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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 Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:11AM (#16272623)
    You all said that globalism was a good thing, but now you can't take it?
  • Boo Freaking Hoo (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:12AM (#16272637)
    Look at me! I'm white and American -- I shouldn't have to compete for my job!

    If you find yourself sliding out of the job market, then get some more skills.

    If only there were CDROM's available with fully-featured unix systems, complete with source code, that one could use to learn operating systems, compiler design, networking, graphics, and databases! If we had that, then unemployed American computer folk would have a shot at competing internationally!

    No one is entitled to a job, even if you are white, American and whiny.
  • 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.

  • by partisanX (1001690) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:20AM (#16272711) Homepage
    You can blame repubs, dems, the evolutionists, creationists, etc... But our own individual greed have all contributed to this problem. When was the last time anyone cared about looking for anything "made in the USA"? If we as individuals don't feel compelled to buy products from our own nation, on what grounds do we expect corporations to hire more expensive US labor? Especially when doing so, would put them at a price disadvantage when selling to us US consumers, who, surprise surprise, pay more attention to price than anything else? If they did that, they'd go under, thanks to us.

    Something of a conundrum.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:23AM (#16272731)

    Look at me! I'm white and American -- I shouldn't have to compete for my job!

    Look at me. I do a job that an American used to do for ten times the salary. But nobody is buying my software!! It's all being pirated online! Someone should make those greedy ass, out of work, Americans pay $1000 for my shrink wrapped software instead of stealing it. It's not like they could produce this stuff themselves or anything...

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:23AM (#16272737)
    I'm white, American, and sometimes pretty whiny, and yet I pretty much agree with you - even if I wouldn't be as acerbic. Why is it that the very same people who complain about globalization also complain that the US is too imperialistic? Is the US supposed to artificially protect their standard of living or not? How, exactly, do you propose keeping your salary artificially high without it coming at the expense of others?
  • DUH! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:23AM (#16272741)
    The entire movement of "globalization" is advocated solely by huge corporate interests who are seeking ways to circumvent national sovreignty, specifically the imposition of wage and labor standards.

    They realize that by doing this they will be able to squeeze more profit from the exploitable masses.

    Their proponents spew forth on theories of national "specialization".. which is completely specious, as illustrated by our interactions with china. We are being bled dry of our money and at the same time china is being bled dry of their labor... and who wins.. corporate owners, execs, their families, and the political elite who help them perpetrate it.
  • by be-fan (61476) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:25AM (#16272761)
    Saying that outsourcing eliminates jobs because they eliminate jobs in IT is like saying evolution is impossible because of the second law of thermodynamics. A global relation (entropy increases or jobs increase), doesn't necessarily hold locally (entropy may decrease in one system, and jobs may decrease in one sector).

    Economics doesn't saw anything about whether globalization will preserve jobs in a specific sector. What it does say is that it will tend to create jobs in the economy (both economies involved) as a whole. There isn't a lot of evidence to counter this claim.
  • 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

  • Re:DUH! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by be-fan (61476) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:33AM (#16272811)
    Are you high? China is a prime example of globalization at work. We get a whole lot more stuff for our money from China than we could produce ourselves for the same cost. At the same time, China gets a lot more money selling to us than it would selling to itself.

    Globalization isn't something just corporations are pushing. Most liberal egg-head economists are pushing it too. They push it, because the math works out, it makes sense, and has been demonstrating its usefulness for literally hundreds (if not thousands) of years. Louis XIV drastically turned around the French economy over 300 years ago by breaking down trade barriers, and there are still people who aren't convinced it works...
  • by mrraven (129238) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:39AM (#16272877)
    What a lying sack of shit the parent post is, it's all about reducing labor costs so a thin layer of owners and managers can make hundreds of millions if not billions a year while BOTH Americans and people in the third world suffer terribly. Hint .001% of Indians will become coders and engineers and even that elite they will be paid probably a quarter of what an American would make at the same job and the rest of India, Vietnam, China, etc will work sweatshop jobs for pennies an hour. Globalization is a bad deal for BOTH Americans and people in the third word. As corporations scour the world for the lowest wages possible it creates downward pressure on wages for all of us. Unless we wake up to this fact and reign in the corporations they will continue to bend us over and have their way with us.
  • 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.

  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:41AM (#16272893)
    You all said that globalism was a good thing, but now you can't take it?

    I have no problem with "globalism" PROVIDED that the country getting the jobs has the same level of regulations and protections that we have (or higher).

    The problems I have with "globalism" is when companies off-shore because the other country has FEWER worker protections or environmental regulations than we do. Yeah, it's great for your CEO's bonus if you can work 10 year old kids for 12 hours a day at $5 a week making tennis shoes. But this isn't about your CEO's bonus.

    We should be bringing everyone else UP to our standards rather than racing to the lowest level out there. But we are racing to the bottom. That is the problem.
  • Re:DUH! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:42AM (#16272901)
    Are you high? China is a prime example of globalization at work. We get a whole lot more stuff for our money from China than we could produce ourselves for the same cost.

    no i'm not high.. and it's not working that way.

    prices are lower relatively here, but we are not getting as much back in the drop in price as we are losing through drops in jobs and real wages..

    in other words the nominal price is dropping, but the nominal wage is dropping faster.. meaning real price is actually rising.. except of course for the wealthy, or for those whose jobs cannot be offshored.
  • by enjahova (812395) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:44AM (#16272927) Homepage
    Let's take your logic a little further. Why limit ourselves to "made in the USA"? That's not very local, why not only buy things made in your state, in your city, your neighborhood, your own farm? Our greed is very much the reason we do not do any of those. It is also an acceptable reason NOT to buy "made in USA."

