the book!
    • by xchino (591175) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:43PM (#9028373)
      "Globalisation is not going away. Outsourcing is not going away. IT jobs in the US are going away."

      "I took my meager savings and moved to a place where the cost of living is low, but infrastructure is well developed"

      Ok so we can tell from you statement that you really don't give a shit about America or the state thereof. Some of us actually love our country and would rather see the problems with it get fixed rather than just giving up on it and moving elsewhere. If "earning a living" was just cause to pack up and move, there'd have been no one left in this country after the depression.

      1: The one thing I cannot get in America is ameobic dissentary by drinking the public drinking water.
  • People are crazy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by feelyoda (622366) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:37AM (#9027874) Homepage
    Since when is it the government's job to secure your own employment?

    If you did well in school, have a good education, but can't find a job, why not start your own business and follow the advice: Compete!

    I want to fight the nanny-state mentality that the government
    1) Should
    2) Can, even if it wanted to,
    control the economy and my economic well being.

    As for failing K-12 schools, clearly more volunteerism by parents and intelligent people, along with more incentive for competition among schools, is the solution.

    Again, if you are unemployed, maybe you should fix that situation. Try inventing something in your garage while working at McDonalds. They are always hiring.
  • by WarSpiteX (98591) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:38AM (#9027881) Homepage
    Barrett does have a point about the K-12 education in the US. Not only are schools passing flunky kids because the parents don't want their kids to fall behind (lawsuits being expensive and all), the US government itself seems determined to push a "faith" rather than "fact" educational agenda. It's not like the citizenry is helping either, what with creationist theme parks [nytimes.com] springing up.


    Amusing anecdotes aside, the fact of the matter is that Americans simply don't value education as much as other nationalities. I'm sure I'm not the only one who came here from Europe, Asia or India as a kid and realized he was three grades ahead of his peers in math and science. It goes without saying, if a child is unaware of basic physics and chemistry, he'll never wonder, marvel at and be curious about just how we went from light bulbs to transistors to microchips. While not everyone needs to be like that, at least we should provide the knowledge required to roughly understand how technology works, to spur those individuals who really want to know just how a processor decides what "transistor" of the millions it has on board is switched.

    • Bullshit he doesn't have a point. There are many excellent, well educated, CS and EE students graduating every year, and many of them are having a hell of a time finding a job in this market, or are you trying to tell me they haven't been educated in math and science?

      • He DOES have a point (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Prof. Pi (199260) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:31PM (#9028282)
        There are many excellent, well educated, CS and EE students graduating every year

        Unfortunately, they're way outnumbered by the hordes of people with CS and EE degrees who are neither excellent nor well-educated.

        One of my colleagues had to hire some people a while back. Our work is research-oriented, meaning we want people for the long haul, with a good foundation of knowledge rather than the IT skill du jour. He described the crop of applicants sent to him by HR as "mostly worthless" because it seems they learned almost nothing in their 4 years except Java. Most of them couldn't tell the difference between an O(n^2) algorithm and an O(n log n) one. In fact, most didn't even understand the concept.

        When I worked at a university, I saw where a lot of this came from. There was competition for warm bodies between the departments, so there was pressure to lower requirements in order to keep students from transferring to the easier departments. EE lost lots of students to CS because CS required almost no math, and EE took the heat for its "low retention rate."

        Probably the most telling anecdote I remember from my work there was when an EE professor, who was talking with some juniors, stopped me and said he wanted to ask me a physics question. I told him I took physics 23 years before and was probably rusty. He asked anyway. It was very elementary, and I hesitated, suspecting a trick question. But finally I gave the right answer, and he triumphantly thanked me. It turns out he had used this as part of a larger problem on an exam, and the students had complained that he hadn't covered this material. He said it was covered in the prerequisite course, which most had taken the previous year, and they argued that they couldn't be expected to retain that for a whole year! (And these were A and B students, not the bottom of the barrel.)

  • by Rude-Boy (25678) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:39AM (#9027891)
    It's hardly the monsterous thing everyone is making it out to be.

    Read this:

    LINK [foreignaffairs.org]

    The Outsourcing Bogeyman By Daniel W. Drezner

    From Foreign Affairs, May/June 2004

    Summary: According to the election-year bluster of politicians and pundits, the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries has become a problem of epic proportion. Fortunately, this alarmism is misguided. Outsourcing actually brings far more benefits than costs, both now and in the long run. If its critics succeed in provoking a new wave of American protectionism, the consequences will be disastrous -- for the U.S. economy and for the American workers they claim to defend.

    Daniel W. Drezner is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago and the author of "The Sanctions Paradox." He keeps a weblog at www.danieldrezner.com/blog; full references and data sources for this article can be found here.

    THE TRUTH IS OFFSHORE

    When a presidential election year coincides with an uncertain economy, campaigning politicians invariably invoke an international economic issue as a dire threat to the well-being of Americans. Speechwriters denounce the chosen scapegoat, the media provides blanket coverage of the alleged threat, and legislators scurry to introduce supposed remedies.

