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Globalization Decimating US I.T. Jobs 1102

Posted by kdawson
from the we-knew-that dept.
mrraven writes, "According to Ronald Reagan's former deputy secretary of the treasury in this article in Counterpunch, globalization is destroying US I.T. jobs. From the article: 'During the past five years (January 01 – January 06), the information sector of the US economy lost 644,000 jobs, or 17.4 per cent of its work force. Computer systems design and related work lost 105,000 jobs, or 8.5 per cent of its work force. Clearly, jobs offshoring is not creating jobs in computers and information technology.'" Paul Craig Roberts quotes a number of formerly pro-globalization economists who are now seeing the light of the harrowing of the US middle class. It's not limited to I.T. Roberts quotes one recanting economist, Alan Blinder, as saying that 42–56 million American service-sector jobs are susceptible to offshoring.
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Globalization Decimating US I.T. Jobs

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  • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:09AM (#16272613) Homepage Journal
    Of course most folks who are actually working in IT could have told you this. I know a number of folks at companies who experienced several rounds of layoffs. They have survived the layoffs, but they are also currently doing the job of two to three employees now versus prior to the layoffs. Morale is low, pay has not kept up with the cost of living increases, the cost of health care or inflation. Productivity is still there, but burnout is likely in these individuals. Other people I know that did lose their jobs ended up going back to school and getting out of IT entirely which I suspect is not an isolated situation and would lead to skewed unemployment statistics.

    The thing that worries me is that this is not an isolated employment sector, and I predict that we are in more trouble than we might know. Historically we have relied on our research and development to keep this country on top technologically, but over the last five years or so, we have been reducing the amount of funding we spend on research and development, particularly in the biosciences. For example, if you were to look at NIH grant paylines, five years ago the payline was around 33%. Next year it is predicted to be anywhere from 10-14% meaning the likelihood that a researcher will obtain funding has been cut by more than half. In fact, research and education spending on the whole is down under the current White House administration. So, if we are supposed to rely on education, technology and research and development to keep our edge as a country, we are already in trouble, especially when one considers that even if we were to turn things around tomorrow, we have likely done enough damage that it will take a decade to recover.

    • by chill (34294) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:14AM (#16272657) Journal
      Speaking of R&D... ...one of the comments made by Lucent CEO Patricia Russo about the pending merger with Alcatel said (and I'm paraphrasing because I don't have the quote in front of me):

      "Alcatel does not do the kind of research that Lucent has historically done at Bell Labs. Future projects at Bell Labs will need to focus on productization in a 5-year timeframe. This transition has already started."

      Science and research for the sake of science and research is now officially dead at Bell Labs. If they can't turn it into something that can be sold within 5 years, shitcan it.
      • by HuguesT (84078) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:51AM (#16272981)
        This is an interesting commment, except that Alcatel, like any large telco would have been dead long ago if they hadn't done or sponsored a modicum of basic research, and they have, see this [alcatel.com] for example.

        Meanwhile, at Bell Labs, things have been business-focused for a very long time. Remember that Thompson, Richie et al. couldn't get funding to make a new O/S, they had to pretend they were writing a text processor instead [ualberta.ca].


        The first version of @acronym{UNIX} was developed on a PDP-7 which was sitting around Bell Labs. In 1971 the developers wanted to get a PDP-11 for further work on the operating system. In order to justify the cost for this system, they proposed that they would implement a document formatting system for the AT&T patents division. This first formatting program was a reimplementation of McIllroy's roff, written by J. F. Ossanna.
        • by hey! (33014) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:33AM (#16274279) Homepage Journal
          Meanwhile, at Bell Labs, things have been business-focused for a very long time.

          I'm not sure you counterexample is a good one. Operating systems are more likea product than basic research, although at the time this was less so than today. You take away know-how from both, but you need to have a plan for what to do with a product. Up until then, OSs were tied very closely to hardware; UNIX turned out to be the most portable operating system ever.

          You are missing a major point though. Bell Labs had enoug people of this caliber running around that a couple of rapscallions could, with a wink and their fingers crossed, create an operating system under th guise of porting roff. In part this was due to the overal wastefulness of Bell as a regulated monopoly. They told the regulators how much it took to run a telephone system, and the regulators marked that figure up. But it goes to show if you're going to waste money, at least you should waste it on something useful.

          Another factor that is different now than then is government investment in research. Part of this was the cold war, which post sputnik threw a lot of money at applied research projects, possibly because nobody knew where the next marginal dollar.

          Current attitudes towards government investment in applied research in Washington are rather negative. The idea is that it amounts to "government planning", and that applied research interferes with market efficiencies in allocating research capital to applied problems. Basic research -- OK for the government, but applied research is somebody else's job. Unfortunately, their counterparts in the US private sector is increasingly thinking the same thing, that their job is watching the quarterly profits and applied research is somebody else's job. That's what Lucent was saying; they shouldn't be in the applied research business anymore. The Federal government has cut research funding in energy R&D, agricultural R&D, and at NOAA, NIST and other Department of Commerce agencies.

          It's not that the government doesn't do research anymore. Nor is it the case that the government and private sector don't do ANY applied research. But Lucent has a point. A private sector company can't be expected to invest in research that pays off in ten years; there are too many uncertainties in business to ask investors to shoulder that. Five years is reasonable. But if five years is a reasonable end point for private sector research efforts, and, say, twenty years is a reasonable starting point for public sector research efforts, then we have a massive gap in the 5-20 year range. That applied research gap is a massive national economic vulnerability.
          • by carpeweb (949895) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:11AM (#16274451) Journal
            They told the regulators how much it took to run a telephone system, and the regulators marked that figure up.

            IIRC, they were regulated under a CAPM regime. Under the Capital Asset Pricing Model, regulators allow for a "fair" rate of return on invested capital. (The definition of "fair" might or might not include a reduction or negative premium to account for the near-zero risk, but that's not relevant to my point.) So, regulated monopolies such as AT&T had a very strong incentive to boost their fixed assets. Any "investment" (i.e., spending) they could capitalize would go into their rate base, which would allow them to earn more profit. (They also had an equally strong incentive to use the slowest depreciation accounting methods, thereby extending the allowed earnings on those "investments".) It doesn't completely explain their investments in R&D, but it does help explain the very posh nature of the physical plant at the old Bell Labs, for example.

            But it goes to show if you're going to waste money, at least you should waste it on something useful.

