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The Almighty Buck

Age Discrimination, Indian-Style 400

theodp writes "In April, IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano told investors Big Blue hopes to dodge an estimated $6 billion in liability stemming from a judge's ruling that IBM violated U.S. federal age discrimination laws. In May, IBM closes on its $150-$200MM purchase of Indian outsourcer Daksh, whose age requirements for job applicants make Logan's Run seem progressive. On its Opportunities page, Daksh states that Customer Care Specialists should be between 21-25 years of age and Team Leaders should be no older than 27. Early Daksh investors included Citigroup and we-don't-need-no-stinking-unions Amazon."
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Age Discrimination, Indian-Style

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  • Well.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:21PM (#9232674)
    When are they going to state that the workers have to speak english? That'd be nice..
    • Re:Well.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by lawngnome ( 573912 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:32PM (#9232723)
      You just want everything dont you? back in my day we had to read manuals! and half the time they were in another language! *looks at his vcr blinking 12:00 and weeps bitterly*
      • I still (barely) remember the days when technical manuals were written in real English. The manuals for the old 70's-era electronic test equipment (HP, Tektronix) I fool around with in my spare time are like this. It's really refreshing.

        Not any more. Even at my day job at a huge semiconductor firm, the internally-used technical specifications for major designs are frequently in broken English. At least they try to write them in English, unlike conference calls where frequently people start gibbering in
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:23PM (#9232683)
    If it's not legal in one country, just outsource to another where it is legal.
  • by Henrik S. Hansen ( 775975 ) <> on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:29PM (#9232707) Homepage
    Let's make one thing crystal clear:

    The only reasons companies discriminate based on age is that younger people are easier to persuade to work harder, longer hours, and that they usually doesn't require as high pay as older, more experienced applicants.

    It is NOT because younger people are smarter or brighter than older people. And who says they are, anyway? IMO, any supposed loss in thinking quickly is easily made up by the experience and better problem solving skills of older people.

    • It is NOT because younger people are smarter or brighter than older people. That's true. I think it would be safe to assume that older people would have more applicable experience and be more effective at the job. I think another assumption usually made is that younger people are sharper and more on the ball. But then again, that's just a typical stereotype as well.
    • by Roland Piquepaille ( 780675 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:34PM (#9232735)
      younger people are easier to persuade to work harder, longer hours, and that they usually doesn't require as high pay as older, more experienced applicants.

      It is NOT because younger people are smarter or brighter than older people

      Younger people are not bright when it comes to refusing to work overtime so much that it destroys health and family life.

      I know that often they can't refuse to work hard, because jobs are hard to come by these days and some other youngster is ready to take the place, but also it's usually illegal to fire someone for refusing gross overtime. The only trouble for young people is how do you prove you were fired by your boss on that ground in court.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:43PM (#9232783)
      If you want cheap tech support that just reads a script and you're supporting Some Random Game or How To Use Instant Messenger Brand X, then you probably aim for young, cheap people you can easily manipulate and strongarm into hard work, harder hours and little pay or other compensation with the false expectation that hard work pays off in corporations and doesn't just get you laid off when you are promoted into a position that they can no longer afford to keep.

      However, if you are supporting mission critical software or hardware for a company with very expensive ($100k +) support contracts who expect reliable, professional, top-notch, respectable, hard-working employees who take sick days only when they're really sick and can be expected to return a page immediately and be on call like a responsible adult, you hire people with proven industry experience.

      I work in such an environment and I'm almost the youngest person in our huge (thousands globally) support division at the age of 28. Almost everyone else is in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Almost all have college degrees plus five or more years of experience and many have masters degrees.
    • by hemp ( 36945 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:03PM (#9232911) Homepage Journal
      Renewel on carousel!!

    • ObOntopic: software patents lead to Outsourcing. Indeed, rather than run the risk of being sued for patent infringment, software companies will prefer to outsource their actual development to places (such as India) where there are no software patents yet, rather than do it in their homecountry, and expose themselves to potentially expensive patent litigiation.