    The cause of this year's commotion is offshore outsourcing -- the alleged migration of American jobs overseas. The depth of alarm was strikingly illustrated by the firestorm of reaction to recent testimony by N. Gregory Mankiw, the head of President George W. Bush's Council of Economic Advisers. No economist really disputed Mankiw's observation that "outsourcing is just a new way of doing international trade," which makes it "a good thing." But in the political arena, Mankiw's comments sparked a furor on both sides of the aisle. Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry accused the Bush administration of wanting "to export more of our jobs overseas," and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle quipped, "If this is the administration's position, I think they owe an apology to every worker in America." Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, meanwhile, warned that "outsourcing can be a problem for American workers and the American economy."

    Critics charge that the information revolution (especially the Internet) has accelerated the decimation of U.S. manufacturing and facilitated the outsourcing of service-sector jobs once considered safe, from backroom call centers to high-level software programming. (This concern feeds into the suspicion that U.S. corporations are exploiting globalization to fatten profits at the expense of workers.) They are right that offshore outsourcing deserves attention and that some measures to assist affected workers are called for. But if their exaggerated alarmism succeeds in provoking protectionist responses from lawmakers, it will do far more harm than good, to the U.S. economy and to American workers.

    Should Americans be concerned about the economic effects of outsourcing? Not particularly. Most of the numbers thrown around are vague, overhyped estimates. What hard data exist suggest that gross job losses due to offshore outsourcing have been minimal when compared to the size of the entire U.S. economy. The outsourcing phenomenon has shown that globalization can affect white-collar professions, heretofore immune to foreign competition, in the same way that it has affected manufacturing jobs for years. But Mankiw's statements on outsourcing are absolutely correct; the law of comparative advantage does not stop working just because 401(k) plans are involved. The creation of new jobs overseas will eventually lead to more jobs and higher incomes in the United States. Because the economy -- and especially job growth -- is sluggish at the moment, commentators are attempting to draw a connection between offshore outsourcing and high unemployment. B

    • by puppetluva (46903) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#9028349)
      This author is using a series of flawed assumptions/myths that I'd like to debunk:

      1) Outsourcing is only happening to menial jobs. The author first states that "the activities that will migrate offshore are predominantly those that can be viewed as requiring low skill since process and repeatability are key underpinnings of the work"

      Software Development is not "low-skill". Repeatability for complex processes is a complex achievement. Nearly all of technology/science is concerned with repeatability.

      2) What is better for the global economy is better for the American economy.

      Let's say that China becomes even more of an economic powerhouse, the world economy becomes more efficent, and America gets beat out of many major corporate and employment deals to EU companies. America will go into decline. This is neither good for American business nor is it good for American workers.

      3) What is good for American corporations is good for American citizens.

      These two ideas are increasingly at odds. Let's say Joe CEO, an American citizen, starts a car-building company and outsources everything but the CEO spot. Let's then say that he beats out every major American car manufacturer and takes their marketshare. THIS WOULD BE A DISASTER FOR EVERY AMERICAN WORKER BUT JOE. Joe might get rich, he might make a bunch of foreign outsources rich, but he has helped suck both money and jobs out of the country.

      4) Protectionism would hurt our economy because it makes the world economy less efficient.

      WRONG! This would only be true if America was an equal consumer of goods world-wide. America is, by far, largest world consumer of most goods. Channeling that purchasing-power back towards American goods and services would be a huge boon.

      5) Protecting globalization at the expense of American jobs will help american citizens by creating more jobs.

      The author's whole argument about outsourcing of jobs towards America is completely false. His numbers are made up, as well.

      6) It is the U.S. government's job to protect the global economy.

      WRONG! It is the U.S. government's job to protect US citizens in both the short-term and the long-term.

      7) It is patriotic to support free-market economies.

      WRONG! It is patriotic to support the well-being of your fellow countrymen and women. Supporting slave-labor in China that forces inequitable economies of scale in labor is tantamount to economic treason.

      People need to stop thinking in blindered terms of "free-markets are good" and need to start thinking at a more sophisticated level about these problems. I'm ashamed at the trite cliches and hackneyed arguments put forth in this poorly-written article.
    • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:53PM (#9028455)
      From your post:
      "Most jobs will remain unaffected altogether: close to 90 percent of jobs in the United States require geographic proximity. Such jobs include everything from retail and restaurants to marketing and personal care -- services that have to be produced and consumed locally, so outsourcing them overseas is not an option."

      Do you want fries with that?

      So, instead of working and actually PRODUCING something, we will become a nation of burger flippers.

      "There is also no evidence that jobs in the high-value-added sector are migrating overseas."

      Which jobs would that be? Any specifics? Please do not say "prostitute".

      "The parts of production that are more complex, interactive, or innovative -- including, but not limited to, marketing, research, and development -- are much more difficult to shift abroad."

      Incorrect, R & D is moving overseas.

      "As an International Data Corporation analysis on trends in IT services concluded, "the activities that will migrate offshore are predominantly those that can be viewed as requiring low skill since process and repeatability are key underpinnings of the work."

