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Apple Pulls Out of India 696

Posted by Zonk
from the curious dept.
tanveer1979 writes "Barely 3 months after it commenced India operations, Apple has decided to pull out its software operations from Bangalore. The employees will be given a severance package which is equal to two months' pay. The sales and marketing operations will remain on (these consist of around 30 people) but the software and support will be completely pulled out." From the article: "Apple had set itself a hiring target of 600 by the year-end. After a gala induction ceremony on April 17, the operations team went to Transworks for training. Some of the managers were about to leave for the US for further training when they were asked to stay put."
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Apple Pulls Out of India

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  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:29PM (#15464171) Journal

    Last paragraph of the article, from an India employee losing his (or her) job:

    "On May 15, Apple officials addressed us and were highly appreciative of the workforce and the task it would execute in India. I wonder why they never said anything even then," said another fired employee.

    Yeah, there are a lot of U.S. employees familiar with that feeling. Welcome to the global market.

    Personally, I find it just as offensive companies whimsically shift work forces, often at high personal and financial cost to employees caught unawares, whether it be in the U.S. or India. I'd like to say, "see how it feels?", but I find no satisfaction in that. I guess the global economy does apply globally. It really does become about money on ledger sheets, and little about the workforce and impact on people just trying to make a living. Meanwhile CEOs and other execs reap massive rewards, usually with little relationship to how well their company does because of these decisions.

    (That said, the article is far too short on detail to understand exactly what prompted and triggered the change in plans for Apple.)

  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:35PM (#15464196)
    But to change course like that after a mere three months? Sounds expensive. There must be a story behind that, and plenty of disgruntled amployees. Who wants to spill the beans? (and get sued [thinksecret.com] by Apple :)
  • by bpd1069 (57573) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:38PM (#15464206) Homepage
    Globalization has one real goal, to commoditize the work force. We are just part of a balance sheet.
  • by coupland (160334) * <dchase@NOSPam.hotmail.com> on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:39PM (#15464208) Journal

    "On May 15, Apple officials addressed us and were highly appreciative of the workforce and the task it would execute in India. I wonder why they never said anything even then," said another fired employee.

    Seems pretty cold to me. In a lot of developing countries like this a job at a major multinational serves to support not just the family but the entire extended family. No doubt some of these people even had to quit other jobs to join Apple, and can't return. I worked many years for the international division of a large multinational and saw first-hand the culture of abusing foreign workers because management knew they could work them 14 hours a day and the people couldn't say or do anything about it. And since these people are all classified as "professionals" no one can swoop into the factory to blow the whistle, you have to work whatever overtime is demanded of you, for free. Pretty crummy if you ask me.

  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:42PM (#15464220) Homepage Journal
    The only way 30 people could disappear overnight is if that hiring manager is a corporate officer. Speaking as one who has been in the "hiring manager" role in Silicon Valley for quite some time, it's pretty hard to get rid of people, even poor performers. Yes, California is an at-will state. California's courts, however, have proven to be very pro-employee. So, firing somebody in California usually requires lots of documentation.
  • by elgee (308600) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:43PM (#15464227)
    You don't throw good money after bad when you get a losing poker hand. Perhaps they realized that their India operation was a mistake. I suspect that the beans will get spilled eventually.
  • by theolein (316044) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:55PM (#15464261) Journal
    Despite the HR blurb at the bottom of TFA claiming the Apple India crowd were doing well and all that, I imagine that it was questions of quality that led to the firing of the workforce. Apple's recent Aperture debacle, where it was discovered that Aperture was majorly inferior to Adobe's Lightbox in performance, features and quality probably resulted in a major shakeup in Apple's software development divisions. There have been a number of stories about companies having problems with outsourced software development, and I presume this is another one. My guess is that Apple will probably either increase the size of its Ireland operations or move the development to eastern Europe where the quality is generally known to be good.
  • by Super Dave Osbourne (688888) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:55PM (#15464263)
    That the technology transfer was not happening as smoothly as they thought it would, and the costs became an issue too. Having worked for Apple, then NeXT, then Apple/NeXT and finally Apple again, I have seen this problem long before it became fashionable to outsource oversees. It was true stateside between regions of this country, and even more so with language/cultural barriers in this global market. The axe swings many ways, this time back to another country, possibly back to the US.
  • by vought (160908) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @09:57PM (#15464273)
    I guess a cheaper country was found

    Given Apple's history with outsourced phone groups (burned by SEI's horrible quality and retention in the mid-90s), I sincerely doubt it.