    You can appeal to patriotism all you want, but the fact is that the world is bigger than the USA. The global transportation network, and now the internet have opened everyone to everyone. The world has steadily been moving in a globalized direction, and there are lots of corporations getting rich off of it. It may be nice to have protectionism to provide "us" protection from "them" but the truth is, the distinction between us and them is dwindling. "They" buy our movies, our software and our clothing. I bet you don't have a problem with that, until "they" all decide that they don't want any American goods. Then what?

    We can't turn back the clock. It sucks that people are losing their jobs, it sucks that we don't live in a perfect world where we can all hold hands and sing. The problem is not an "us" vs. "them" that we can solve by shutting "them" out, thats an artificial solution. We need a substantive solution that improves the value of our people, more education, more research and vigilance in maintaining our superb economic environment.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:51AM (#16272975)
    Under the ideal scenario it works as you stated:

    china produces at cheaper costs.. and though wages drop for those jobs in the US because of labor competition, the prices will drop at the same rate resulting in equalization of the two living standards with no real change in ours..

    in reality it's quite different:

    Companies see profit potential here..
    china produces at cheaper costs, and wages drop for those jobs in the US because of labor competition, but because the companies are sucking up profits by not lowering prices to the marginal cost of production (like they would with US produced goods), the real cost of products rises for americans, and the standard of living goes down.

    Some people will make the argument that this offshoring represents structural unemployment.. like mechanization.. but there is a huge difference here:

    with previous structural shifts which caused unemployment.. the shifts were isolated, allowing the middle class worker to learn a new trade and advance back to the point where their wage is sufficient to keep their family fed.

    Now different jobs are being offshored in quick succession.. the middle class worker moves from one profession to the next, but because theyre offshored so quickly theyre never able to advance beyond entry level.. their income is permanently suppressed.

    This is not good.. it's very threatening to the concept of a stable middle class.
  • 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 davidwr (791652) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:56AM (#16273029) Homepage Journal
    How do you feel if your employer shuts down your worksite and opens up a new worksite in another state that has fewer worker protections or environmental regulations? Maybe from a strong-labor state to a state with virtually no organized labor in your field, or from a state which greatly restricts youth labor to one that follows minimum federal guidelines, or one with a high minimum wage to one that uses the lower federal minimum? Maybe from one with good workers compensation insurance to one with very poor insurance?

    You get the idea.

    Don't laugh, such things happen all the time.
  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:57AM (#16273037) Homepage
    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 things like clean air, health care, better infrastructure...

  • In my opinion, one of the worst things to happen to the anti-globalization movement, and whole argument in general, in the past several years is its association with leftist fringe groups and sometimes-violent street protests. The first thing that many people think of today when they hear the words "anti-globalization" is a rioter, and this doesn't do very much to help it be taken seriously. Those protests, at least in the U.S., ended much real discussion about globalization by turning the whole thing into a farce. All people had to do was look on the news and see that it was the forces of rationality and authority versus the lunatic fringe, and that was it. (Granted, a lot of media outlets were only happy enough to portray it this way, with various levels of subtlety, but this should be expected.) Whatever salient points the argument might have had, evaporate when you're perceived as being mainly supported by bored college students with nothing better to do than go protest something.

    If you want to garner support from blue-collar, red-state America now, you can't say "globalization," you have to say "outsourcing" or "offshoring." That's because the g-word has a strong association with protesters and radical fringe groups; no sane middle-class gainfully-employed person wants to associate themselves with anything "anti-globalization" anymore, lest they end up on some sort of FBI watch list. It's that 'blue collar' crowd who should really be the major backers of anti-globalization, but to date they have been notably absent; I think this is because of a large reluctance on many people's part to do anything that reeks of "dirty hippies." And it's tough to get deeper in hippie territory right now than "anti-globalization."

    Violent protests may have been effective in the 60s but today they're cliche; I can't think of a faster way to let your opponents marginalize and demonize you in the press, and frankly to have the general public revel in watching you get tear gassed on TV. Average people don't have much tolerance or sympathy for rioters, regardless of the motivation or politics; it's no longer an acceptable mode of political discourse. This situation may be different in other countries -- it seems like riots and mass demonstrations are accepted by the public rather differently in some European countries. But here in the U.S., riots don't play in Peoria. They're counterproductive.

    I tried to explain the anti-globalization position to too many people over the last few years to and have had more people pipe up "hey, aren't those the folks who were causing riots down in New York?" to think that those protests can possibly be constructive. It doesn't matter whether it's the protesters or the cops who start the escalation; if you have a protest and it turns into chaos -- particularly televised chaos -- then you and any arguments or positions that you might be associated with lose a lot of credibility.

    The "rads" might think that they've won now, but really, I think that the logic that globalization might not be such a hot thing, has finally come into the light despite the efforts of fringe groups, certainly not because of them.
  • by hsmith (818216) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:07AM (#16273147)
    jesus fucking christ NO.

    "Perfect" capitalism has nothing to do with big companies making sweet heart deals with governments to ensure they get their monopoly. Globalization has nothing to do with the free market and capitalism. it is protectionism at its finest. the only "globalization" that true capitalists push for is free trade, unhindered by government. None of this trade agreement shit that hinders competition.

    big fucking deal if IT gets outsourced. When that occurs it is a commodity and it shouldn't be subsidized by the gov't. sure, i'd like to keep my job and big paycheck but it is how true economics works. sure, it will suck but things will move on and humanity will progress. that is how it works, that is how innovation occurs.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:08AM (#16273153) Homepage Journal
    What makes their patriotic self-interest in keeping jobs in their own American economy instead of overseas where workers unfairly compete without labor, environmental, political or economic protections into "racism"? The "radicals" who protest the WTO are more diverse ethnicly than either the foreign countries or America as a whole.