      Yet I keep seeing complaints about how many PROGRAMMING jobs are moving to India.

      But I don't know of anyone who claims that programming is "low skill".

      "As for the jobs that can be sent offshore, even if the most dire-sounding forecasts come true, the impact on the economy will be negligible."

      Then there are a few paragraphs devoted to debating whether the predictions are good or bad. Whatever. Facts are easier to deal with.

      "There is no denying that the number of manufacturing jobs has fallen dramatically in recent years, but this has very little do with outsourcing and almost everything to do with technological innovation."

      So, the FACT is that there are FEWER manufacturing jobs. Well DUH!!!!!

      Now they are arguing that the FEWER jobs are NOT the result of offshoring.

      So, we don't have a "rust belt" because we still crank out the same PRODUCTS in the same QUANTITY but we do it with FEWER PEOPLE?

      I don't believe that the FACTS will support that.

      We've lost the jobs. They are now being performed overseas.

      "If outsourcing were in fact the chief cause of manufacturing losses, one would expect corresponding increases in manufacturing employment in developing countries."

      Incorrect. It is possible to lose 100 manufacturing jobs in the US and only gain 10 robot-assisted manufacturing jobs in other countries.

      So, the same number of PRODUCTS are being produced, but fewer people are doing it and those people are NOT US citizens.

      "The fact that global manufacturing output increased by 30 percent in that same period confirms that technology, not trade, is the primary cause for the decrease in factory jobs."

      But the technology is NOT in the US. The jobs are NOT in the US. Rather than pay to upgrade the US factories, the jobs are going overseas.

      "What about the service sector?"

      Service sector: burger flippers, prostitution, butlers and such.

      "For example, a Datamonitor study found that global call-center operations are being outsourced at a slower rate than previously thought -- only five percent are expected to be located offshore by 2007."

      Dude, "global call-center" being outsourced would have to go to MARS. We're looking at US jobs here.

      "Delta Airlines outsourced 1,000 call-center jobs to India in 2003, but the $25 million in savings allowed the firm to add 1,200 reservation and sales positions in the United States."

      Here's a link to show how good Delta is doing.

      http://www.newschannel9.com/vnews/1081980359/

      And I quote: "The nation's third-largest airline said it lost $387 million dollars."

      So, they "save" $25 million by outsourcing, but then they LOSE $387 million?

      "An Institute for International Economics analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data revealed th
  • by ulatekh (775985) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:43AM (#9027920) Homepage Journal

    ...the problem I have is that, thanks to widespread abuses in the H-1B visa program, foreign programmers are brought into the U.S. and paid very little compared to U.S. programmers.

    Businesses say they do this because U.S. programmers don't have the skills they need, but with the widespread unemployment of computer programmers, this can't possibly be true.

    H-1B made sense during the tech boom, but now that we're in a tech bust, there's no legitimate excuse for it.

    If we stopped the H-1B visa program, all those programmers went home, and then software jobs got outsourced to their countries, that'd be OK with me -- at least it'd be honest. Right now, U.S. programmers have the worst of both worlds.

    And as for doing something besides programming for a living...you mean to tell me that I spent my teenage years actually studying, getting good grades, and keeping my nose clean, I went to college to get my B.S. in computer science, I worked my tail off for 12 years...and now I'm unemployed and poor? Damn, I could have been doing drugs and partying all that time, and I'd have exactly the same to show for it! I deeply resent that losers, slackers, and lowlifes are better off than I am. Doesn't anyone understand that???

    And how the heck am I supposed to afford another college degree, when I'm facing losing everything I own?

  • by deadmongrel (621467) <karthik@poobal.net> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:50AM (#9027975) Homepage
    Honestly I don't how the US educational system is but blaming it for moving jobs oversees is ridiculous. Are they saying the Indian(which i can speak for) educational system is better? India has a poor educational system. And they are finding fault with US education system? Before the flames start let me tell you something I am Indian and have survived the Indian Educational system. We have really few "good teachers" and a lot of good-for-nothing ones. The text books are outdated and so are the teaching tools. The education system is more about memorizing stuff than understanding it. Most of the exams results are like gambling. Nothing but luck.
  • by Baldrson (78598) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:55AM (#9028014) Homepage Journal
    Outsourcing is, indeed, a "Bogeyman" but not because, as the article claims, the problems are fabrications of disgruntled spoiled brats and pandering politicians and press.

    The problems are real -- and are far far worse than anyone is willing to admit. "Outsourcing" is merely a symptom. Like the first purple patch appearing on the skin of an airline attendant who frequents gay bath-houses in the early 1980s, the worst is yet to come.