    Apple probably saw that this approach wouldn't meet their quality goals. That's not a slam on Indians or outsourcing, but AppleCare and Apple in general is extremely sensitive to quality and customer satisfaction. 1995-1997 is still very fresh in their minds.
  • by Glonoinha (587375) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:04PM (#15464294) Journal
    Holy fuck - that does it ... I'm going downtown and buying an Apple tomorrow.
    I don't know which, maybe an Intel Mini, maybe an iPod - but something.

    Good job Apple.
  • Re:Irony (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:13PM (#15464321)
    socialism's gone bust? when did that happen? *looks around* oooh, you mean socialism has gone bust in countries that never had it to begin with... Iiii get it....
  • Re:Buzzword (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:20PM (#15464346)
    Actually in this context it is funnier than a motherfucker.
    Not funnier than snakes on a plane, but still pretty damn funny (and there's not a god damn think you can do about it.)
  • by xenocide2 (231786) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:22PM (#15464354) Homepage
    If it's any consolation, the current CEO of Apple was once pushed aside from the company in pursuit of the balance sheet. ;)
  • by AuMatar (183847) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:30PM (#15464379)
    They don't give a fuck- they'll make their money in the short term, and damn the long term.

    Of course wage convergence isn't a bad thing- so long as it converges up, increasing the standard of living in the third world while not hitting the first too badly. It doesn't seem to be going that way though.
  • Socialism??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:34PM (#15464397)
    I hear that europe is more heavily tilted towards socialism - especially France.

    Actually most of the European policital forces usually mislabeled as 'Socialists' or even 'Communists' by US right wingers are actually modern Social Democrats who have become moderate to the point where they generally do not see a conflict between a democratic society with a capitalist market economy and their own goals which in turn means they have very little in common with Marxism, Communism or classical Socialism. To call political parties like the British labor party or even the German PDS/Linkspartei Socialists would actually be considered an insult by a true die-hard Socialist.
  • Re:$40 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by samkass (174571) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:46PM (#15464429) Homepage Journal
    It was meant as humor, and you kind of proved his point. $800/mo would be considered poverty here in the United States-- low enough that if you were a citizen you'd be paying "negative" income taxes on it and getting a couple hundred dollars back from the government each year. And my guess is the folks who answer phones for tech support lines get paid a lot less than that.
  • by bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @10:49PM (#15464437)
    Indian I.T. contractors who didn't have the real world skills they boast on their resume. I'm not in charge of staffing so I don't know how hard these things are to verify, but I would say we spin out 50% of the non-native contractors we get lately because they simply don't know what they are doing. I've had 5 different Java/J-Boss/Linux pros that have no clue what they are doing, all were from India and all boasted extensive Linux and application server skills, but had never heard of SUDO or what shell script starts J-Boss? Add language barriers in to that equation and it usually isn't worth what we are supposedly saving.

    I know our last 2 contractors had to go through a two week trial period at the agencies expense and we kicked both of them back. We probably get just as many bad American contractors, but the whole point of exporting jobs or importing workers was that we gain talents that aren't available here at a lower price. If their skills and education are all suspect and have to be verified at a greater expense and difficulty than local talent why bother? Apple probably found the same thing.

  • by Fulcrum of Evil (560260) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @11:11PM (#15464526)

    There is absolutely nothing that entitles you to get a tech job. The Indians can do the same job you do at a much lower cost. I know if I was your boss, I would probably say something like... "Thank god the racist prick is out on the street where he belongs."

    So now objecting to my job moving overseas is racist? I don't care what race the guy who's doing my job is. I'm opposed to sending the job where I can't follow.