            Not really. The lesson was, "if you're going to waste money, at least convince the regulators that it was 'investment' and not 'spending'".
            • by Secrity (742221) on Monday October 02, 2006 @09:27AM (#16275801)
              It doesn't completely explain their investments in R&D, but it does help explain the very posh nature of the physical plant at the old Bell Labs, for example.

              Cough, cough, Bell Labs Holmdale. Other than a few show pieces, I am not sure that Bell Labs or the Bell System had physical plant that was any more posh than any other industrial company at the time. The Bell System physical plant at Long Lines and the local operating companies was solidly overbuilt and equipment was constantly maintained. The biggest thing that changed after the Bell System breakup was that instead of engineering and building telco plant that would operate continously without service interruption for 20 or 30 years, physical plant was designed to last a much shorter time, perhaps 5 years.

              I believe that Western Electric was one of the reasons that Bell Labs was well funded. In 1981, the operating companies paid Western Electric about $500 for all of the parts that made up a Touch Tone, Trimline phone. The Trim Line base cost over $200, the Touch Tone handset cost over $200, the coiled cord cost about $10, and the line cord cost another $10. The operating companies bought almost everything from Western Electric, and everything was gold plated; including pens (Waterbury, of course), paper, electron tubes (some of which are coveted today), vacuum cleaners, wire, telco equipment (including installation), dust cloths, tools, computers (which were not called computers, usually they were called processors or controllers) -- everything. Western Electric's prices were not regulated, the operating companies' rates were based upon what it cost to provide the service - which included what it paid Western Electric.
      • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:56AM (#16274103)
        Selecting Jan 2001 as a comparison point is plain stupid. This is still during the whole dot.com bubble which was an insane anomoly and using this is as dumb as using hurricane Katrina as a reference point for wind speeds.

        For anyone that has forgotten, you could get an IT job during dot.com if you could just spell cumputer^Wcomputer. For a more realistic point of reference, choose a point before dot.com, say Jan 1999. Do that and you;ll probably notice some growth.

        • by cbreaker (561297) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:03AM (#16276215) Journal
          If you actually read it (I know, it was longer then a digg blurb, so you probably didn't) you'd have seen that he used many dates, but the fact that many of his comparisons STARTED with 2001 (which you yourself said was a shitty time for IT workers) and compare them with TODAY (or close as he could get with the data) while showing NO growth or negative growth is scary. In other words, since the shittiest time after the .com blowout, there's been hardly any tangable IT growth.

          He blames it on offshoring in general, and I agree with him. Off-shoring IT is a direct IT-job losing situation, but all off-shoring has a serious impact on our economy in general. It's the huge companies getting bigger, and being as greedy as possible while doing it.

          So, imagine if he compared things to the year 2000 or 1999? It would look *completely* bleak.
    • by dingDaShan (818817) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:47AM (#16272947)
      Yea, I am experiencing this too... This guy from Singapore installed a router here and he was in India at the time. It was really amazing how foreigners can defy physics now. Geez the internet is changing everything.
    • by TheUglyAmerican (767829) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:27AM (#16273329)
      Disclaimer: I am an IT manager who sets up and runs IT groups in India. So I'm the "bad guy" I guess.

      1. Outsourcing is not new. And the reaction by the IT industry is not new. The garment industry was outsourced, the steel industry, to a degree the automotive industry. It happens. The people directly impacted don't like it but as long as it make economic sense, outsourcing will happen. Adapt to survive and thrive.

      2. Isolated protective measures to limit outsourcing will ultimately fail. If you put restrictions on US companies that increase their costs while overseas competitors have no such restrictions, US companies will be at a competitive disadvantage ultimately hurting their growth and their employees.

      3. Outsourcing is not easy in the IT industry. I can point to as many failures as successes. Not every company in the US that needs IT resources will be candidates for outsourcing. Not every job will end up overseas. In fact even though my entire IT organization is in India I'll soon be looking for a Systems Engineer in the US because I'm not happy with what I find in India.

      4. Salaries for IT candidates in India are increasing very rapidly (think Silicon Valley, 1999). Given the inherent inefficiency of dealing with people great distances away, the economics of outsourcing are getting worse.

      5. Decimation means to kill off 10%, not 90% as some posts have said. From Wikipedia: The word decimation is derived from Latin meaning "removal of a tenth." So the article is correct, this is decimation.

      6. I could be wrong on any or all of the above.
      • by PygmySurfer (442860) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:44AM (#16273417)
        It's offshoring, not outsourcing.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by AaronLawrence (600990) *
        The problem is of course, is there ANYTHING productive left for US and other western societies to do, that they can compete in? It increasingly appears not.
      • by Doppler00 (534739) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:45AM (#16274079) Homepage Journal
        2. Isolated protective measures to limit outsourcing will ultimately fail. If you put restrictions on US companies that increase their costs while overseas competitors have no such restrictions, US companies will be at a competitive disadvantage ultimately hurting their growth and their employees.

        And this is the problem, countries like India and China can get away with horrible working conditions, lapses in saftey standards and employee rights that we take for granted in the U.S. I see examples of this all the time with illegal construction workers here in California. Since they are already in the country illegally, they have no insentive (or knowledge?) to follow OSHA saftey standards that a legitimate construction company would have to follow. If you can get away with the same thing with exported labor, exchanging a few lives for $$$ many companies are willing to do this.

        So essentially, U.S. companies are deffering those costs by working overseas. I for one think companies should be punished financially in someway or guarantee the same worker rights in those foreign countries.

        Another problem, and I think this is the biggest one, is the lack of national pride in the U.S. If the country you live in is say no more important to you then $200 off a plasma TV at Wal-Mart, what are you to care if jobs go overseas? I'm just saying that economically speaking, there is no added value in the tag "made in U.S.A." anymore since it is no longer associated with quality or pride with the average consumer. I suppose an employer sees their employees the same way now, looking at the individual and their qualities instead of "made in U.S.A.". However, if the U.S. does want to stay competitive it still must maintain self interest.

        5. decimation can also mean: to cause great destruction or harm to
        • by TheUglyAmerican (767829) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:33AM (#16274287)
          "Another problem, and I think this is the biggest one, is the lack of national pride in the U.S."

          I agree but it isn't just about cost. 30+ years ago "Made in the USA" meant quality. Does anyone see it that way today? Often people are willing to pay more for things produced overseas because of higher quality.