      That being said, if you happen to be Danish, please carefully watch the following clip:

      There is something rotten in the State of Denmark []

      Ok, no

    • That's not the only reason! The bar I go to mainly employs young and very beautiful staff. This is because they want to attract customers who fancy the staff. Sheesh, just having all the ex-boyfriends of some of them come along is enough to make a profit :-)

      This strategy is less likely to work if all your staff look like Alice Cooper.

  • heh (Score:2, Funny)

    by SKPhoton ( 683703 )
    Age discrimination and Indian-style in the same sentence? Did anyone else picture a class of kindergardners sitting around indian style? Heck, I'd think they were unsuited to be "Customer Care Specialists" too.
  • Is this a problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Serveert ( 102805 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:31PM (#9232715)
    This is why we outsource to India. Less government regulation, fewer worker protection laws, fewer environmental regulations... I mean, are we to enforce our minimum wage laws on India? No.
    • by Pituritus Ani ( 247728 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:40PM (#9232771) Homepage
      Which is why when jobs are outsourced like this to circumvent American worker protections, the products of such labor (or the gross, in case of service businesses) should be heavily taxed.
      • by Serveert ( 102805 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:49PM (#9232826)
        Should Europeans who outsourced to America tax American products given that Americans don't require workers to be near a window, don't require workers to have 5 weeks of vacation and can be fired with ease?

        Things are tricky. I lost my job to Indians but managed to find something more stable and well paying since I do have a good degree, do have plenty of experience, I am relatively young. But what happens when I get older.

        Things are bleak and cold and confusing, the only thing that is sure is people will not think twice about letting you go if that means they can keep their job or make a quick buck.
        • Yes--any country has the right and the duty to attempt to avoid the circumvention of its employment laws. The best way to effect this is to hit said companies in the pocketbook. The next step in the escalation is that the capital leaves the country--but then, tarrifs can be employed to keep the fruits of exploited labor out.
          • ... only *indivuduals* do. Countries have duties to their citizens, the extent of those can vary, but at least should include military protection and keeping "law and order" and (I personally very much agree with Libertarins on this one) not too much else.

            When you start saying that "countries" have rights of their own it is pretty much a start on a slippery slope to Communist/Nazi regimes. (BTW, I've lived unter the former one).

            Paul B.
          • any country has the right and the duty to attempt to avoid the circumvention of its employment laws

            Well yes, if the alleged circumvention happens in above hypotetical country.

            No if it happens elsewhere, like India, where it may not be illegal to discriminate based on age.

            The historical circumstances of each place are different, and your country does not have any rigth to make others conform to your own standards (which regarding worker protection are substantially lower to many other places, India inclu
            • by Pituritus Ani ( 247728 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @07:49PM (#9233571) Homepage
              As a country, this isn't an imposition of one country's labor laws on another--it's just an adjustment of tax codes to discourage commerce with countries who choose not to have standards equivalent to those of the importing country. Should that be a problem, the government of the exporting country has two choices: bring its labor standards up to facilitate commerce, or remain uncompetitive if it can't compete on a level playing field. This isn't coercion--there's no military force at work here.
        • You guys require that the worker be near a window and give them 5 weeks vacation? Can I move there? Please? I promise if you let me move there I'll sit in the back and won't bother anyone...
      • Why not just make it simple? Any outsourced job has to go to someone with the same benifits and rights as the worker in the country of the origin of the outsourcing.

        I can't really get especially mad if companies outsource to better workers, but since they are outsourcing to workers who accept much worse conditions I do tend to get mad. Are we really so eager to let major corporations throw away all the progress we have made to force them to treat us like sentient beings and not numbers?
        • Works for me--but then the purpose of exporting the job wouldn't be to circumvent labor laws. This would help provide the "level playing field" we hear apologists for offshoring talk so much about when jobs go offshore, but not with respect to worker protections.
        • I can't really get especially mad if companies outsource to better workers

          Better in this case equates to "same capability for less cost". Lower wages do not necessarily mean worse working conditions. In fact, from talking to Indian friends who have worked both in the US and in India the actual working conditions are equivalent. So why are you mad exactly?