  • The company I work for did a test to see if they could outsource a small project and it also failed miserably. They smartly tried something small but the communication was very lacking. The project floundered for a while, and was in a phase of trying to be finished but they just couldn't get the quality to the point of saying the product was ready. The sad part is that one full timer and a couple student interns could have easily finished the project in two to four months, but the group we out-sourced to couldn't finish up in 9+ months so the axe fell and the contract wasn't fullfilled. We/They decided that oursourcing won't be attempted again. The costs of not being able to hit market with a product are just too high.
  • by Joey7F (307495) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @11:13PM (#15464534) Homepage Journal
    Windows XP FireFox 1.5.0.3

    No problems.

    Back on topic, it should be no surprise that Indian wages are on the rise. While there are a billion people not all of them are qualified to take every job.

    Take tech support. If you are answering phones, you can't be merely functional in English you must be completely fluent and familiar with the culture, the idiomatic expressions, and, now, even adopt the American accent. The low hanging fruit has been picked. If you want talented people in India, the word is out, you got to pay more...or you have to in turn outsource to poorer countries.

    --Joey
  • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @11:21PM (#15464554) Journal
    Apple probably found the same thing.

    Yeah, that's probably what happened. You've not jumping to an incredibly wild conclusion or anything...
  • by weierstrass (669421) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @11:37PM (#15464620) Homepage Journal
    He didn't say as a result of, he said meanwhile. Meaning CEOs and other execs do reap massive rewards from their companies, but not necessarily as a result of outsourcing, often a cost-saving strategy of dubious effectiveness.

    Mr Jobs just sold $295,000,000 worth of Apple stock.

    In 1992, CEOs held 2 percent of the stock of US corporations, nowadays they own 12 percent. In less than 15 years, CEOs (not including other executives, just CEOs), have 'earned' themselves 10 whole percent of corporate America. If the division of pay were entirely fair and equitable, Steve Jobs and his fellow CEOs must be responsible for exactly one tenth of all the wealth created by anyone at all who works for a large corporation.
  • Not surprising (Score:2, Insightful)

    by AmoHongos (467830) on Saturday June 03, 2006 @11:37PM (#15464621)
    Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks Apple is somehow different, hipper, or cooler than the average multinational corporation. They think with their bottom line too.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 03, 2006 @11:50PM (#15464667)
    I mean, if you're one house payment away from the street and pulling down $120k/year, is that really a desirable situation? It's just crazy.

    With very few exceptions, if you're pulling down $120k/year and one house payment away from the street, you've made some really, really stupid choices. That's plenty of cash to build a solid financial foundation. What's crazy is the fools who piss it away on piles and piles of crap they don't need, instead of being reasonable.
  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:00AM (#15464697)
    Someone in California or Texas could follow their job to Wyoming or Georgia. I did it moving to Cincinnati. Following that same job to Bangalore is nigh impossible, for a number of reasons.
  • by AmericanInKiev (453362) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:21AM (#15464774) Homepage
    I think you leap too quickly to the conclusion that moving jobs overseas is moral ambiguous. If companies want to sell in the US - I believe that the people whose lives are on the line to defend the US are entitled to a high priority in the job market. If a company wants to sell in india - that's great - they _should_ give the jobs to locals, but there is a moral right of people to have a place at the table in their own country when their economy is creating the jobs in the first place. If the rest of the World wants a first-rate country - they can follow our lead - create a rule of law - not a theocracy - for example, hold corruption accountable - etc etc, but to move jobs out of the economy which pays for them, while saddling that economy with the other related costs of your business is wrong, and should be discouraged in the strongest sense.

    AIK
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:25AM (#15464794)
    Life is inherently predatorial. Which is to say that for any particular life to flourish it must do so at the expense of other lives. This can be looked at from the perspective of organisms or more generally seen in thermodynamics where the lifecycle in general can be considered as increasing entropy. That is what is so ineloquently meant in introductory economics when one is told that there does not exist a free lunch. For any particular value of 'suffer,' suffering is inescapable because there exists a finite quantity of resources and a decreasing supply of usable energy for manipulating them. 'Wage' in the sense of 'fiat currency' is essentially meaningless for determining the distribution of resources. Every man, woman, and child could have in its possession an equal number of U.S. dollars which would remain constant regardless of any transaction. This of course would mean very little as to the welfare of those in possession of such dollars or any abstract currency for that matter. Such a situation would do essentially nothing to provide for the needs of the world population, and would simply push the currency out of use.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:29AM (#15464811)
    The I.T. pros in India are like any other country, about 30% of them know what they are doing, another 30% can muddle through without being destructive and the remainder are frauds and idiots. Quite a few companies have realized they aren't saving anything by selling out the American workforce, I can only hope more do so every day.
  • by Greslin (842361) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:42AM (#15464850) Homepage
    There is absolutely nothing that entitles you to get a tech job. The Indians can do the same job you do at a much lower cost.