    What kind of racism haunts your mind that you project it onto people who aren't racists?
  • by symbolic (11752) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:17AM (#16273237)
    That you are trying to convince people that various companies decided in favor of offshoring so that they could make better lives for those "little brown and yellow paupers in Asia and the Middle East...is laughable if not patently absurd. They don't give one rat's about these people - their only concern is a way to make the company's short-term balance sheet look good.
  • 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
  • Terrible article (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bogjobber (880402) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:19AM (#16273261)

    That was a very poorly written article. Granted, it was an editorial, but a little more in the way of rational argument would've been nice. Instead of presenting opposing points and showing their weaknesses, the author simply writes off opposing arguments as ridiculous and baseless. How about actually showing why they are wrong.

    For example, he writes this in the beginning:

    Despite my regular updates on the poor performance of U.S. job growth in the 21st century, economists have insisted that offshoring is a manifestation of free trade and can only have positive benefits overall for Americans.

    Unless he is countering a specific argument made against him in the past (which I doubt, based on the language he uses) this is as far as he goes as presenting the opposition argument he is so adamantly against. This is a straw man. He uses the blanket term "economists", as if all economists believe this. As anyone who has spent any time with economists knows, it is rare to find two economists who agree exactly on a given issue. Even if they agree generally, they may dispute endlessly about small details. To claim that offshoring is a practice that all economists consider useful is just wrong. Also, notice his choice of words. "Offshoring...can only have positive benefits overall for Americans." This is very obviously an over-simplification of the argument.

    Other great fallacies include the numerous ad hominem attacks (mixed well with the aforementioned straw man). Here are a few:

    American economists, some from incompetence and some from being bought and paid for, described globalization as a "win-win" development.

    The denial of jobs reality has become an art form for economists, libertarians, the Bush regime, and journalists.

    Economists have failed to examine the incompatibility of offshoring with free trade. Economists are so accustomed to shouting down protectionists that they dismiss any complaint about globalization's impact on domestic jobs as the ignorant voice of a protectionist seeking to preserve the buggy whip industry.

    He also does a very good job of making himself look like an ass by making claims without any explanation or reasoning to support these claims. Here are a few examples:

    At a Brookings Institution conference in Washington, D.C., in January 2004, I predicted that if the pace of jobs outsourcing and occupational destruction continued, the U.S. would be a third world country in 20 years.

    Business organizations have successfully used pubic relations firms and bought-and-paid-for "economic studies" to convince policymakers that American business cannot function without H-1B visas that permit the importation of indentured employees from abroad who are paid less than the going U.S. salaries. The so-called shortage is, in fact, a replacement of American employees with foreign employees, with the soon-to-be-discharged American employee first required to train his replacement... It is amazing to see free-market economists rush to the defense of H-1B visas. The visas are nothing but a subsidy to U.S. companies at the expense of U.S. citizens.

    American employees have been abandoned by American corporations and by their representatives in Congress. America remains a land of opportunity but for foreigners not for the native born.

    No one seems to understand that research, development, design, and innovation take place in countries where things are made. The loss of manufacturing means ultimately the loss of engineering and science. The newest plants embody the latest technology. If these plants are abroad, that is where the cutting edge resides.

    I could take the time to refute these one by one, but I re

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:19AM (#16273267)
    Good points, all. But I know a lot of the Indians taking our jobs (I had to help train them, you know... bah). In all cases, they were educated and now make up the upper-middle class in their country. These are not prison laborers, and they are not working in sweatshop conditions. These same people would try to come to the US to work if the market in India wasn't so good. The reason they have our jobs is that they make about half of what we do, not $0.60 per hour. They are happy, generally nice people who are just glad to be working in such a lucrative field. Your arguments probably make a lot more sense in the manufacturing industries. Unfortunately, there probably is not much of a moral argument against outsourcing in IT.
  • by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:25AM (#16273317) Journal
    We should be bringing everyone else UP to our standards rather than racing to the lowest level out there. But we are racing to the bottom. That is the problem.
    Of course. Governments have consistently failed their populations by caving in to special business interests, and changing the international commerce rules to only suit them.

    Proper regulations would have entailed the use of tariffs to level the playing field, by raising the price of products made by cheap (or slave) labour to a level equivalent to the cost of domestic labour.

    This way gives the incentive for the exporting countries to raise their wages, and the extra prosperity means that the "poor" countries will become rich enough to afford products made by "rich" countries, thus increasing their exports, and, most importantly, maintaining a healthy trade balance.

    By exporting jobs to the third world, the US has seriously damaged it's manufacturing capability, and it's ballooning commercial deficit do not look well.

    In fact, the US economic situation could very well copy the phenomenon that basically destroyed the spanish economy [straightdope.com] 400 years ago, turning the richest european country into one of the poorest.

  • by Monkelectric (546685) <slashdot@monkele c t r i c . 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 Richard Steiner (1585) <rsteiner@visi.com> on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:42AM (#16273409) Homepage Journal
    Most US workers do not "charge" their employers -- instead, they work for that employer for a rate that is set by the employer, and most employees say "okay" and go along.