          We only have ourselves to blame for that.
        • by hany (3601) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:19AM (#16274487) Homepage

          You mentioned one possible solution for this problem: americans should buy products and sevices done by americans. But this is essentialy isolation from the rest of the world, if you want that to work properly, because you need to use just your resources. And also because you have to guard your R&D (if you are good enough, your R&D will be better than that of the rest of the world and you do not want cheap products based on your R&D but foreign cheap labor to tempt americans :) . Or, alternatively, if your R&D wont be better, you have to essentialy deny that the rest of the world exists otherwise americans wont buy "domestic but inferior" products.

          So, IMO, such isolation wont work - it's something similar to what eastern block tried during Cold War or something which China has been doing for quite a long time and is now ceasing to do.

          But what other choice other that isolation is there?

          Well, openess.

          But openess does not mean "we, americans, can do everything, all of you others can do nothing". So no barriers should be used to block others from access to american market.

          But to maintain edge over others (in terms of economic production, standards of living, ...) is like maintaining a "water hill" in the lake - without walls you can to that to some extent only by perpetualy pumping water like fountain (or by manipulating gravity, but I want dwell into such things for now).

          In such analogy, such pump should be something similar to what amaricans used in the past to get the edge: good R&D, freedom, ...

          Of course, your wealth will always try to flow to poorer countries (because of market forces: cheeper labor, more thus cheaper natural resources, better location, ...) but you can view it also in good light:

          1. it is a good reason for your standard of living not to overgrow your own production capabilities (i.e. no deficit in foreign trade which can't be maintained in long term and ends ussualy quite dramaticaly, IMO)
          2. you're helping others out from their poor state (but not by just giving them money but by giving them work to do and paying for it) - TheUglyAmerican wrote it: "Salaries for IT candidates in India are increasing very rapidly" - something not possible without US participating in free world trade and I thing far better than just giving Indians money for doing nothing thus making them unable to take care of themselves

          So yes, maintaing the edge in free world trade is not easy. But it's same with everything else, whether you're trying to be better skier, better swimmer, better hunter, better mathematician, better painter - you have to work on that, not just sit there and claim you are better.

          Same with me: for now I may be enjoying increase in business coming from the US and western Europe to midle-east Eurore but I know that if I go too far (asking too great price not backed by something appropriate: good quality, good performance, ...) my business will go elsewhere very soon - maybe even back the where it came from.

          But that's reality (and openess about the reality).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by daviddennis (10926)
          For me, the lack of national pride - or any kind of pride at all - is the big problem.

          From what I see in this forum and elsewhere, US workers are embittered, cynical and feel they're grossly underpaid, while foreign workers are not embittered, uncynical and are grateful to work for peanuts.

          Someone tell me why I SHOULD hire a US worker or invest in the US with the above being true.

          For ever job I could give a bitter and ungrateful US worker, I could give 10 jobs and materially improve people's lives in anothe
        • by King_TJ (85913) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:14AM (#16276351) Journal
          I agree with most of what you're saying, but I don't agree that the "lack of national pride" in the U.S. is the "biggest problem" we're facing.

          The problem with that line of thought is, people run around trying to drum up support for things made in the U.S.A. with "peer pressure" vs. trying to ask the tough questions. (EG. WHY do people not particularly care if the Made in the U.S.A. tag is on their product or not?)

          I saw this clearly with cars and trucks throughout the 80's and into the 90's. You had your union workers proudly driving around their Chevy, Ford or Dodge trucks with big bumper stickers slapped on them telling you to only buy U.S. made vehicles. Yet, most of the general public was reading publications like "Consumer Reports" before making such a big purchase, where they learned that every year, the most-reliable and best made vehicles were coming from Japan instead. So what do you do? Buy U.S.A. anyway and receive an inferior product (and by extension, continue to vote for inferior products with your dollars)?

          I think "pride" in U.S. made products will only really come when we've earned it. This isn't going to happen as long as we're only concerned with selling "as cheap as China" either. We need to quit dumping our skilled jobs on other countries to save a buck in the short-term, and then wondering why people don't really like our products better than foreign ones!
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Aqua OS X (458522)
        Outsourcing is certainly not new, however one could argue that massive outsourcing is new for white color jobs that require a significant level of very specific education. Traditional manufacturing jobs do not necessarily require a university degree.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:22AM (#16274499)
        Disclaimer: I am an IT manager

        Dude, you didn't need that disclaimer, your post looks like a powerpoint sheet: a nice bulleted list, it has manager all over it.
      • Decimation... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Savage-Rabbit (308260)

        5. Decimation means to kill off 10%, not 90% as some posts have said. From Wikipedia: The word decimation is derived from Latin meaning "removal of a tenth." So the article is correct, this is decimation.

        True enough, 90% would be a massacre.

        6. I could be wrong on any or all of the above.

        I'd say that mostly you are right, but 'Adapt to survive and thrive.' is easy to say but for a lot of people it is hard to put into practice. Personally I don't have any trouble being a IT employment-nomad and moving every s

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bitmonki (787780)

        2. Isolated protective measures to limit outsourcing will ultimately fail. If you put restrictions on US companies that increase their costs while overseas competitors have no such restrictions, US companies will be at a competitive disadvantage ultimately hurting their growth and their employees.

        Wrong attitude for businesses to take, seems to me -- competing on cost alone results in a race to the bottom, which is what we seem to be experiencing. I've worked with Indian teams, in person, and they are

    • by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@@@monkelectric...com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:40AM (#16273403)
      I disagree. I work in the semiconductor industry and I think the tide has turned AGAINST outsourcing. I have *NEVER* heard an outsourcing story that ended well. The kind of outsourcing stories im hearing are "we outsourced our PCB manufacturing and the defect rate is 30%, our board costs are 1/3rd what they used to be, but our field failure rate is 10x and our QC cost is 2x and our customers are pissed." In software same deal ... "the code we got back worked but was unmaintainable. We spent two years rewriting it."

      What I *AM* seeing is a hell of a lot of chinese mainlanders being hired as engineers *IN THE US* depressing wages. Companies are starting to demand a LOT more for less money.

      Outsourcing is based on a falicy which is that workers are fungible resources. Engineers are not fungible resources and any management that thinks they are has their heads way up their asses. The US *DOES* have a seriously bad management culture which is a far bigger threat than outsourcing IMHO.

      Again, this is just one opinion from in the trenches here in southern california.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:18AM (#16273627)
        "The US *DOES* have a seriously bad management culture which is a far bigger threat than outsourcing IMHO."