    Well, AC, you know what? In today's global marketplace, nothing entitles you to keep your tech job for longer than three months if your corporate benefactors have a mood swing. Welcome to the party, glad you're here, let me take your coat.

    Last number of years, Americans working in tech have had the blade of Indian outsourcing dangled over their heads, customarily as blackmail to force longer hours on fixed salaries. When there's just no more blood to be squeezed from the stone, boom, time to pack up, lay off and ship.

    Meanwhile - and I'm saying this from experience working for a large American telecom that fired damned near everybody a few years ago to restock with cheap Indian labor - the Indians coming in would take all this as a show of cultural and intellectual superiority over us pampered, lazy Americans. Not all Indians, but certainly more than enough to carry the stereotype. We Americans have spent the last five years being barely tolerated by Indian coworkers touting the "get used to it, global economy, cheaper and better" dogma.

    Now suddenly you're starting to sound like union men! Think it's shitty that Apple changed their minds? I've read other comments in this story pointing out that folks in India have extended families to care for, that they probably had to quit jobs they couldn't get back, etc etc etc. Well, the knife cuts both ways.

    You guys weren't being aggressively competitive. You guys were simply used. We know how you feel.

    Thing is, as we had to explain to our families why our jobs were being sent overseas, we knew the cold truth that you guys are learning now. It was never about better, or even about as good. It was about being okay while being cheaper. A lot cheaper. Period. Corporations did it because it's easier to look competent short term by cutting costs than by increasing income, and the unfortunate truth is that the American economy right now is still pretty much driven by cost cutting. It was also inevitable that, sooner or later, the incentive would begin to evaporate as those outsourced employees started asking for more money.

    A few years ago Dilbert did a strip where our boy tells PHB, "I have some disturbing news. We outsourced our customer service function to India a few years ago. Apparently, they subcontracted the job to Mexico. Then Mexico subcontracted to Vietnam, who subcontracted to the Philippines. . .. who subcontracted it to us. It turns out that we're the lowest-cost provider, because we lie about our hold times. In summary, we pay ourselves to hose ourselves. Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"

    PHB: "We should raise prices?"

    That's it in a nutshell. Again, welcome to the party - chips and dip are in the corner.

    For the record, I agree that doing a three-month cocktease in India was a shitty thing for Apple to do. But then, so was bottom-dollar outsourcing it to begin with. Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  • Re:$40 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlarocco (851450) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:07AM (#15464908) Homepage

    Uh, before you brag too much, you might want to check this [worldbank.org] out.

    $800 a month in India is more than 3 times more than the income of an average person in India.

    $732 a week is only 20% higher than the average Canadian. So imagine making 3 times more than you do right now, and you'll have some idea of how well that guy's doing in India.

    That's why outsourcing is so popular. In theory, companies can hire 4 people in India for the cost of one co-op student here. And to top it off, all 4 of the Indians will be living like kings.

  • by shmert (258705) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:17AM (#15464930) Homepage
    Exactly my experience too. We develop java apps, and needed some C++ work for a small part of a project. I posted on craigslist, and googled, and most C++ consultants available on a per-project basis seemed to be in India. So I contacted them. Out of 6 people I contacted, nobody could even compile the stock sample framework that came with the DTK for the app we were developing with. It was quite a frustrating experience.

    My hunch is that the Indian office overpromised and started working on some shoddy hacked together stuff. When it saw the light of day, the plug was pulled.
  • by raehl (609729) <raehl311@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:28AM (#15464959) Homepage
    If you don't want to be living one mortgage payment from being out on the street, DON'T! Learn to live within your means. Put 25% of your money into your retirement account. Buy a house where you can pay your mortgage payment and then some, or rent a place you can afford. Drive a late model auto. Don't spend $4,000 a year on the latest tech toys. Bring your lunch to work instead of eating out all the time.