      • And who will pay for those additional taxes? That's right, the customers will. Sorry chap.

        • by Copid ( 137416 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:32PM (#9233083)
          Here's what follows from that: Your goods are no more competitive than they were when you weren't circumventing US employment law. You're making no more money than you did when you weren't circumventing US employment law. Thus, the incentive to circumvent US employment law goes away. The customers are either going to pay for additional taxes or additional worker benefits. If the taxes are imposed at the right rates, there should be no difference.
        • by Marvin_OScribbley ( 50553 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @07:00PM (#9233267) Homepage Journal
          And who will pay for those additional taxes? That's right, the customers will.

          As they should.

        • I would somewhat agree with you if I didn't keep seeing ceo salaries above 1000X what the normal American worker makes. Will the upper level managers ever take a pay cut to help a company? For every one example you could give, I could give 100 other that will never take a dime hit.

          In my opinion this type of behavior will only produce workers who have a "look out for me" attitude. They will work only long and hard enough to keep their jobs. Come to think of it, this is almost exactly like the Indian cul
        • Yes indeed! It's all basic economics! For example:

          Example 1: Company hires local experts, fairly high regulations yadda yadda. Product cost $X to make. Company charges $Y for product.

          Example 2: Company decides to cut costs to become "more competitive." They outsource entire operation to a less regulated/expensive part of the world. Product cost $X - 50 to make. Company charges $Y for product.

          Example 3: Government gets pissed off that Company is avoiding local income taxes etc and tax company out the w

        • Not necessarily. The burden of the tax incidence may be placed on the producer, depending on the flexibility of the cost of the product.
        • And who will pay for those additional taxes? That's right, the customers will. Sorry chap.
          You're assuming that selling price is somewhat proportional to manufacturing cost. This is false. The selling price is the highest value that the market will accept, not the manufacturing cost plus some percentually fixed profit margin.
    • by pavon ( 30274 )
      This is why we outsource to India. Less government regulation, fewer worker protection laws, fewer environmental regulations...

      While you could make a case for this in some industries, like textiles, it isn't the major factor in most cases of outsourcing. The main reason that companies outsource is because people are willing to work for less elsewhere, and this is overwelmingly because the standard of living is lower in their country.

      As someone else pointed out India does have unions and wage laws, and
      • by GileadGreene ( 539584 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:14PM (#9232968) Homepage
        ...this is overwelmingly because the standard of living is lower in their country

        It's not so much the standard of living as the cost of living. For example, the film industry has started doing lots of low-cost production in Australia and New Zealand. Now, the standard of living in those countries is comparable to (and arguably better than) the standard of living in the US. But the cost of living is much lower, so the labor is cheaper. From what I understand of the situation in India the standard of living for Indian tech workers is simialr to that of their American counterparts, but again, their cost of living is much lower.

  • Nothing new here (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cpu_fusion ( 705735 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:31PM (#9232716)
    If you consider the working/living conditions in mainland China, home of countless "outsourced" wage-slaves for western industry, age-discrimination seems downright harmless.

    • Re:Nothing new here (Score:4, Informative)

      by Satan's Librarian ( 581495 ) * <> on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:53PM (#9233224) Homepage
      Definitely have to agree with you. Compared to conditions that the people building our cellphones and computers are living under, Indian support rep companies sound nice.

      At the factories I worked at in one of the southern 'special economic districts' [], it seemed like they just provided crowded dormitories and food for the teenage girls working the lines. I guess they could have been paid in addition, but certainly not enough to allow for any kind of 'upwardly mobile' trend or savings.

      Of course, on the other hand, it was sometimes hard to be too angry at the western companies, since it looked like the farmers in the surrounding areas in China had it a lot worse than those who worked in the factories. At least the girls working the lines got steady meals, a clean place to sleep, and some basic education (reading and writing abilities help productivity in high-tech factories quite a bit).