    Western civilization is destined to become a museum piece. The fundamental problem is with the way Western Civilization has decided to monetize clan structures, raising the floor on the cost of living, while it takes the deracinated clans and moves them into a pseudo-clan identity via national defense and police protection of monetized assets. Western civilization is now addicted to this con-game and can't allow people to reconstitute their clan structures lest they realize how horrendous the crime has been committed against them, and through them in their dracinated state, others around the world. So the only hope Western civilization has is to go all the way to a single tax on net assets or something similar. Of course, the con of the present situation is that wealthy people claim that they're creating the wealth when in fact they're sucking the lives out of young families from which they draw their soldiers and policemen to protect their assets. Charming charming folks... so charming many if not most have charmed themselves into a state where they actually believe their own material. If so, there is no hope for Western civilization. However, if they merely would stop sapping the life from the planet and live among others -- keeping the wealth they've ill-gotten but paying the costs of its maintanence -- they might be able to stave off hell-on-earth for themselves and their posterity (not to mention the rest of us life forms around them since our "bodies are in vain" according to their beliefs -- we don't count).

    A few K5 diary entries that discuss the general situation follow:

    A [kuro5hin.org]
    dozen [kuro5hin.org]
    K5 [kuro5hin.org]
    diary [kuro5hin.org]
    entries [kuro5hin.org]
    that [kuro5hin.org]
    discuss [kuro5hin.org]
    the [kuro5hin.org]
    general [kuro5hin.org]
    situation [kuro5hin.org]
    are [kuro5hin.org]
    linked [kuro5hin.org]
    .

    • The fundamental problem is with the way Western Civilization has decided to monetize clan structures, raising the floor on the cost of living, while it takes the deracinated clans and moves them into a pseudo-clan identity via national defense and police protection of monetized assets. Western civilization is now addicted to this con-game and can't allow people to reconstitute their clan structures lest they realize how horrendous the crime has been committed against them, and through them in their dracinat
  • Nor should he (Score:5, Insightful)

    by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:55AM (#9028016) Homepage
    but have no guarantees of good jobs when they graduate, Barrett remarks 'I don't have a solution to that one.'"

    "Guarantees" of a good job? Give me a break! Nobody is guaranteed anything in life, nor should they be.

    Look, I got laid off by the dot com crash three years ago and it took me nearly a year to find new work. Did I whine and moan about how I should've been "guaranteed" a good job? No! I made the choice to leave a larger, slower company to join a smaller, faster one with an eye towards more money and rapid advancement. When it came to a halt, I had no one to blame but myself. Nobody put a gun to my head and said "hey, leave this stable job for a riskier one!"

    For that matter, these college grads who are complaining about poor job prospects should think for a moment (something college, of course, consistently discourages in graduates). Um, who put a gun to their heads and forced them to become Computer Science majors? Answer: NOBODY. It might have seemed a good choice four years ago when things were still kinda booming, but thems the breaks. Sometimes you do everything right and you still fail. That is not a lack of a guarantee, that is life. I know that's a radically uncomfortable concept for a twentysomething college grad, but they'd better get used to it.

    As for outsourcing, I'm all for it if it makes financial sense for the company. We as consumers benefit from outsourcing in the form of lower prices. If price savings aren't carried over to consumers, we can still benefit from increased corporate profit margins by becoming stockholders in that company. Regardless, companies have no law preventing them from outsourcing, and any such law would very likely be unconstitutional in the first place.

    Quit whining about outsourcing and start looking for ways you can benefit from it. It will require effort, intelligence, judgement skills, and hard work, so it's likely college grads will be totally out of their element. But it's better to get started early on understanding how life works instead of living in the fantasy world of college for an extended period of time. If you fail a course in life, rarely is there a makeup test.
  • by maximino (767005) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @11:59AM (#9028042)
    I'm generally a pro free trade person; I see the arguments to be made in favor of outsourcing.

    What I do have a problem with is that consumers are not allowed to take advantage of the same competitive edges that these large companies are. Nike can hire Chinese workers because they're cheaper, OK, I can live with that. Why can't I buy a Chinese DVD (legitimate, not a knockoff) or an Indian pharmaceutical product if I want to? Instead I've got to pay American prices (highly inflated) even though these people have products to sell, advanced communication can get me in touch with them, and transportation can get it to me cheaply.

  • by Gannoc (210256) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:19PM (#9028191)

    Its very clever, because since everyone knows that schools are in poor shape, it tricks some people!

    It bends the arguement so just a FEW MORE people think "Why, Americans are just too stupid!" or "They have to go overseas because we just can't produce the people!"

    When really, we're laying off WELL EDUCATED, HARD WORKING people to put jobs overseas. Whether or not you think outsourcing is a good or bad thing, please don't swallow the latest sound of bullshit from our nation's elite.
  • by the_meager (686660) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:32PM (#9028287)
    If you understand economics, you understand that a country pays for its imports with its exports.

    When jobs are outsourced to other countries, the average level of income and standard of living in 'receiving' countries raises, the average level of income and standard of living in 'exporting' countries stays roughly the same. It the country of origin, the average level of income and standard of living raises as people stop whining about losing their "American Jobs" (ignorant of the fact that "American jobs" is a myth) and get out and find a new productive job.