    EXCERCISE SOME FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY! If you make $120,000 a year and are one mortgage payment away from being on the street, it's because you're being stupid with your money.
  • Outsourcing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:44AM (#15465012) Homepage Journal

    In industry generally you outsource when you have a large batch of work to do and you don't want to ramp up inhouse. In the software business this generally means finding someone to churn out mountains of code.

    The resulting mountains may look good on the monthly sloc metrics but its not what you want to see as an engineer. If a programmer comes back to me and says he made the required changes and produced negative 200 lines of code I would be happy.

    One reason that a company like apple might decide not to proceed with something like this is that mass production is not really what they are looking for.

    I don't have any problems with India specifically and I think we are going to see more of this situation where the large packages of work, which are less interesting for me anyway, going off shore.

  • by wiggles (30088) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:15AM (#15465087)
    If you make $120,000 a year and are one mortgage payment away from being on the street, it's because you're being stupid with your money.

    Or, you live in California.
  • by arivanov (12034) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @03:36AM (#15465280) Homepage
    Ahem. Seconded

    There are some problems though.

    95+% of the people around you do not. They think that you are crazy. In some jobs sectors it is consirered to be essential to maintain some "class" and it may be very detrimental to your career to be different. Most of banking, finances and consluttancies are angaged in an endless penis measurement contest and it takes some guts and thinking to avoid getting into it or maintain financial discipline. This is especially true if you are a few steps above the bottom of the corporate ladder, high enough for the penis measurement to be in full swing, but too low to have the finances to afford it.

    So as a matter of fact, the culture of the industry sector and the employer need to be taken into account when looking at a salary. 50Kpounds in a "plain IT" or "plain Telecoms" in old Blighty are a reasonable amount of money. 50Kpounds in the banking industry or most consluttancies are peanuts. You will either have to stay one payment away from being thrown out onto the street or you will have to cut somewhere on the "perceived class". In the latter case you essentially volunatrily put yourself on the list of the "first ones to go when the times get tough".

  • by cowbutt (21077) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:29AM (#15465419) Journal
    If you're an Indian who can do a job as well as an American can, why work for Indian wages in India when you can work for American wages in America?

    Because being paid above-average Indian wages in India will buy you a better standard of living than average or below-average wages in America?

    I'm from the UK, and I recognise that although, on exchange rate terms, I could probably get a higher income by working in the US, the extra costs (including social costs) would probably cancel out most, if not all, of the benefit. Of course, the smart thing is probably to work in the US for a short period of time, save as much as possible, then either retire in a cheap part of the world or use your previous highly-paid employment as evidence that you should be as highly-paid in a cheaper part of the world. That all sounds like a bit too much hassle for me, though...

  • by Knuckles (8964) <knuckles@NoSpAm.dantian.org> on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:02AM (#15465487)
    The main reason there are people in China startving ...

    The conditions in China are not near to "people are starving"

    ...is because the opressive government

    Learn some history

  • by Wiseleo (15092) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @05:45AM (#15465561) Homepage
    Buy a property.

    If someone explained to me that owning a property is basically renting for free, I would have done that in 1999.
  • by xero314 (722674) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @06:04AM (#15465609)
    Poor choices in life are no excuse for being a failure. I mean beyond the possibility of illness the thing mentioned in the parent comment are all things you would have control over at one point. If you some how thought it was resonable to purchase a little condo for $1.5 million then you deserve the hardship when the house market crashes (since it would have to crash enough to offset how ever many years of rent you would have otherwise paid.). If you can't figure out how to make a marriage work, or are a poor judge of people then once again I don't feel any sympathy.

    There are families in the united states that survive on just over minimum wage with little governmental assistance. If you ever pulled down $300k a year and find yourself in hard times, you pretty much fucked up and probably should be allowed to handle your personal finances anymore.
  • Re:Socialism??? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ByteGuerrilla (918383) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @07:11AM (#15465741)

    The Labour Party describe themselves as socialists to try and keep the socialists on their side. They are far from socialist now.