        A few years ago, I worked as a developer in a fairly large well-known tech company. The progression: Starting there, things were pretty good--well staffed, good morale, nice people to work with. The push for the "bottom line" started creeping in after a year or two on the job--secretaries got laid off, senior engineers got laid off, a website was set up for us to do our own expensing, travel, etc. It was hell. I, a well-trained software developer, getting paid pretty good money, was expected to deal with making travel arrangements, fighting with HR, etc. while my time was being billed to an engineering project. It isn't worth working for a company where my time and talent is simply not valued.

      • by misleb (129952) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:34AM (#16273717)
        The US *DOES* have a seriously bad management culture which is a far bigger threat than outsourcing IMHO.


        The MBA is the new Visual Basic certification. :-P

        -matthew
      • by DrEldarion (114072) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:07AM (#16273899)
        The US *DOES* have a seriously bad management culture which is a far bigger threat than outsourcing IMHO.

        Maybe we should outsource the management.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by packeteer (566398)
        The arguement that foreigners dont do as good of work only works for the begginging of any phase of outsourcing. Many americans believed that "jap cars" were inferior to American cars. We now know that they are engineered at least as good if not better than American cars. Some people still hold the xenophobic view that American cars are somehow impossibly better becuase Americans are infallable.

        You might be right that you have only heard the horror stories or maybe you only remember the horror stories.
        • by displaced80 (660282) on Monday October 02, 2006 @05:14AM (#16274463)
          The arguement that foreigners dont do as good of work only works for the begginging of any phase of outsourcing. Many americans believed that "jap cars" were inferior to American cars. We now know that they are engineered at least as good if not better than American cars. Some people still hold the xenophobic view that American cars are somehow impossibly better becuase Americans are infallable.


          Your reference there is flawed. Japanese cars aren't built by Japanese firms as a cost-saving exercise for American companies. They're built by successful Japanese firms, with excellent research and development who produce a product that's of high quality and is in demand around the world. Their success is driven by the skills of their own people.

          Outsourcing is usually (always?) undertaken as a cost-saving exercise. The idea is that a US-based firm can produce the same product/service they're already producing, but at a lower cost to themselves. With this comes the inevitable quality issues, not to mention the fact that we're underpinning the foundation of the outsourced-nations' crappy treatment of their working population.

          You might be right that you have only heard the horror stories or maybe you only remember the horror stories. Maybe outsourcing does lead to worse products all the time these days but as the education of India goes up they will be doing just as high quality of workmanship as we will. ... and as India develops, their cost of living will rise in line with their quality of life, and they'll start requiring the sort of pay that their skills should earn. Over here in the UK, there's already cases of 'reverse-outsourcing', where Indian firms set up call-centres amongst the poorest areas of the UK.
      • by cheekyboy (598084) on Monday October 02, 2006 @06:27AM (#16274765) Homepage Journal
        Imagine a company with zero engineers, and 100% managers, it cannot survive.

        Now imagine a company with 100% engineers, which spend 5% of their time doing 'management' , it would
        still work and turn out a product, see google and apple.

        A smart engineer can learn in 6months how to be a manager, a manager though would take 10 years to be as good as an engineer.

        After all there are no management 5 year degrees at unis are there.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by CodeArtisan (795142)
          A smart engineer can learn in 6months how to be a manager, a manager though would take 10 years to be as good as an engineer.

          Oh, if only this was true. And I'm speaking as an engineer here, btw. I have encountered numerous examples of 'smart engineers' in management who have no clue what management entails, and no desire to learn. Of course there are clueless, MBA type managers out there too, but I have to laugh when I read comments like this.

          Good managers are like good engineers. They are continuously
    • by twitter (104583) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:43AM (#16273411) Homepage Journal

      So, if we are supposed to rely on education, technology and research and development to keep our edge as a country, we are already in trouble, especially when one considers that even if we were to turn things around tomorrow, we have likely done enough damage that it will take a decade to recover.

      Industrial recovery is not possible while we trade with non free China and your government/corporate masters have you screwed out for RD too.

      GE, Microsoft and others have already started moving their research offshore. I'm talking about basic industrial research, like turbine design. "First World" Physics, no longer viable [theregister.co.uk], so forget it. Brains are cheaper, and theoretically free, in Russia and India. The situation is worse in China, where people really are not free.

      Our trade was supposed to set the Chinese free, but it's working the other way around. It's just business, right? [slashdot.org], and China is just another big company. Not quite. Our big dumb companies might have you by the balls, read your email [theregister.com], and sell it all to big brother [essential.org], but they can't put you in jail yet. That will take another dissaster like NorthWoods [wikipedia.org] so that everyone is really paranoid and ready for rationing and a WW2 style command economy.

      The only way out is lots of wealth creation to raise everyone's standard of living, but it's not happening. With all the mergers, wealth will continue to move to the already very rich owners of those companies. The mergers are the ultimate result of government favoritism of large companies. IT was supposed to be the poster child of new competition and robust US Performance. It has not happened because incumbent companies were allowed to crush new comers, so that "just enough" competition would be left. Now, we all sit under the M$ monopoly, two big media companies, two "broadband" companies, one electric company and a merged OPEC/ExxonMobileRoyalDoubleDutchFuck and wonder where the jobs are and why service sucks. If we can't help ourselves, we will never be able to help anyone else.

      Eventually, this will get the rich too. A real depression is no fun for anyone, but those happen when wealth concentration reaches a critical level. When power is concentrated enough, the American Empire will go to war with China, kind of like the great Royal Fuck Festival that was the first World War.

      • by The Bungi (221687) <thebungi@gmail.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:50AM (#16274091) Homepage
        A real depression is no fun for anyone, but those happen when wealth concentration reaches a critical level.

        Really? Where do you get your definitions from? Because a "depression" or even a recession (a long term recession constitutes a depression) are not caused by anything like that. Oh wait, you're quoting John Maynard Keynes. Riiiight, I see. Is that what they're teaching in school now? That "hoarding" causes recessions? Good heavens.

        When power is concentrated enough, the American Empire will go to war with China

        Will it now. Just a quick exercise for you - try to calculate how much of the US economy depends on the Chinese economy. Then do the same calculation backwards. Now tell us about this "war". What are the justifications for it again? Why does it happen? When? How exactly? Please do elaborate. Unless you're just jumbling together "hot topic" words to get some karma like you always do...