    Salaries and hourly rates for IT workers are generally in-line with other professions in the US. A master plumber or mechanic makes between 50k-100k per yer in most of the US, for example, which is very similar to what a programmer/analyst with similar experience and training would make in the IT world. Also, while a help desk analyst might make $12 or $15/hour, that isn't very much different from folks in other similar types of professions. Heck, a person can make $8-10 an hour in some parts of the US flipping burgers.

    Problems start when you start mixing and matching labour from economies with radically different levels of expenses. A person making minimum wage in the US could be very well off in many parts of the world, even though many people find it difficult to live on that same wage in a number of places here in the US. Why? Because it doesn't cost $500/month for a basic apartment in those parts of the world.
  • by mrraven (129238) on Monday October 02, 2006 @01:57AM (#16273493)
    There is no balancing involved whatsoever. BOTH American and third world I.T. workers make LESS as companies scour the world for the cheapest wages they can find. And the I.T. work only benefits a tiny sliver of the billion + people in both China and India something like quite literally .001%. How can you honestly call something that benefits .001& in the third world a little bit while the rest of the world is suffering a setback a balancing? It's a disingenuous use of that word i.e. a lie. What's more I think you people who peddle these falsehoods are engaging in deliberate mendacities i.e. you are shilling to cover some ones ass in the elite. Shame on you I hope you sleep very poorly at night.
  • by Etherwalk (681268) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:18AM (#16273623)
    > if you studied everything you know out of a book 5 years ago, most of that is useless now

    It might be a good book, but the real question is how you think and how adaptable you are. If you drop it all and become a hermit for ten years, when you come back you might not know what the latest portable hologram generator is or where all the interesting research is or how to open the computer's cup-holder, but it won't take you long to figure it all out. (If you've got a head for tech.) If you know how to think about the problem, you'll be able to solve it. The facts that you learn from the book are less important than the though processes that you learn by discussing it.
  • by tbo (35008) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:18AM (#16273629) Journal
    Sorry, the grandparent post is spot-on. The Seattle WTO riots may have put "globalization" on the table and increased awareness, but it also created the perception that the anti-globalization movement is just a bunch of dirty hippies and bored college students. I know the guy who has the "i" from the Niketown sign, and he was both a bored college student and a hippy (not actually dirty, though). Guess how that influenced my perception of the anti-globalization movement?

    It's really completely irrelevant how organized the anarchists were or how much union support they had at the time--the g.p. poster's point was that the consequence of the riots was that people now view it as a "dirty hippy" cause.

    I suggest you stop watching so much MSM and so some research before you just spout off.

    I'm not a big fan of the MSM, but it is exactly where you should look if you want to learn about how things are perceived by the general public. Get out of your bubble-world, talk to some normal people, and find out what they think about the anti-globalization movement. The anti-globalization movement needs to seriously change gears if it wants to have traction with the US general public.
  • Heh, (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:24AM (#16273657)
    Dumb and hardworking workers are far far cheaper elsewhere.

    And in GW Bush's reign the US people in general have proven themselves to not be particularly bright.

    It's ugly but it's the truth.

    Maybe your only hope is to make yourselves endearing so those sociopathic CEOs/politicians keep you around as pets or for amusement.
  • by Knutsi (959723) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:26AM (#16273667)
    Isn't globalization really a natural re-distribution of labour and wealth to the parts of the world where it is truly needed? Perhaps the fact that jobs are lost is merely a sign that somehting was wrong in th first place, not that there is anything wrong with globalization itself.
  • Hrm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by A Life in Hell (6303) <jaymz@artificial-stupidity.net> on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:35AM (#16273731) Homepage
    Wait, wasn't the dot com crash in Feburary 2001 - i.e. just after the reporting started? Wouldn't it stand to reason, then, that all of the useless dot com monkeys who did nothing but read VC monthly and talk about how they were going to make millions in stock options not selling things, they'd be included in this statistic, right?

    I only ask because I'm not exactly upset to be rid of them...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:46AM (#16273793)
    But what we have isn't exactly thermodynamics, but the gas laws. We have higher pressure on one side of the membrane, and lower pressure on the other. Companies are exploiting the membrane by producing a good on one side, and selling it on the other. The first side suffers to the benefit of the other, till an equilibrium is established. When Americans are making the same real wages as China, companies will no longer feel the need to send jobs offshore. Globalization means equalization. So do you really want to go from first world to third world? Who here (anyone, class, please lets have a show of hands), would like to move from a 1st world country to a 3rd world one? How about the economists. Lets move *them* without options or any possibility of coming back, and see how they enjoy the 3rd world lifestyle the rest of us would like to avoid. Globalization is about greed and profit.
  • 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 mrraven (129238) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:08AM (#16273913)
    America has become a sad place when speaking the truth plainly without some sort of "moderate" nicey, nicey nodding in the direction of the Fox corporate blow hards is considered "lunatic fringe." Remember it was people protesting and striking that brought us the 40 hour work, that got black people the votes, that got women the vote, that helped end the Vietnam war, earth day that brought us NEPA, getting the picture? If you think the regressive forces of the world will give up their ill gotten privileges without loud protest you are kidding yourself. Moderates never got shit in history except some Uncle Tom pats on the back, it's radicals that got the goods time after time. From the founding fathers who used gasp violence against the "legitimate" British government to the current radicals like ACT UP who brought gay rights into the forefront in the late 80s the powers that be have to be pushed against if you want to gain any ground, count on it.
  • Look. You're both right and you're both wrong. And you should be smart enough to realize that. It's nice to see some honest dissent, but you both should learn to tone it down about four notches before you consider conversing. Fearmongering is a short-term tool. It doesn't work forever. Reality is slowly catching up to the political / economic system, and there are a lot of factors in it. All that really needs to happen at this point is a fair playing ground, so off to Black Box Voting for both of you.