    They used to sing the Red Flag before their party conferences and believed in state ownership of economy. When Tony Blair became Labour leader, he removed Clause IV from Labour doctrine (the most sacrosanct clause the party had, it was about public ownership of the highest levels of the economy) and stopped them singing the Red Flag. To try and convince socialists that they are still socialist, they have this apparent 'middle way', where arrangements called Public-Private Partnerships are arranged. This is basically privatisation by another means. Example of a PPP: hiring private company Borlis to maintain public highways.

    The Labour Party is as conservative as the Conservatives used to be, and in moving this way they've forced the Conservatives even further out to the Right.

  • by ap7 (963070) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @08:50AM (#15465975)
    Hmmm.... so when MGM makes movies in Hollywood and shows them in India, am I to insist that all the actors are to be replaced with Indian ones? Should be interesting to see Aamir Khan in that tripe Da Vinci Code instead of Tom Hanks. Maybe Indian actors in all the US and UK TV shows we get here? CNN and BBC also should replace its newsreaders and other staff with Indian ones, eh?

    Or perhaps we should insist that the CKD or SKD kits of cars that are imported should be made by Indians in the US? Boeing passenger and fighter planes ought to be manufactured by them in India by Indian workers only?

    You can see how far things can be pushed with the same rationale. Besides, businesses create costs in the US - but they pay taxes there too and not in India. With the costs they save on labour, they pay out increased dividends. Did you happen to forget that?
  • by Duryo (614878) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @10:23AM (#15466291)
    Most of us in the "1st" world are grossly overpaid as it is, for what your lives really require. Take away the 3000 sq ft home, an SUV in the garage, the 40" LCD TV, PS2, etc, etc and you don't really need the $80K/year job. $50K will do just fine, and you can live comfortably and simply in the 1500ft home, with a compact car,etc

    A little downward convergence would be a great thing for the world, if it was accompanied by an upward movement wrt our spirituality.
  • by ccmay (116316) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:14PM (#15466810)
    if you want to feel small, insignificant and just like a number, there's no place better to go than a Fortune 500 company.

    You know, even at the top of the heap, executives and senior managers sometimes get the boot suddenly and without pity, just like this. Look at what happeneed to Carly Fiorina. As Charles DeGaulle said once, when being begged to run for another term as President of France, "the graveyards are full of indispensable men." Everyone is a replaceable cog in a giant machine, and nobody should be surpised or discouraged because of it. If you don't like it, start your own company where you can be the undisputed kingpin.

    -ccm

  • by mkcmkc (197982) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @12:52PM (#15467010)
    Living in California is being stupid with your money...
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @01:20PM (#15467176)
    I've read some articles over the last few years that young women are finding harder to find men to marry and have kids with.

    Apparently the men are finally getting the message: If there is a divorce you *will* be screwed for a very long time. Everyone seems to know someone who ended up paying the house payments while the ex lived there with her new boyfriend or someone who paid child support, got to see their kids 6 days out of 30 and watched the money spent on toys for the ex-wife instead of the kids.

    And 50% of marriages end in divorce so you have a 50/50 chance of your "true love" turning into a pox on your existance-- and that's assuming you didn't do something to deserve her wrath like screwing around-- if you did that she is likely to spend the rest of her life thinking of new ways to torment you.
  • by SeeMyNuts! (955740) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:15PM (#15467470)
    Most of us in the "1st" world are grossly overpaid as it is, for what your lives really require. Take away the 3000 sq ft home, an SUV in the garage, the 40" LCD TV, PS2, etc, etc and you don't really need the $80K/year job.

    As far as I can tell, it isn't $80K/year jobs, it's credit. There are all sorts of funky mortgages out there, for example. Balloon payments that can be re-mortgaged when they are due, interest-only mortgages that don't reduce principle, mortgages whose payments start low as a "hook" but go up after a few years, someone even mentioned that there are 50-year mortgages, etc. I was also baffled at seeing six and seven year car loans. It used to be that people would try to pay off their cars early and ride the no-payment gravy train for a while. There's also "no payments until past next year" financing for smaller items (furniture, electronics). The CC company keeps increasing my limit, even when I've never had a large balance, ever. There's also car title loan shops and check advance shops popping up everywhere--they must do a good business.