        M$ monopoly

        ...ah yes, you are. Silly me, I thought you actually had a point.

        Good old twitter. China is evil, "big dumb companies" are evil, "M$" is evil, Kermit the frog is evil and everything should be free. Same broken record but with impressive-sounding words and lotsa links. Karma every time.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          Will it now. Just a quick exercise for you - try to calculate how much of the US economy depends on the Chinese economy. Then do the same calculation backwards.
          In 1914, England and Germany were each the other's largest trading partner.
      • by ThosLives (686517) on Monday October 02, 2006 @08:01AM (#16275191) Journal

        Hey, you're the first to mention the concept for which I was looking, so you get the reply:

        The only way out is lots of wealth creation to raise everyone's standard of living, but it's not happening.

        This is correct, in my opinion. The big myth - which was not cited in the article - is that you can actually maintain an economy with high standard of living based on "high value" services alone. The key to an economy is really its ability to produce wealth - hard, physical, tangible goods that, as you said, actually raise the standard of living of that society's citizens. All the dentists and doctors in the world cannot help you if you don't have good tools, good infrastructure, or even good food.

        I remember from one of my early economics classes that the only wealth-producing endeavours known are agriculture and manufacturing - the rest of economic activity just shuffles that wealth around.

        If the economy of a country switches to being service-based, it is then a slave to the actual wealth-producing nations, because if the nations that have the wealth no longer need or want the services, with what is the service-based economy left? The reason the US economy used to be so robust is it had a good balance between service and wealth production. The shift away from producing wealth locally (I don't mean by ownership, I mean physically) is probably a greater risk than most are able to recognize.

    • by babbling (952366) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:17AM (#16273619)
      Why should small/medium sized companies develop software in the US? It's too damn risky. If they compete with or are considered a threat to any of the larger companies, they will just get sued out of existence for "patent infringement". It doesn't even matter whether they have infringed patents, because suing someone for patent infringement is am easy way to cost them a lot of money and not have it immediately obvious about whether you're bluffing. Patents are usually very difficult to read and understand.
  • by Lord Ender (156273) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:19AM (#16272695) Homepage
    If the US government were to make it more difficult for companies to offshore, would the situation be any better?
  • Tech boom/bust? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:19AM (#16272705) Homepage

    Could this just be a reversal of what happened during the tech boom, where:

    1. companies were hiring *tons* of I.T. personnel, and
    2. anyone who had read the camel book could get a job in I.T.?

    I'm curious if many of the competent, professional I.T. people are really losing their jobs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by IANAAC (692242)
      I was in the "IT" sector for about 20 years, starting first as a computer operator, then moving to operations analysis, then system administration.

      After 20 years, I got out of it. Know why? System administration has become the equivalent of computer operations. The new factory line worker, in many ways. I had no desire to get into programming - sorry, but it bores me to tears.

      So I went back to school and got another, unrelated degree.

      I'm curious to know if my case is unusual. I am guessing that i

  • by Luscious868 (679143) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:23AM (#16272743)
    I can't help but think of all of those poor buggy whip manufacturers who had their jobs eliminated when the automobile was first introduced. We should ban it .. oh wait ...
    • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:40AM (#16272883) Homepage
      As with most economic concerns like this, of course there are both winners and losers to globalization. The losers are the US workers and firms who were formerly employed in this industry. The winners are the workers elsewhere, and anyone who can now pay less for IT services (and less for products and services in general because the businesses in question can now pay less for IT services).

      The gains from doing this are large, but very spread out. The losses are small, but concentrated. As a result, those who lose out have a big incentive to try and stop this from happening - more so than those who would gain from it. They may attempt to have the government regulate the practice. This is known to economists as rent seeking, when one group seeks the uncompensated transfer of wealth from others (people who buy IT) to themselves through government intervention. These Other People have to expend more resources to get the same things done. This is not a spectacularly noble cause, though it often is hailed in the name of "saving jobs".

      But then, if our first concern should be about saving jobs, we ought to do away with computers entirely so there is more work to be done for paper-shufflers in offices. We can save the jobs of hundreds of thousands of office secretaries! Indeed, we could get rid of machines entirely and go back to simple hand tools for everything. Except, well, not.

      Of course, that doesn't stop it all from happening. Take textiles. The average US family spends $160 more a year on textiles because of import quotas. Each job saved costs $221,000 a year. This is paid for by other people. Yay.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tablizer (95088)
        The difference is that brains are becoming a cheap commodity. This has not happened before. We are moving into scary territory where The Next Big Thing and our comparative advantage are no longer visable on the horizon. The horse-and-buggy is dissappearing, but there is no visable autombile to replace it this time.
  • by techmuse (160085) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:28AM (#16272771)
    The IT sector hired far more people than normal as a result of the dot com boom. The IT market adjusted after the boom ended. The period they study includes the dot com crash. These jobs may simply have vanished along with the dot coms, rather than being outsourced.
  • by Tracer_Bullet82 (766262) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:29AM (#16272789)
    How about all those Intel, AMD, Dell etc etc in Malaysia, Taiwan and around the world.

    Didn't the lower cost of building all the components there help to decrease the prices of computing, encouraging demand. And wasn't the continuosly lowered cost of infrastructure/equipment an integral part of the computing/technological/information/internet revolution. Which incredibly benefited the US economically. Which provided jobs and increased jobs and increased pay scale during the late 90's and early 2000's.

    So in other words:

    globalization benificial to us: good
    globalization detrimental to us: bad

    news for ya: globalization works both fucking ways. You think jobs weren't decimated in third world/developing countries when they opened up their markets and have to compete with cheaper US products.

    You benefited from it, now its someone else turns.

    Or you can ask the US goverment to broke its own agreements and words, and strongarm it way to makes sure the deal is one sided. But don't put your hopes up. God knows it has never done that. And never will. well except maybe for that renmibi thing.. and that textilke subsidy thing..and...

    waiting for Flamebait+7 and Troll+7

  • by davidwr (791652) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:46AM (#16272939) Homepage Journal
    Does it really matter if jobs go from LA to Las Vegas or from LA to Toronto or from LA to India? Either way, unless you are willing to follow the job and take the prevailing wage, you are still out of work.

    It's a fact of life, almost any job that doesn't require your physical presence is relocateable. If the cost of moving raw materials abroad and the finished product back is low enough, and the difference in the cost of doing business is high enough, then everything else being equal you will see job migration.