    Oh, and if you didn't shoot spittle at every conservative you spoke to, you would have a better chance of convincing them. I know I do.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor (597831) on Monday October 02, 2006 @03:20AM (#16273953)
    Offshoring does not apply to IT. No doubt geeks want their overpayed jobs, yet still want cheap labor to supply their clothing, shoes, ipods, RAM etc. Why should the IT industry get any preferential treatment?
  • 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 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 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.

  • 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 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?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:03AM (#16274135)
    Porn?
  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:06AM (#16274145)
    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 R D Girl (1008253) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:11AM (#16274169)
    A few years ago, the work that I would have been doing would have been absolutely dull. Things have changed now - I'm involved a lot more with customers and working out how to help them instead of being in a lab all day. Outsourcing has meant that the dull parts of my job have been moved away but the juicy bits remain. And guess what guys and girls, this makes me happier.
    Incidently, I read something like for every dollar of work shipped out overseas, we get to see 1.30 in return. This is a well known figure. In more real terms, my company moved a lot of the routine chemical analysis work to India. This leaves much more time to do the really high end chem modeling work and working with customers to tailor make plastics to suit them. A few years ago, that would have been too expensive for my company.
  • 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 Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:43AM (#16274337)
    I work as a software engineer and the idea of losing my job to someone in who lives in India or some other place where the average salary couldnt cover the cost of rent in the worst of slums in America scares me a lot. But whenever I read an article (like this one) claiming that its already happened I feel a lot better because it makes me think that its just fearmongering.
    It is fearmongering, to a point. You have to consider a couple of things, though. First, you probably started at an entry-level position and worked yourself up. The senior folks don't have much to worry about, if they are truly competent, but there just aren't the same openings for junior folks today. Second, your position and/or your wages could be threatened if the H-1B floodgates are opened further. We both know that senior developers cannot function offshore, but those same people can function just fine sitting in the US. Big business knows this, too, which is why they push so hard for H-1Bs. Think about it: if it really were possible to get better costs offshore, why would they want the H-1Bs. The simple answer is that offshoring does not work for software.
  • 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 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).

  • by bitmonki (787780) on Monday October 02, 2006 @06:01AM (#16274647)
    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 *exactly* like everyone else I've ever worked with, i.e., 10% were essentially unproductive, 10% were utter joys to work with -- sharp, organized, capable, motivated and could communicate well -- the remaining 80% were somewhere in between.

    Over the last 20 years I've watched as American business management seemed to forget about delivering the best product, and focused on maximizing profits instead, as if the two could be entirely separated. Stupid, and it will take probably at least a *generation* to fix that.

  • by RandomBrit (1008269) on Monday October 02, 2006 @06:06AM (#16274673)
    I flicked through the article and though seemingly thorough it doesn't really advocate a solution to what 'might' be a problem. So one can only assume that what is being advocated is protectionism.

    Lots of statements can be made about the benefits or not of offshoring, but protectionism is usually pretty damaging for a number of reasons that many economists will agree on. The number one reason is that protectionism is almost always badly implemented, look at the many military acquisition purchases which have been for pseudo-politcal/protectionist reasons.

    A famous story here in Europe is the Eurofighter project, a project which has cost billions over many year. For political and protectionist reasons the plane parts got carved up so they would be designed in different countries so as to create local jobs. The result? A 5 year late project wasting massive amounts of money recreating a clone of an existing American combat fighter. That's protectionism in action.

  • 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.
  • by ultranova (717540) on Monday October 02, 2006 @06:30AM (#16274779)

    Look at me! I'm white and American -- I shouldn't have to compete for my job!

    I'm a Finnish librarian with a beautiful pale pink skin. That said, I don't think that anyone should have to run like crazy just to stay in place. Because that's what this "improve your skillset to compete" crap actually is.

    The reason why government exists is to ensure the survival and wellbeing of its subjects. If it is unable to do that, it is time to replace it with one that does. The more I see the economy go to Hell because various governments cling to free trade and laissez-faire capitalism, the more willing I'm becoming to vote in the lunatic fringe.

    If you find yourself sliding out of the job market, then get some more skills.

    No amount of skills is going to offset an order of magnitude in living expenditures (and thus wage required to survive), especially since the Indians can simply acquire them as well. Besides, the positions demanding top skills go to the top people, and the chances are that you are not amongst them, no matter how much your ego may disagree.

  • I know the guy who has the "i" from the Niketown sign, and he was both a bored college student and a hippy (not actually dirty, though). Guess how that influenced my perception of the anti-globalization movement?

    Seems popular in the USA.. stick some nasty label on someone so you can just ignore whatever they say...

  • 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 vsigma (154562) on Monday October 02, 2006 @08:09AM (#16275233)
    Is that while a lot of these jobs are lost - and people are complaining about not having a job -
    there are a lot of idiots who went into IT in the first place, who should NEVER have gone into
    IT to begin with.

    I don't know how many idiots I've met in the IT industry that have ZERO business being in
    there. They don't have a clue as to how logic works. Can't be bothered to read a frickin'
    manual or just use references to figure things out.

    It's sad that a lot of these people are whining and complaining, instead of realizing that
    they didn't belong there in the first place!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @08:27AM (#16275369)
    exchanging a few lives for $$$ many companies are willing to do this.

    And herein lies the real problem. Someone wrote a letter to our paper a few days ago complaining about new toxic pollution laws (not CO2, this was stuff like mercury and things that are actually proven to kill people) complaining that the current laws are "already far too onerous" by requiring a level of pollution that would kill only one in a million people.