    Children need to learn about cash flow and how loans make banks money. This should be required learning in junior high/high school--before the first credit cards are issued. People are literally pissing away whole years of work for "interest" on small things like cars, beds, and big screen TVs. It's pretty sad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 04, 2006 @02:31PM (#15467552)
    Please don't project whining civilian attitudes toward the US armed forces. It's insulting. The US has an all-volunteer force, and the soldiers know exactly what they're signing up for. Yes, I was in the Military (yes, during the Gulf War), and I just didn't see the "woe is me" attitude so many people project on us.

    It may be hard to imagine for some people, but there are those among us that willingly sacrifice some of taken-for-granted pleasures in life for a larger purpose.

    So even if the military isn't your thing, or you think it's evil, fine. Use the Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders as my example. I never hear anyone say "Boy they treat those Peace Corps volunteers like shit! I bet they don't even have cable TV!"

  • by DocBones (66356) on Sunday June 04, 2006 @04:26PM (#15468104)
    Apple has never been a huge H1-B backer, but Bill Gates is MR. H1-B. He's now lobbying Congress to allow in almost unlimited numbers of foreign programmers - anyone with an American Masters degree, e.g. How they will flock! What Bill wants, Congress rushes to do, and Bill has always loved flocking American programmers!

    Doc

    http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2006/05/26/visas / [salon.com] (may require your sitting through a sponsor's animated ad)

    What's good for Bill Gates...

    The Microsoft mogul says America needs more foreign engineers and programmers to compete. Critics say it's all about cheap labor.

    By Rebecca Clarren
    Salon Magazine ...

    Generally, industry lobbyists are quick with statistics and reports, but in this case it appears they weren't needed. Neither Microsoft nor Intel would reveal how many Ph.D.s or master's students they hired last year, and how many they need for next year. When the companies and their lobbyists were asked what data and reports they showed Congress to convince them of the need for these new visas, they reported that they don't have any reports and statistics. Marcus Courtney, president of WashTech/CWA, a tech workers union, says as long as they have Bill Gates on their side, "they don't need to use anything to substantiate their arguments."

    "William Gates was in Washington, lobbying -- a pretty high-priced lobbyist -- to come talk about the needs of Microsoft, a marvelous company, high-tech, enormous advances for America -- he wants more people with Ph.D.s and wants a larger quota of visas for those people to come in," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the bill's author, told Salon when asked what data the industry had shown him. "We have accommodated that. And we have created more opportunities for people to come in who are students."

    Such ardor for Gates flows from both sides of the aisle. When asked about reports and data presented to convince Democrats on the Judiciary Committee that the U.S. didn't have the workforce it needed to fill these jobs, Tracy Schmaler, spokesperson for the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, responded: "Did you know Bill Gates has been pretty high-profile on this?"

    Critics of the bill, mainly academics and those who represent American tech workers, say they have no voice on this issue; that Congress has been blinded by campaign contributions of big companies. In 2004, Microsoft alone spent $9.46 million on lobbying and hired 16 different firms; it listed immigration as one of its top issues on lobbying disclosure forms, according to data from the nonprofit Center for Responsive Politics. That same year, computer and Internet industries spent $70.5 million on lobbying.

    "There is no greater case study to understand corporate power in politics," says Courtney of the tech workers union. "I could give you 75 reports that prove that H-1B is a horribly flawed program that hurts American workers, but it doesn't matter. As long as Bill Gates says there's a shortage, and that's it, thanks for playing, game over, try again next session."
  • Re:Socialism??? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 05, 2006 @05:25AM (#15470907)
    Their economic policies are definitely socialist. Which is why so many European countries are in an economic death spiral.

    Not purely socialist, this is true. That's why France and Germany haven't collapsed financially - yet - the way Russia did. But their government spending is simply not supportable by their economies, and that's entirely due to socialist policy.

    (The US is presently running a huge budget deficit, but in contrast to the other countries I mentioned, economic growth is more than sufficient to make up for it. US government debt as a proportion of GDP is trending downwards.)