    If you want security from relocation, be a computer-equipment-installation technician. If you want security from offshoring, find a job that is "outsource-proof" such as certain defense-industry jobs.

    The biggest issue in my mind isn't offshoring because overseas engineers work for half of what Americans charge, but offshoring of any type because costs imposed by the "American standard of living" are significantly greater than the equivalent costs in countries with a much lower standard of living. As long as we insist on things like clean air, good police protection, something approaching a "living wage" for our lowest-paid workers, good health care, safe cars, good infrastructure, etc. etc. etc., then we will have higher costs to do business here than in countries whose citizens don't demand these things. In a country or region without such costs, the cost of living will be much lower and wages can be lower while still having employees feel well-compensated.

    There are parts of America with a relatively low payroll burden on companies and with relatively low costs-of-living. If your big-city job were suddenly transferred to some rural area 2000 miles away where 2/3 of your salary could let you live in a house twice the size of your existing one, but with the nearest big city 3 hours away, would you take the transfer or would you start sending out your resume? How about if it was transferred 10,000 miles away and the salary was 1/3, but even after paying for a flat the same size as the one you have now, you'd still be able to bank a huge amount each month?

    Look on the bright side - the world and it's nearby neighbors are a closed system as far as the job market is concerned - no jobs are going to Alpha Centauri Prime any time soon.

    I am not a troll. Just a realist.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FooAtWFU (699187)

      As long as we insist on things like clean air, good police protection, something approaching a "living wage" for our lowest-paid workers, good health care, safe cars, good infrastructure, etc. etc. etc., then we will have higher costs to do business here than in countries whose citizens don't demand these things.

      Indeed. But, look on the bright side - as those countries overseas are systematically enriched by doing business with a wealthy country like the United States, they will begin to insist on those th

  • by jacoplane (78110) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:54AM (#16273007) Homepage Journal
    From the perspective of someone who is not American, this is a good thing. It means that unions in rich countries are no longer able to keep the rest of the world poor. Poor people in Romania who have excellent IT skills have the freedom and opportunity to enter the capitalist system and compete on the global market.

    The Americans spent 50 years trying to win the cold war so the guy in Romania would have this opportunity. Would you now turn around and say "Sorry, we're going to be implementing some socialist protectionist measures.... we didn't expect American workers to have to compete with you".

    Looking at the IT landscape, it seems clear to me that the American IT industry is the most vibrant and resilient in the world. Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, HP, Wikipedia, Myspace, Youtube, etc. are organisations which saw the light of day in America. Please don't react in a spastic way when the rest of the world looks at what you're doing and tries to do something similar.

    The American president keeps talking about "freedom". For me, freedom includes the freedom to compete with American workers.

    Walk the walk....
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hogger@NoSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:08AM (#16273165) Journal
    It's not the globalization.

    It's the high-cost of life in the US.

    Speculators have worked very hard to keep land and house prices beyond the reasonable capacity of people to pay for them, hence overreliance on credit which increases the prices of the goods often by 100% (20 years at 5%).

    In addition, the sprawling lifestyle puts an extra burden on governments who have to maintain an extensive networks of roads, in addition to the people who have to pay a fortune to acquire (also on credit) automobiles and run them.

    It's not for nothing that third-worlders can live for a king for $10 per day; over there, people are not burdened by the expensive western lifestyle.

    Automobiles are particularly to blame, because this is one expense that can be done without. When people will spend a third of their income to support their automobile, this means that with a proper public transportation system that allows ordinary people to live decently without a car, salaries could be cut by 25% without any diminished quality of life.

    When this little fact will be understood by the thousands chambers of commerce, there will be serious moves toward better transit. In addition of lowering the expenses of employers, it will free the roads from millions of otherwise useless vehicles, leaving a free way for what cannot be transacted without a truck, thus cutting down on the time lost in traffic, furthering even more the savings.

    Plus, when there are sufficient people using a transit system, they can be self-sufficient or even turn a profit and thus not be an eternal drain on public ressources like roads are (no right-wing wacko is talking about privatizing roads). 100 years ago, transit systems were big business, and railroads were the high-technology.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:21AM (#16273641)
      It is a myth that third world workers can live like kings on $10. At least in India, the fact is that for most things that US residents would consider as necessities, the cost of those things is between 10% and 1000% higher. I speak from personal experience. I've lived in the US (as an H1-B engineer) and in India subsequently. I wanted to share some data points to help with the discussion.

      Here are some of the costs:
      Housing: The cost of a house in Delhi or Bangalore can range from $100K to $2 million.
      As a practical example the flat I live in on the outskirts of Delhi costs, $120K and its
      quality is nowhere near that of the two bedroom flat I use to live in on the outskirts
      of Seattle. For example, running water is not available for more than an 45 mins a day.
      The absolute quantity I am able to use is about 25 gallons per day. Compare this with my
      usage of 120 gallons per day in Seattle. Electricity is only available for about 18
      hours a day and typically not available when most needed (5-8 am, and 7-9 pm) BTW the
      local electric utility charges me at least 2 times more per kWh.

      Car: My car (a Honda) costs about $18,000. I pay an interest rate of 15% on the car loan.
      It is also less safe. A better model sold in the US costs a little less. The US
      model comes with a more poweful engine and is equipped with airbag. Auto insurance
      will rarely cover the cost of hospitalization in the event of a serious accident. Delhi
      is amongst the most dangerous cities in the world to drive in.

      Internet
      Connectivity:
      Internet connectivity costs about the same per month as it does in the US ($20 pm for
      a DSL connection), but the speeds are between 256 and 512Kbps, significantly
      slower than that available in the US for a comparable price.

      Several other things that relate to quality of life are poorer. But most people already know that.

      My income is lower though, by a factor of about 4 to 5. (I earn about 30K a year, ).
      So in sum, I'm simply poorer than I was in the US.
      I am also less productive than I was in the US.

      It is true that compared to the average Indian, with an income of $450 a year, I am fabulously wealthy, but that is an unfair comparison. A more appropriate comparison would be with folks similarly qualified: I am an engineer, with an undergraduate degree from a good Indian school, masters in CS from a reasonably good,(top 20) US program, and an MBA from an Ivy league school.
      Nothing specatacular, but probably above average. My peers with such a background would earn significantly more.