    When you lose your job to someone overseas, it's the market telling you that your skills are worth something better. Well, at least if you got off your lazy ass and actually continously educate yourself and expand your skills in various fields.

    When the economy of a foreign country becomes stronger, they then have more money to spend on imports into their country. Very few countries (well, none really) can have everything they want as cheap as they want as fast and efficient as they want.

    Be creative. Be useful. Don't be afraid of a little change. It's funny how so many /programmers/ fall into the cliche of not enjoying working in a cubicle because humans weren't meant to (Office space, anyone?) but yet they roar up a storm when they lose said job.

    A monopoly refers to lack of competition. Please, no more nonsense about WalMart's evil outsourcing, either. American made goods are of higher quality. American programmers produce better qualitiy code (possible reason for the slowing down of job outsourcing for the more highly skilled positions?)

    Let's recap:
    -One pays for imports with exports. As with the individual, so is with a nation.
    -Stronger foreign economies means more money to be spent important American goods into said country. (The world loves American goods, so why are we afraid of them having enough money to buy them?)
    -Losing your job due to finding someone who can do a sufficient job cheaper means that you can earn more money and are capable of more difficult work.

    It's really disheartening when faux-intellectuals run off about evil corporations and blood money, and then propose that more government (laws, regulation, agencies, and officials) be put into play in order to prevent evil business.

    Right, because we know if a monopoly forms naturally, it is by definition a good thing and that no "monopoly" in U.S. history formed without the helping hand of big government. Also, Microsoft is not a monopoly, and the reason it acts as it does it because of government "regulation" permitting it. Microsoft has plenty of competition. I'm writing this off of a Redhat box.

    Book Recommendations:
    Hazlitt - Economics In One Lesson
    Hayek - The Road to Serfdom
    von Mises - Human Actions
    Folsom - Myth of the Robber Barons

    Pretty much read anything by Milton Friedman, Frederic Bastiat, von Mises, Hyek, Rothbard, Szasz, Hazlitt, and Sowell.

    And let's not forget Chodorov's Income Tax: The Power To Destroy (or was it, Root of All Evil? Look it up yourselves).

    about it... for now?
  • by foidulus (743482) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:35PM (#9028304)
    Is for countries worldwide to work towards eliminating "dollar dependence" The trade we have today isn't trade in any sense of the word, basically the US gives other countries little pieces of paper in exchange for manufactured goods, programming, call centers etc. If you ask me this isn't trade in any sense of the word. Because the US economy is the biggest economy in the world, the dollar is considered the most desirable and "safest" currency(Though if Britain joined the EU, the Euro will probably take it's place, but for the time being the UK isn't in a rush to join because of it's oil supplies, but I digress). This has introduced a world-wide "dollar dependency" ie every country in the world wants the most dollars possible(versus other currencies) to help it's economy grow. This worked out really well during Japan's economic miracle, because the Japanese could take their dollars and exchange it for anything(Canadian wood, Saudi oil), but look at Japan now. They are buying tons of dollars just to keep the yen as weak as possible(more yen to the dollar means Japanese products are cheaper). Now, Japan is just one country, a relatively small country at that. What happens when 3 billion others try this same thing? We are already seeing it, the value of the dollar is starting to fall. As the supply of dollars outside the US continues to skyrocket, each dollar is going to be worth less(supply and demand! Even the IMF said that America's huge trade and budget deficits are a threat to the world economy) So what happens when India, who bases a lot of their growth on exports to the US finds out that the dollar is worthless? Some argue that they could just transition to exporting to Japan, Europe(which they do now, but on a very small scale) But these countries will also be dealing with the falling dollar. Also, transitions do not happen overnight. Not to mention that OPEC prices it's oil in dollars too.

    My opinion is that if the US opens it's market to the rest of the world, the rest of the world should reciprocate. This is most definately not the case. So all you people scream free trade, but to me, the trade is anything but free. The US should use it's considerable infuence to pressure these countries to open up their markets and move towards a more balanced approach to trade, ie trade goods for goods, services for services, instead of trading little pieces of paper.
  • The Solution (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kf6auf (719514) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:55PM (#9028477)
    Convince shareholders to outsource CEOs from (Santa Clara) California wiith a high cost of living to somewhere in Kansas, just to show them that the real way to increase company profits is to pay CEOs a reasonable amount of money. Maybe then those CEOs would be nicer to their employees here in America (I'm sure companies in Europe could do the same thing) not to mention fewer CEOs with ridiculous amounts of money.
  • by lazzaro (29860) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @12:56PM (#9028481) Homepage
    Someone from Intel Labs came and gave a talk here a few weeks ago, and dropped an interesting fact -- they've learned how to distribute a processor team within a single time zone or two pretty well (say, Oregon, Santa Clara, and Folsom), but the amount of daily interaction needed for a custom chip makes distributing a single design between, say, India, Oregon, and Israel not easy at all. So, processor design jobs are stickier to a region, for the same reason full-custom VLSI is so hard in general (and avoided whenever possible) -- breaking the design apart horizontally (architecture, logic, circuit, layout) and vertically (ALU, register files, caches) leaves everyone with a schedule full of meetings each week to make sure details aren't falling through the cracks. The only practical way to outsource is to create the whole team in a region, and finding 200 specialists to fill all the roles a processor needs takes a generation of preparation (successful example: Intel Israel).
  • Oh, the poor man! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dentar (6540) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @01:28PM (#9028747) Homepage Journal
    So the poor little CEO is crying because someone called him Benedict? I say companies that outsource just to raise the bottom line should LOSE ALL TAX BREAKS!