    Yet people don't throw these guys in jail? If I ran around killing one in a million people, I'd be executed as soon as they caught me.

    It would be one thing if they said "oh, this will kill one in a million users" or "this would kill one in a million of our workers", because then I could say "hey! maybe using this thing or working at their plant is dangerous" and not do that. But no, this is the danger to the general public. Thanks to this corporation, one in a million people walking around miding their own business might die without being able to take action to prevent it. Murderers.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 02, 2006 @09:16AM (#16275705)
    Yes of course 42-56 million American service job are susceptible to offshoring! I'm glad they finally realize it! Actually all of our jobs are susceptible! They will all go oversea and ALL Americans will be out of a job! 300 Million Americans will be sitting around doing nothing and when ever they try to start working an foreigner will run up and take their job!

    Sorry guys it doesn't work that way. All this means is that the IT sector is overpaid and too big, just like the manufacturing in the 80s and 90s. It's backlash from the 90s glut in IT, the IT sector is growing up so don't worry we are not going to loose 50 Million jobs overseas.

    Basically you either believe in the free market or you don't. You can't believe in the free market in 1998 when you're getting paid twice the salary + stock options of people in other fields (who may have similar levels of experience and education) and then 'get religion' once outsourcing hits your field.

    If outsourcing comes to my field I will be scared and worried about it, I don't want my job outsourced however I also realize that it isn't something the government needs to protect me from. Transitions in the economy happen and trying to stop it is foolish, we can however do our best to make transitions less painful.

    Anyway programming ability is starting to be like knowing another language. There are extremely few jobs you can get based solely on knowing how to speak Spanish and English, however there are a lot of jobs where it's a bonus. This is how programming is now IMO. You must be a knowledge worker in a specific field and then programming is your secondary ability which allows you to distinguish yourself.
  • by CodeArtisan (795142) on Monday October 02, 2006 @09:33AM (#16275869)
    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 enhancing their skills and learning from their mistakes.
  • 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 lixee (863589) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:07AM (#16276263)
    Bigger than Marxism or militant Islam?
    Let me guess...you're American, right?
    Yes, it's a bigger threat to mankind than Marxism or militant Islam. Please allow me to make my point.
    Militant Islam, it only stems from American interventionism in Arab countries and its blatant support of Israel. That's a subject I know very well, since I'm a muslim myself. I grew up in an Arab/Muslim country that's, like all other Arab countries (with the exception of Palestine and Lebanon), a dictatorship. There is no political solution to the problem because the Pan-Arab movement has been killed in the womb with the help of Western powers. The only hope seems to emerge from Islamists. I don't condone their methods nor do I agree with their agenda but I do know they're the only ones who can make a change. If it's for the worse, then be it! As long as they show some resistance to Bush&co, I'll vote for them any time. However, the dictatorial regime makes it impossible for them to acheive any kind of power. That is exactly why they're fed up with the US supporting oppressive regimes and channel that anger in suicide attacks and such.
    Marxism is not perfect; No system is. Yet, I fail to see how Marxism could put the lives of millions in danger as capitalism is now doing.
    I don't have the resources to convince you of Marxism's viability but then again, who has? The trouble starts when you link it with Leninism (which most Americans do). Now, there is no way I can revert whatever the propaganda has fed generations of Americans but I can confidently claim that a socialist model is definitely no threat to our lives. It can only improve the confort of the less-fortunate while not starving the rich to death. Socialism is the only close thing to Marxism that I have any knowledge of.
    Capitalism has ran amock and the US can only promote it by force, bribbery or deception. To quote Ani Difranco, "Capitalism is the devil's wet dream".
  • by smallpaul (65919) <paul&prescod,net> on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:09AM (#16276293)

    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.

    First: we are talking about IT workers, right? Safety standards are at best a minor issue. Americans get Carpal Tunnel Syndrome too.

    Second: you are responding to a post that says that there is fierce competition for IT workers and therefore burgeoning salaries. These are not abused factory workers. They are PHP programmers who don't get free sof drinks.

    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.

    A country is an artificial abstraction. You should be happy for your peers in India building a parallel high technology business that will help the whole human race move forward more quickly by providing global IT at reduced rates while supporting investments into the Indian school system.

  • Horse. Beat. Dead. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deuterium (96874) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:26AM (#16276479)
    Almost like clockwork, every couple of weeks we get another article about outsourcing (or global warming, or voting systems), and everyone wrings their hands about it. "The rich are seeking slavery" versus "you can't ignore the free market."

    What I find most disconcerting among the con camp is the tired sense of entitlement. It is believed that corporations should pay a premium to a given employee because "it's fair". Americans fret about losing any percentage of the well-beyond survival level of wealth we enjoy. It's not that we worry about living in huts and going hungry, but that we'll have to buy a Hyundai instead of a Toyota, or maybe a smaller house, eat out less, etc. Our expectations are very high.

    That's fine, as long as we're willing to do what it takes to generate that wealth. If you believe that you're so talented, but your employer doesn't appreciate it, start your own company. IT is one of the few fields with minimal startup costs. Our country was founded upon the idea of entrepreneurship, and it was those original risk-takers that lead our nation to greatness. People weren't as locked into the cycle of college > corporation meritocracy as we seem to be today. We play it safe, and have the inviolate expectation that we deserve a given salary by law because we've done what was rewarded in the past. This isn't a socialist country, though. Companies are free to pay market wages, and the market keeps getting bigger. We can either accept this, and take personal responsibility for our own success, or continue to complain that things are changing, and try to manipulate the system to mitigate the change.