      Don't get the idea though, that I'm whining here. Indian IT is a bit like the Wild west. The
      potential opportunity, for creating new businesses is enormous, and this was one of the reasons
      I returned to the country. There was never better time to be a capitalist in India.

      Those who oppose the H1-B program on the grounds that it takes away American jobs, and
      lowers the wages for American workers, seem to be overlooking a very significant issue. The
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DavidinAla (639952) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:18AM (#16273245)
    If good people in other countries can do certain things better than Americans, they ought to get the work. It's up to us to compete with them (and each other) instead of whining about the competition. Globalization is helping everyone in the long run. Competition can always be painted as nasty and brutish, but it's the way we get progress. Everyone benefits from it, even if it causes job changes in the short run.

    When the Japanese auto manufacturers started sending their vehicles to the United States, nobody took them seriously at first. Then American consumers realized that the Japanese were making better cars, so they started buying them in increasing numbers. The U.S. carmakers (and their unions) simply whined about the competition instead of DOING enough about it. If they had actually competed by producing products that were better than the Japanese products (in reliability, styling and a whole range of issues), they could have fought off the competition. Instead, the unions demanded that they keep their arcane work rules that saved useless jobs in the short run, but which lost a LOT more jobs in the long run. The managements remained in denial that they were that much worse than the Japanese. Even when they DID start improving, it was too little, too late. The culture in Detroit couldn't compete with the rate of change (and improvement) given to us by Honda and Toyota. American consumers benefitted from this competition. The stockholders and employees of the U.S. companies COULD have benefitted, too, but they were both too shortsighted to learn and compete.

    U.S. IT is in the position that the U.S. auto industry about 30 years ago. It leads the world, so it doesn't see the need to innovate as much as it did even 10 or 20 years ago. They're arrogant and fat and happy, it seems. Now the rest of the world is starting to catch up to us. Foreigners are learning to do the same things we've been doing, but less expensively. So what's the response? The companies and the employees whine about competition. If you can't see the continued pattern (and what to do about it), you're going to have no one to blame but yourselves.

    David
  • Lawyers, too. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:56AM (#16273487) Homepage

    Here's a list of offshore legal services [prismlegal.com]. Now you can have your legal work done in Bangalore. Pass a copy of this to your corporate counsel.

  • Where are the jobs? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wansu (846) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:34AM (#16273721)


    According to Businessweek, most private sector jobs created in the 21st century have been in health care.

    What's Really Propping Up The Economy [businessweek.com]

    This is a remarkable trend. I don't know about the rest of you but I ain't none too excited about the prospects of a career in health care.

  • by Wansu (846) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:53AM (#16273827)


    Some of you have pointed out that one reason for the disparity in pay which makes outsourcing attractive is the disparity in living standards. I agree. As more and more high paying jobs leave the US for lower cost regions of the world, Americans will have less disposable income. They are already deep in debt. At some point, consumption must fall.

    I don't think many Americans understand the extent of the wrenching adjustments that lie ahead. It will not be pleasant.

  • by goldcd (587052) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:00AM (#16273865) Homepage
    Over time jobs have continuously moved abroad.
    Back in the good old days (you know, when the western world had it's colonizing hat on), we decided it was far cheaper to source raw materials abroad - so we'd say grow cotton in India and import the raw product back to the UK to be refined.
    Then we twigged we might as well weave it into cloth abroad (and fired a load of mill workers). Then, realizing we might as well make something out of the cloth abroad before importing it we fired a load of the cloth workers.
    Now - at the time there was lots of personal pain for some people - but the benefit was two-fold. The vast majority of people got a far cheaper product and we were forced to up-skill. Do you honestly think we'd be in a better position today if we'd spent a fortune protecting those lost industries?
    Same thing is just still happening and will continue to happen - whether you like it or not. You've just got the simple choice whether you want to stand there trying to hold back the sea, or whether you should take a few steps up the beach to get out of the way.
    You might get the odd law/import quota protecting your own job, but that's just at the expense of everybody else around you - The USA can't afford to buy everything 'Made in the USA' and expect to keep the same standard of living.
  • by BeeBeard (999187) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:36AM (#16274035)
    Ah, Slashdot. I find it so ironic that the same people who are for "free software" and "free information" are also against free trade.

    The idea of a nation having a comparative advantage (if you're going to talk about globalization, you might as well use the lingo) in certain markets is what this all boils down to.

    Let's say you're French. The French enjoy an enormous comparative advantage in producing fine wine. The climate is right, they have the wineries already in place, they are well-known as wine producers and so on. If you own a winery in France, or work at a winery in France, or ship French wines, or even just occasionally mash grapes with your feet, you've got it made it in the shade. Your goods will find plenty of willing buyers in the global marketplace.

    But here's the problem. What if you live in France and don't want to have anything to do with the wine making business? You don't know anything about wine, grapes disgust you--whatever. In fact, what if you want to just design and make automobiles? Whoops! You will have a hard time competing against the vast hordes of foreign auto makers. Your French workers will require higher wages and better benefits than their foreign counterparts. Much of the steel you need has to be imported from Germany. Your engine blocks have to come from Japan, but only after they're assembled in Canada. You're really having a hard time keeping your costs down.

    Your business is going to fail, and the French government will have little choice but to see your company fall by the wayside, or else pass laws to create subsidies that explicitly favor your goods over their foreign counterparts, which is prohibited by GATT and can only be done under very specific circumstances. The French could still tax foreign goods with tariffs, but even then those are highly regulated by international authorities. No, your auto business will soon be out of business.

    Globalization's answer to that French auto maker is "well, you could always make wine" and its answer to the unemployed people who worked for that auto maker is "well that's a shame, go work at a winery." Now that's pretty harsh. How do you respond to something like that? You either go work at a winery or you go riot in the streets. When companies and egghead economists alike are so gung-ho about pushing globalization, the human element seems to get lost in the shuffle.

    The best argument for globalization has always been "okay then, suggest a better way." It's impossible because the alternative to the free trade system is pretty horrible: Entire industries that create goods with no useful purpose that cannot be sold overseas; a limited selection of goods for consumers; huge increases in the costs of goods for consumers due to reduced competition, and so on. If the WTO allowed for any more artificial barriers to free trade than tariffs, that is exactly what would happen. And even then, eventually getting rid of tariffs anyway, and removing the last barrier to free trade is the stated goal of WTO/GATT.