    I'll do it!

    TRAITOR!!

  • by CptNerd (455084) <adiseker@lexonia.net> on Saturday May 01, 2004 @01:44PM (#9028868) Homepage


    At what stage in US history was it ever the case that anyone had a guarantee of a good job???

    Geeze, we Americans have gotten as bad a Europeans, we demand that someone has to take care of us, or else we whine about how unfair everything is!

    Hellfire, if my parents had had that attitude during the Depression, they wouldn't have ever married and raised a family, since there definitely were no "guaranteed jobs!" My Dad was a coal miner, but when the mines shut down, he packed everyone up and headed to Detroit to find work, and if he couldn't work at a car plant, he worked odd jobs, worked at tool and die plants, worked wherever he could. Mom would work checkouts, or wherever she could, even if it was shit work (washing the diapers for kids she babysat surely counts).

    There are times I really despair about the future of the US, if the generations to come are expecting endless "guarantees" and special treatment. What the hell will happen when we do have another Great Depression? From the attitudes being shown by the current crop of whiners, I predict mass suicide by people too shocked to cope.

  • by friartux (89443) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @02:00PM (#9028991)

    It's really troublesome how much money is squandered on expensive executives... but it looks like there's a grand solution out there:

    OffshoreExecutive [offshoreexecutive.com]

  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @02:29PM (#9029184) Journal
    "No single drop of water thinks it is responsible for the flood"

    This is the problem with capitolism in America... Each company will do what will net it the most money in the short term, while screwing themselves over in the long-term... It was self-regulating when companies were small, but now they can destroy the economy in one city and not be affected, because they service such a large area, that an economic disaster in one city doesn't seriously affect their sales anymore.

    Outsourcing is only one example. I'd say it's comparable to companies settling frivilous lawsuits... It might cost them more to fight a case, rather than settle, but if they fought a few, people would get the message, and wouldn't file frivilous lawsuits anymore. On a case-by-case basis, settling is better, but pretty soon, there are millions of frivilous lawsuits, and the company would go bankrupt if they settle them all.

    Outsourcing is the same thing... You can rationalize it by saying that it will drop prices and increase sales, but that doesn't happen because, *gasp* the economy is doing poorly. They will continue to complain about the terrible economy, while they are outsourcing more jobs.

    It's time to increase tarriffs people. They were actually invented just to prevent countries with more competitive economic conditions from completely taking over, like China and India are now.

    And before I hear from you free-trade advocates, you need to take a look at what's happened because of NAFTA. Things have not gotten better, they've gotten worse. There are a few people making a tiny bit more money, but the majority of Mexicans are making less, mainly because their former jobs are gone... Corn farmers in Mexico are out of work because of the industrialized corn farmers in the US. Yet the farmers in the US still aren't making enough money to support themselves. It's been lose-lose almost exclusively, and dropping tarriffs across the board would be catastrophic.
  • I know it's always bad form to inroduce verifiable facts into a the latest Slashdot two-minute hate, but Daniel T. Griswold of the Cato Institute [cato.org] has a rather different (and seemingly more informed) view of outsourcing than most expressed in this thread. In his article in the May 3, 2004 issue of National Review [nationalreview.com] (which does not appear to be online for non-subscribers), he makes the following points:
    • America is actually a net benificiary of outsourced jobs (i.e., more money comes in from foreign countries outsourcing jobs to the U.S. than are lost outsourcing jobs from the U.S. to foreign contries). "In 2002, U.S. companies exported $14.8 billion worth of computer, data-processing, research, development, construction, archicetural, engineering and other IT services. During that same year, America imported $3.9 billion of those same kinds of services. So for every dollar Americans sent abroad for outsourcing, the world sent more than three dollars to the US. for 'insourcing.'"
    • According to a 2003 study by the McKinsey Global Institue, every $1 spent on foreign outspurcing creates $1.12 to $1.14 of additional economic activity in the U.S.
    • The vast majority of job losses due to outsourcing have been for lower skill jobs. Between 1999 and 2002, IT jobs went from 6.24 million to 5.95 million. However, during the same period of time, those requiring a relatively high level of training (i.e., an associates degree or higher) actually increased, from 3.43 million to 3.51 million.
    • If you use the saner baseline of 1998 rather than the peak of the dotcom bubble, things look better still. Current IT employment levels are equal to those of 1998.
    • "Domestic software, computer, and communications services accounted for a combined 4621 billion in 2003, up from $510 billion in 1999."
    • Far more people loose their jobs to technology or domestic competition than outsourcing.
    • The total outsourcing between 2000 and 2015 is only projected (by Forrester Research) to be 3.3 million jobs, or about 220,000 a year. This is a fairly miniscule number for an economy that employees 137 million, where an average of 350,000 million people file for unemployment every week even in strong economies, and which creates and average of 32.8 million news jobs (while eliminating 31 million, for a net annual gain of 1.8 million jobs) every year.
    • Outsourced jobs tend to go to countries that emulate the United States with low taxes and deregulated economies, and the foreign companies jobs are outsourced to tend to buy American equipment and services to do the job.
    A lot of the reason you see so many complaints about outsourcing on Slashdot tends to be the reinforced tendencies of self-selected sets. The people who do lose their job to outsourcing are the ones that complain loudest and longest, and the ones whose sob stories get modded up. The people who haven't lost their job, or who work in a company that benefits from "insourcing," have no particular reason to speak up. The fact is, outsourcing is just one of the more painful parts of free trade, but free trade improves the lives of everyone. You have to be able to look at the big picture to see that.