    Rubbish. The European countries with the largest state sectors, the Scandinavian countries, have the strongest economies in Europe, hence the notion that it is the size of the state sectors leading to problems in France and Germany is clearly not tenable. The reality is that very rigid labour markets are responsible for their high unemployment rates: owing to the labour laws, it is virtually impossible to get rid of unnecessary workers when times are bad, so firms are very reluctant to take on new workers when times are good, and the result is high levels of unemployment. This labour market rigidity is entirely unrelated to the size of the welfare state, eg the Scandinavian labour markets are amongst the most flexible in Europe (and this is acceptable to workers because the high level of state support to the unemployed means that losing a job will not destroy an individual's way of life during the time that the individual is retraining or looking for a new job), so unemployment rates are low.

    As to growth, the higher growth of the American economy versus the European economies is almost entirely down to demographics. The high level of immigration to the USA leads to a constantly growing labour supply, and hence higher total output. When looked at in per capita terms, which is what matters for the standard of living, American growth rates are much less impressive. Moreover, any advantage that does exist evaporates when working hours are taken into consideration (American workers 'choose' to work much longer hours than most European workers would tolerate).

    In other words, if you constantly add more workers to the economy, and demand that they work longer and longer hours, with virtually no annual holidays (in Scandinavia, we get much longer holidays than you do in the USA, in addition to much shorter working hours when we're not on holiday), you're obviously going to see an increase in output, but the value of this is unclear. If I can already afford a quality of life I like, working longer hours, or giving up some of my holiday, to produce an even higher income does not raise my standard of living, but lowers it! On the other hand, if the accumulation of more and more possessions has greater value to you than your free time, spending ever more time working will allow you to buy more things (though I can't see the point of owning more and more things, if you have no time to enjoy them).

    The problem of sustainability of the welfare state is common to all industrial countries, because our societies are ageing. The average lifespan is increasing, and with a fixed retirement age, this means a smaller portion of life is being spent working. In order to offset this, the retirement age must obviously be increased, to restore the proportion of work years to pension years.

    The American 'solution' of bringing in more and more immigrants only delays the inevitable, since the immigrants will one day grow old too. Hence it is no solution at all, but more akin to a ticking time bomb. If you keep delaying the inevitable by bringing in more and more immigrants, you'll eventually become as overpopulated as places like India, and yet this giant population will still age, and so you'll still have to face the situation eventually (only it will be much worse).

    Incidentally, with unemployment levels similar to the USA overall, all of the Scandinavian governments are running budget surplusses, wit
  • by gigahawk (745812) on Monday June 05, 2006 @07:46PM (#15476540)

    I suppose that it can be true that wages rise faster than inflation in one particular area, in the short term. Inflation does not always imply a decrease in purchasing power. However, in the long term increases in standard of living and purchasing power are realized by increases in production efficiency. By being able to increase the quantity produced by utilizing the same amount of capital or labor real prices will decrease and more goods will be available to the market.

    More generally when employment and/or wages increase so does the price inflation in that market. India is a country that is already beginning to experience this, even if it's just in certain sectors it will eventually spread to all parts of that economy.

    The fact is that your comment a few posts ago about "they'll make their money in the short term" is in fact fine. Because who defines how long terms are? Any company making any money in any period is fine. It means more wealth, more products, more emploment, etc. The companies don't just take it and stuff it under a pillow, it gets spent somewhere else. Who cares if they move to 50 countries with 50 new industries. It just means cheaper products for you and I and a growing economy for you and I, and the rest of the world. This isn't a zero sum game, wealth is being created throughout the world by teaching other countries to use their resources to educate their people, create technologies, and use their comparative advantage in certain industries to make everyone happier.

    This is for everyone else not you: Someone would innevitably bust in here about how I wouldn't say that if I had lost my job to an Indian or something. Guess what, I have lost jobs to people. Big deal. There is no magic doctrine that says I get to do what I want when I want because I'm better than someone else and am more deserving. You get another job. You work at McDonalds if you have to. You do whatever it takes. If it hurts your pride and it's hard to feed your kids and yourself and they foreclose on your house and you have to live in public housing, then you do it until you can make it better. It's competition and everyone can't be on top. But throughout time more people will be better off because of it than are worse off.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell

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