    Those who embrace the trendy new rhetoric that decries our current free trade system either know nothing about it or refuse to acknowledge how much we truly benefit from it. It is far easier, I suppose, to shill the globalization issue to promote another political motive. Don't be used.
  • by leehwtsohg (618675) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:57AM (#16274111)
    The article compares 2001 to 2005? Other than globalization, there were two minor events that could have a small influence the job count:

    1. In 2001 the dot-com-bubble burst
    2. In 2001 9/11 happened, bringing with it 2 wars

    Where these events so minor that they aren't even worth mentioning in the article?
  • How ironic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by lilnobody (148653) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:28AM (#16274251)
    I'm an american who would really like to go abroad, as it turns out. I have a wide variety of IT and programming skills, but no management experience. I'm very close to quitting IT and teaching english or something else to achieve this goal, but I'm pretty good at all this computer crap. I hate to ditch what I'm good at.

    But guess what? Although I speak fluent german, I can't work in Germany or Austria. A company has to advertise for 3 months for an EU resident to fill a slot before they can sponsor a visa for me. And I'm not even picky--I can't find an IT/programming job for an american anywhere outside of the US from Cape Town to Kabul.

    Want to bitch about globalization? Bitch about the last trade barrier: Labor. Globalization currently benefits CEO's because the resource they have to start the game, money, is now easily transfered. But labor isn't allowed to be transfered--labor might as well be opium for all the free trade associated with it, but with more positions available. I, for one, can't fucking wait until that shit ends, and I can whore myself out to whomever I please, wherever I please.
  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:43AM (#16274333) Homepage Journal
    The big reason Asians can compete with Westerners -- particularly Western technologists -- is the rising cost of reproduction in the West.

    The cost of reproduction has risen by a factor of nearly 4 since I was born in 1954, fertilizing the portfolios of landlords, or more properly, land barons, with the decomposing marriages, fetuses and sometimes bodies of the bulk of the baby boom generation, leaving a demographic hole being filled with imported slaves* by those same landlords.

    The baronage calls this "progress", even as as the price of homes was removed from the consumer price index while introducing CPI factors like "hedonic value" and "imputed rent" to make it appear "real" earnings have increased over the time period of demographic collapse and loss of ethnic enfranchisement to imported laborers for the baronage.

    I call it genocide [geocities.com].

    *It is really being too kind to the baronage to call the imported laborers "slaves" since the baronage doesn't have to pay for their human capital upkeep--the rest of us do via social programs. Southern Plantation owners were far more moral than these sorry excuses for human beings.

    Figures from my insurance agent sent to me on my birthday:

    The two big ticket necessities:
    3 bedroom house price increase: 22 times
    1954 $ 10,250
    2006 $219,375

    car price increase: 18 times
    1954 $ 1,567
    2006 $28,000

    Even if we grant that the quality/cost ratio of manufactured goods has gone up so much during the last 52 years that $1,567 for a used car in 2006 is as good as a new car was in 1954, it doesn't bring down the sum of the 2 major debt-service items much:

    house+car increase: 19 times
    1954 $ 11,817 =$1,567+$10,250
    2006 $220942 =$1,567+$219,375

    So the debt-service load in a family household has gone up nearly a factor of 20 in the last 52 years.

    And don't kid yourself that it didn't hit hardest at the peak child-bearing potential of the mid-to-late boomers who were paying 20% mortgage rates when they were trying to form families in the early 1980s [geocities.com].

    Look at these foreclosure rates peaking within the first 10 years of boomer's trying to form families:

    Year $ value of mortgage loans foreclosed (in millions)

    1965 944
    1966 1,034
    1967 957
    1968 865
    1969 364
    1970 321
    1971 438
    1972 478
    1973 577
    1974 715
    1975 1,086
    1976 1,129
    1977 868
    1978 723
    1979 683
    1980 917
    1981 1,563
    1982 3,282
    1983 4,240
    1984 6,163
    1985 8,675
    1986 13,942
    1987 18,373
    1988 18,859
    1989 18,189
    1990 22,862
    1991 17,105
    1992 12,408
    1993 6,852
    1994 3,422
    1995 2,506
    1996 2,138
    1997 1,805
    1998 1,470
    1999 1,022
    2000 900

    Has household income kept up? Hardly...

    average household income increase: 13 times
    1954 $ 4,137 (one wage earner)
    2006 $54,000 (two wage earners)

    So household income has gone up only about 70% as much as the essential household debt service in the last 52 years.

    Oh, but wait--that "household" in 1954 was one income and the income was relatively stable--the woman stayed at home and raised the kids.

    How can we factor not only that both parents must work in 2006 and not only are each of their jobs less secure, but the effective income of the household, adjusting for risk of not being able to meet debt payments for a substantial period of time?

    Here's a realistic option: We can reasonably say that the odds of both parents being out of work at any given point of time in 2006 is comparable to the odds of the father being out of work in 1954. Hence the reliable household income--the income stream that can service debt without foreclosure--is approximately 1/2 of the household income. Certainly we can say that there w

  • by unity100 (970058) on Monday October 02, 2006 @07:57AM (#16275169) Homepage Journal
    Yes.

    Now an Iowa local computer store is able to sell to finland, morocco or egypt, via an e-store.

    Scratch that, even local KILT producers are able to take work orders from all over the world.

    This is globalization. As in a free market, it comes with its own challenges. You cant expect a rose be free of its thorns.
  • Slant and Bias (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Danathar (267989) on Monday October 02, 2006 @08:03AM (#16275199) Journal
    Before taking everything in the article as fact, take a glance at the rest of the stories on the site. You will definitely see a pattern. And NO..I'm not going to suggest what that pattern is.
  • by smchris (464899) on Monday October 02, 2006 @09:23AM (#16275769)
    I have liberal arts degrees anyway and only got into IT in the go-go '90s so maybe it's time to look elsewhere.

    I've been taking unemployment office job-hunting classes offered in our "heart-of-the-midwest" state the last couple weeks where they make you get chummy and identify yourself, and I have run into no fewer than FOUR people who had been teaching English in Beijing, Taiwan, or Japan. They were back wondering whether there _still_ aren't any jobs in the U.S. and judging from the general pessimism I suspect they will be back in Beijing shortly.

    Maybe the global economy means everybody hops one continent to the left. Ted Turner already owned a land mass the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. If enough of us leave, maybe he can be the first American to own a state outright and the U.S. can divide itself up into little fiefdoms of the super rich.

Some people carve careers, others chisel them.

Working...