    • by silverbax (452214) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @03:20PM (#9029528)
      These are interesting points. I do see that you've made no mention of the huge tax breaks that companies are currently getting by outsourcing.

      These same breaks are illegal for citizens.

      The argument that this is 'just part of free trade' is only valid if you ignore the fact that laws are constantly being re-shaped to allow and encourage corporations to dump resources oversees. In addition, financial analasis is generally rotgut at best. Find me a noted economist who can prove numbers showing the benfits of outsourcing and I'll show you two who have just as much evidence of the opposite.

      The basic premise is this: If the U.S. corporations are allowed to circumvent free trade, they will do so. This will result in lower wages across the board. Claiming that it's okay because the jobs lost are less skilled is ignoring the fact that the VAST MAJORITY of paychecks in the U.S. fall into that category, and all of those meager paychecks are used to purchase services from those of us who hold better jobs. I owe my job to Wal-Mart employees and truck drivers.

    • by mabu (178417) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @03:37PM (#9029642)
      A lot of the reason you see so many complaints about outsourcing on Slashdot tends to be the reinforced tendencies of self-selected sets.

      Oh, and yours isn't?

      The National Review. Shill for selected sets of political agendas propped up by the likes of Pfizer, Merck and Halliburton. There's a publication that's the bastion of objective and well thought out journalism.

      Oh, and let's talk about the "distinguished" CATO Institute, a right-wing organization masquerading as libertarian to further the agenda of a select group of uber-powerful business interests. CATO was founded by a huge grant from a Chemical/Petroleum industry heir named Charles Koch.

      * Cato leads the right-wing's push for privatization of government services. In 2001, the Washington Post, noting Cato's influence, said it "has spent about $3 million in the past six years to run a virtual war room to promote Social Security privatization."

      * Cato supports the wholesale elimination of eight cabinet agencies - Commerce, Education, Energy, Labor, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation and Veterans Affairs - and the privatization of many government services.

      * Right-wing foundations that fund Cato include: Castle Rock, Sarah Scaife, Koch Charitable, Olin, Earhart, and Bradley Foundations.

      * CATO's corporate benefactors include:
      Philip Morris, R.J. Reynolds, Bell Atlantic Network Services, BellSouth Corporation, Digital Equipment Corporation, GTE Corporation, Microsoft Corp- oration, Netscape Communications Corporation, NYNEX Corporation, Sun Microsystems, Viacom International, American Express, Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Citicorp/Citibank, Commonwealth Fund, Prudential Securities and Salomon Brothers. Energy conglomerates include: Chevron Companies, Exxon Company, Shell Oil Company and Tenneco Gas, as well as the American Petroleum Institute, Amoco Foundation and Atlantic Richfield Foundation. Cato's pharmaceutical donors include Eli Lilly & Company, Merck & Company and Pfizer, Inc.

      I wonder how many of the above companies are outsourcing? Probably every one of them.

      The Washington post characterize'd CATO's agenda as, "A soup-to-nuts agenda to reduce spending, kill programs, terminate whole agencies and dramatically restrict the power of the federal government." That sounds really good in theory, but the underlying agenda of CATO is to pump out polarized "research" to further this cause, which ultimately divests critical responsibilities to a small set of mega-corporations, which probably have less a sense of responsibility and ethics than the government.

      I'd be real scared of the future they're promoting..
  • by mabu (178417) on Saturday May 01, 2004 @03:17PM (#9029509)
    IMO, outsourcing is merely a symptom of a much larger problem that has psychological and sociological roots.

    I submit:

    * There's a fundamental paradigm shift in the mindset of the American work force. This is evident in all societies that become more capitalist and consumer-centric, and America being the leader of this trend, exhibits the pathology to a more extreme degree than other societies. America also has a less-substantive cultural background from which its sense of purpose has evolved when compared with Asian or European cultures and this also contributes.