    I'm not arguing that we shouldn't have some measures to protect workers, and as a country we do, but we have to recognize that there is a cost for having such protections, and that is the economic disadvantage it puts us in relative to those in developing economies. We can't have the best of both worlds.
  • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:27AM (#16276491)
    Having all the engineers do 5% of their time managing is a disaster in the offing: the one of them who enjoys office politics, and is good at gathering resources, will wind up as CEO. If they have other qualities that are really bad, they will still succeed in becoming CEO, and destroy the company. A few engineers that are also good managers can make a company wildly successful, but these are rare.
  • by MagikSlinger (259969) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:39AM (#16276653) Homepage Journal
    I agree Globalization works both ways, but your arguments are weak. Most 3rd world countries were already out sourcing destinations for manufacturing and primary industries (raw materials). Their GDP was many times larger than their GNP. The wealth being created wasn't staying in country. The technology and know-how was not being passed to the locals so they could make their own companies and compete. They were effectively colonies. The 3rd world knew this and pushed for global free trade, with the hopes that somehow what little capital and knowledge was transferred could make them competitive.

    The big problem is Government. India has restrictions up the wazoo to favor local industries, and corruption at the local levels prevent workers from getting their rights protected. Child labor is illegal in India, slavery is illegal in India. Yet both are responsible for a large amount of garment and textile work coming out of India, and the local NGOs are complaining that the government of India not only does not WANT to enforce the laws, they seem to PROTECT these employers. India's government is preventing workers from taking responsibility for their own lives to improve their working conditions. THAT is the problem with the current outsourcing trend.

    High-tech, being more visible and having a more educated, motivated work force, is an exception thankfully. If you hadn't noticed, the wages for high-tech people in India is rising faster than multinationals want and have gone to a country which is infamous for using Government to oppress the people: China. China does even more things to prevent the people from improving their lot in life, and thus depresses wages and working conditions. Without the freedom to price themselves out of the market, how can we in the West compete with virtual slaves?

    Free-trade can be good among equals. It allows us to take advantage of our differences to create wealth and opportunity. But the current trend of globalization seems to be about finding ways to stamp on the face of workers for the benefit of a few, and corporations are delighting to deal with totalitarian regimes, and even co-operating with these governments to keep their power.

    This isn't free-trade globalization, this is humanity getting f----d over.

    And yes, eventually people WILL object and fight back... with violence and extremist Socialism. Do we really want to go back to the 1980s again?
  • by ArmyOfFun (652320) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:45AM (#16276749)
    How does one "up-skill" when the jobs that require a 4 year degree get out-sourced? When the jobs that require a masters get out-sourced? When the jobs that require a PhD get out-sourced?

    While your historical view of the flow of labor is solid, I think it's clouding today's reality. Intelligent people are everywhere. When a job gets outsourced, it doesn't mean you can invest X more years in your skills and knowledge and go back to work when someone half a world away can also invest X more years in their skills/knowledge and then apply for the same jobs at 1/10th the cost.

    Wages for all jobs in the western world are going to fall as globalization continues, unless you're an owner of a corporation with international reach, in which case your wage will probably continue to rise. We're already seeing stangant wage growth in combination with macro-economic growth and inflation in core goods. The western middle class is in store for some painful years.
  • by Ubergrendle (531719) on Monday October 02, 2006 @10:56AM (#16276929) Journal
    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.

    Please just keep telling yourself this. Google currently has 100+ postings in the US for 'manager' positions -- product management, account management, project management. Surprisingly none of these positions have 'degree or certification in engineering' as a prerequisite. Oh, as Steve Jobs only has 1 semester of college education [wikipedia.org], i don't think he meets your 10+ years of engineering education that you suggest.

    (Roughly) Quoting Heinlein -- "If a society produces only artists instead of plumbers merely because art is of higher value, the society will have neither good art nor good plumbing."
  • by KlomDark (6370) on Monday October 02, 2006 @11:04AM (#16277053) Homepage Journal
    Can you imagine a football team with your attitude? The team walks out on the field, gets the ball, then just wanders around stupidly saying stupid things like "It will make the other team happy if we just give them the ball", "They have a right to our points since we already had some last year", "Sure is cost efficient to just give our jobs to the other team", "Go ! Yay!"

    Regardless of how advanced our society is, it's still sink or swim, do or die, us against them. How many millions of good-hearted Americans need to die on this altar before you see the error of your ways?

    Whose team are you on, anyway?
  • by yaminb (998189) on Monday October 02, 2006 @11:09AM (#16277119)
    I think people are overestimating the quantity of intelligent workers. Are there great Indian and Chinese engineers? Of course. Are they enough to do all the major design work in the world? Nope. Furthermore, the very factors that makes China or India great for manufacturing, work against it for high quality engineering jobs. With such high rates of poverty and 'IT' seen as a way to make money, you get a lot of poor quality people graduating through the system. Some get by through cheating (see article about Chinese student getting surgical implants to cheat on tests...), others just lack the passion to do good work, and some just get by via the corruption. Imagine being a manager and trying to hire a good engineer in India or China. I really don't know how they'd do it on a large scale given the sheer number of applicants. As far as I'm concerned these countries are just now starting to get their fair share of high end design work. For such large countries, they deserve their fair share of highend work. But its not going to be the death of our economy. A better way to look at it is the US IT industry has been far too large. Other countries have good engineers too and they are resources to be tapped. Good engineers are too hard to find for any country to have a monopoly.
  • by Scentless (963269) on Monday October 02, 2006 @11:15AM (#16277183)
    Bah, Slashdot really knows how to stoke the IT flames with an article like this. But maybe its time to stop thinking its "us vs. them" in regards to off-shoring. Perhaps we are seeing the opening stages of, what I like to call, "the grand unification" of the world. Yes, someone can do your job for less! Move on. Is it the end of the world? Are Americans all of a sudden living in slums and standing on soup lines? Hardly.
  • by KingEomer (795285) on Monday October 02, 2006 @11:38AM (#16277521) Homepage
    Why is life a contest? How are we on a different team than the Chinese and Indians? I don't exactly feel any urge to "beat" them. Nor do I feel obligated to.
  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Monday October 02, 2006 @11:51AM (#16277733) Homepage
    While IT workers aren't 'abused' in the sweatshop sense, don't trivialize the challenges American IT workers face. We're not complaining about jobs without free soft drinks, but about jobs where we're doing the work of two or three people for 60% of the salary we could command five years ago. American wages are being eroded much faster than Indian wages are going up, with the difference being pocketed by employers, and any attempt by American workers to ask for more jobs, better wages, or better working conditions are discouraged by the threat of jobs moving to India.

    What I fear is something called 'wage arbitrage.' Transnational corporations can go anywhere to take advantage of low cost labor, and skilled workers trapped behind national borders cannot follow. So wherever corporations have jobs, they can keep costs down by threatening to move workers overseas. Governments are desperate to keep these jobs, so they're happy to pass laws at the behest of the corporations, giving them tax breaks or making it illegal for workers to unionize.

    So I really don't see it as "America is hurting, but India is turning into a technological superpower." If it were that simple, I'd probably just start looking into migrating. India's day in the sun will only last as long as they don't do anything stupid, like try and tax the corporations to pay for the education system that benefits them or improve the lot of the rural poor. The moment that happens, you'll see a massive shift away from India towards some more compliant country.

    Of course, that will raise wages in Sierra Leone, or wherever the jobs move to. But not nearly as much as wages will fall in India, and again, corporations will pocket the difference. It's all a huge shell game designed to transfer as much of the wealth created by labor into the coffers of owners, while giving as little back as possible. Wage arbitrage gives capital a huge advantage in any negotiations with labor. But in the long run, this destroys the middle class, and erodes nations' abilities to invest in the health and education of their citizens, which are necessary for businesses to run successfully. So big business is reaping short term profits while undercutting both demand for their products and the ability of labor to create those products.

    IOW, I'm happy to see India doing well, but I think it's part of a long-term trend that is going to hurt everyone.
  • by Maxo-Texas (864189) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:00PM (#16277919)
    Quality is not uniformly crap.

    The indians are the new japanese.
    They are working *very hard* to come up to speed. They are insanely driven right now- to the point of committing suicide if they don't get in the right schools.

    If you think they are going to produce crap quality code in 5 years, you are setting yourself up for a massive fall.

    The good news is in 8 years, their wage advantage will mostly be gone at current inflation rates.
    And that americans begin retiring in droves in 2012 creating a labor shortage.

    America is grossly overpriced because it is a safe, prosperous place to live where the government mostly (even in these increasingly fascist days) leaves you alone and has comparatively low taxes. Rich people are willing to pay a lot to live in a pretty place which the government won't take from them and where the government or some religious psychos won't arbitrarily kill them, torture them, or put them in prison.

    The next generation of indians will not be *nearly* so driven. Just like the europeans, then the americans, and then the japanese, that generation will grow up with rich parents and be lazier and not see the point in giving up their life to earn a few more dollars.

    The world is averaging out to a higher standard of living where it isn't descending into complete hell holes. America is going down (but really not much) and the other countries are coming up (and fast!).

    For now the best advice I can give you is to get your elective surgery done over there. It's a lot cheaper.
  • by wonkknows (311233) on Monday October 02, 2006 @12:41PM (#16278569)
    No, the correct term is ' outhousing ' :p
  • by aeoo (568706) on Monday October 02, 2006 @02:17PM (#16280427) Journal
    Parent actually has good points. You just insulted him "in style", but the "in style" part is of course debatable.

    Wealth is always relative, and never absolute.

    Thus, it's impossible for wealth to be created or for it to disappear in absolute terms. But what IS possible for a relative quantity? Aha, that's right -- concentration. Yes, in relative terms, wealth can concentrate. That's all it ever does. It either concentrates or diffuses, and it's never created or destroyed.

    I'd maybe go deeper into it and explain why wealth is relative, but you're a dipshit who is not worth my time. I'm writing this for other people, not for you.
  • Complete nonsense. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jotaeleemeese (303437) on Monday October 02, 2006 @04:01PM (#16282487) Homepage Journal
    Engineering and management require different skills sets.

    Sometimes the same person have them both, but on many others it just does not happen.

    The best way to create a bad manager is to force a good Engineer without the necessary skills to become one.

    The assumption, very common around here, that Engineers are some kind of uber human that can learn anything thrown at them is laughable, to say the least (disclaimer: I am an Engineer and at time I have had managerial responsibilities)
  • Re:Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThosLives (686517) on Monday October 02, 2006 @06:28PM (#16284949) Journal

    Lesson number 1: "wealth" is not the same thing as "value".

    I would agree that the value that is placed on manufactured goods has been declining, but that does not mean that the wealth inherent to the manufactured goods is any less.

    Put another way: The price of a house does not changes its square footage, ability to store things and protect from the environment, etc. The wealth of a house (sans damage or additions) is constant, regardless of the price (value) associated with that house. Yet another example: a wrench does not lose its "wrenchness" if it only costs $5 instead of $10.

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