    * While there are numerous exceptions, I see a substantive trend towards the output of the American worker, on average, considered little more than a means to an end. Sense of pride in a job well done now takes a back seat to revenue generated and the collection of material posessions.

    * The new, extreme consumer-centric American society revolves around selling neatly-packaged, instantaneous [seeming] solutions to solve all known problems.

    We have new economies rapidly being built around business models driven by the idea that everything needs to be constantly updated, upgraded and replaced. Things aren't built to last "forever"; products are specifically engineered to be quickly obsoleted in order to maintain a constant scheme of consumption and revenue.

    * So now we have a society where we have managed to easily provide ourselves of basic necessities, and are now "manufacturing desire" as a product unto itself. The process of creating this market has two really bad side-effects: First, we are conditioned to consider all products to be inadequate, even from the moment we produce or acquire them. The fact that nothing is ever good enough demoralizes our work force. So nobody really cares about the quality of their work. Second, the process of promoting this consumer-centric model manifests itself in an ever-increasing sensory bombardment of messages promoting inadequacy and simple solutions (however unrealistic) to complex problems. People become ADD and progressively less-capable of addressing issues from a proactive perspective.

    * So in our great, advanced society, we are overrun by those seeking simple solutions to complex problems, and those promoting simple solutions to complex problems. Our work ethic has gone to shit. We're so constantly bombarded with messages of inadequacy and the idea that "upgrading" will make everything instantly better, that we're not motivated to take the long road, understand why things fail, and actually solve problems. We just keep putting band-aids on things and passing the buck.

    * In many markets, this pathology isn't as critical, but when you talk of computer systems, their ability to be qualified as capable or non-capable are obvious. So when you need a complex system developed, outsourcing the project to a different cultural state, that isn't so tainted (yet), and still maintains more of a sense of pride in a job well done, makes sense.

    I've always felt that outsourcing was less about money and more about quality. And the truth is, the tech industry in America has become overly politicized, and the American worker has a dramatically diminished work ethic that is the result of his ever-changing environment, which de-emphasizes the significance of a job well done in favor of upgrading to the next perfect solution.

    Is education an issue here? Yes, but it's not as much dependent upon the knowledge people posess as it is the need to educate people on more abstract concepts involving a non-materialistic search for satisfaction, pride and productivity.
  • I've never owned a computer with an Intel processor. Even my first 286 boxes were AMD. It's the only thing that makes me feel better about reading this.

    As for Barrett... the obvious question is... if he wants to export every professional-level job in his organization to the Third World, why would the quality of US education matter to him? Another obvious point is... if the quality of education in the US is so bad, why are so many foriegners sending their kids TO the USA for a college education? Not to say that our public schools don't suck, but our college grads seem to be as well educated as everyone else's. Our college system might be more efficient if we didn't have so many kids requiring bonehead English as freshmen, but I don't see a lot of urgency with respect to improving primary and secondary education unless we have some idea as to where these kids will be working when they get out of college.

    Of course, his real goal here is to persuade kids to stay in school, run up tens of thousands of dollars in debt so Intel and other US companies can cherry-pick the top 5% and the rest can go to work at Walmart or McDonald's starting their adult lives tens of thousands of dollars in debt, even worse off than the people around them who didn't "try to make it through the system".

    What he is whining about is:
    1) Barrett isn't complaining about the lack of trained professionals, he is complaining about the lack of professionals willing to work for minimum wage.
    2) It is unlikely that he actually believes what he's saying. The cognitive dissonance between his saying "get all the education you can" and "I don't have a solution to that" is a bit too obvious. What he's trying to protect is not Intel, but his ability to pick up a few more quarters worth of vested stock options and their market price before he retires and sells out. If America is no longer a fit place to live even for the wealthy by the time he's done, there are other countries. If Intel is screwed long-term due to Barrett's use of Intel resources to train foriegn competitors, he will have no reason to care, he'll have made his pile. If regulation hits the outshoring marketplace, even if the regulation only eliminates US subsidies to outsourcing, investment analysts will be looking a lot harder at Intel's financials, and using offshoring as an excuse to cook the books to show higher quarterly profit won't work anymore. This would interfere with his pursuit of wealth at the expense of everybody else.

    With respect to competitive marketplaces, Intel has been #1 for so long despite generally inferior products (see also Microsloth) that Barrett won't know a competitive marketplace until it bites him in the ass.

    As for comparing him with Benedict Arnold. . . it isn't fair, he and his generation of CEOs appear to be trying to do even more damage to America long-term than Benedict ever dreamed of. If Benedict Arnold's treason had worked out, a few thousand Americans might have wound up "up against the wall". But people would still have been able to farm land and make things, they would merely have been paying taxes to England without representation for a couple or three more generations.

    The long-term result of offshoring as it's being practiced now will inevitably result in Americans as a group moving way down the economic ladder. Want to see hunger and poverty in America and a generation of college educated kids with no jobs available above the warm body level? Just wait.

    What's the alternative? Other than changing law and regulations that favor offshoring, massive public sector investment in basic science and technology R&D to create the products and services of tomorrow.

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