      Being a wage-slave for a multinational corp must have looked like the best option to the many peasants as well, considering that I was told - when watching peasants being beaten by the side of the road by police and I asked one of our reps what was going on - that people without the right papers aren't allowed into the special economic regions but that they come anyway in hopes of slipping in and finding a job.

  • by ScriptMonkey ( 660975 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:31PM (#9232720)
    Cool. It looks like I'd be up for retirement on my 26th birthday (10 weeks from now) if I worked there. I'm sure the pension plan includes all the starvation I can eat. Famine. mmm....
  • HR's business (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fembots ( 753724 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:31PM (#9232722) Homepage
    Why do they want to make the age requirement public? This can be discretely discussed with the HR department and just filter anyone over xx age out automatically.
    • Re:HR's business (Score:2, Interesting)

      by kunudo ( 773239 )
      Why do they want to make the age requirement public? This can be discretely discussed with the HR department and just filter anyone over xx age out automatically.

      Maybe they did, and someone noticed?
  • Two points: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dncsky1530 ( 711564 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:32PM (#9232727) Homepage
    1] People start to work and have kids at an earlier age in India, by ensuring people are between certain ages, you ensure they will be with the company a long time.

    2] More resources on age descrimination []
    • Sorry, this first point here is a crock of Sh*t. Speaking as an employer myself, I will ALWAYS take more experienced people, whatever their age, over younger types. It makes solid economic sense to do so. Less problems on all sides.

      If I decided to take on younger people, the only reason I can imagine I would do so would be to milk them for everything they're worth, and then discard them for the next generation of suckers. And that is what is happening right now in India.
  • by Orclover ( 228413 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:37PM (#9232746)
    Im 32 years old (in a couple days), thankfully i run a small buisness network of 60 systems spread out across a city. But if my job ever went south again i always thought i could fall back into computer/networking phone support once again. But unlike 10 years ago it seems there are little oportunities for someone my age to work in such a field, first because most of those jobs got shipped off to malaysia and india (fuck you dell), and now because im over the hill. Seems to be yet another reason to hang onto my current job with a iron griop.
    • Always be looking for another one. Your'e employer knows in his bones that you would dump him the minute something better comes along and he has to be willing to do the same to you. Your best defense is to be continuously aware and in the path of other opportunities.
  • by corporatemutantninja ( 533295 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:37PM (#9232747)
    ...there's a simple reason call centers want young people: they have to retrain them to use American accents (actually, they teach a neutral accent they call "Global English") and older learners have a harder time changing their accents. Old dog/new tricks and all. Judging by the posters selection of links, I'd say he is grasping for ways to bad-mouth the Indians in order to keep the jobs here.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:50PM (#9232836)
      "(actually, they teach a neutral accent they call "Global English") "

      I've received quotes from Indian outsourcing companies where they could supply a staff of people who spoke (a) brittish, (b) southern/texas, and (c) american/california accents, and promised they'd adjust their style to match the caller.

      They also quoted rates for having the staff read the local newspaper of key markets so they could make appropriate comments about the weather, ball games, etc.

      This service was much more expensive than the competitor's heavy-indian accent bid, though.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:49PM (#9233194)
        oh... and forgot to mention... when tested, they were _very_ good. The same individual gave me his british accent, his deep-southern-drawl, and his california/neutral/hollywood accent. Each sounded perfect to me.

        His neutral accent sounded just like the "generic white guy" from any movie.

    • by StrawberryFrog ( 67065 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:05PM (#9232924) Homepage Journal
      they teach a neutral accent

      There's no such thing. It is imposible to speak English (or any other language for that matter) without pronouncing your words in a particualr way. That is a way of speaking, an accent. Travel a bit, and you'll realise that "unaccented speach" is really just "the way people talk where I grew up".
      • by corporatemutantninja ( 533295 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:36PM (#9233120)
        I didn't say "unaccented" I said "neutral accent" and there absolutely is such a thing. It's simply a language spoken without an identifiable regional accent, sort of an "average" accent. In the U.S. we have "newscaster English" which is neutral-American, and in the U.K. BBC newsreaders speak in neutral-British. In India they try to teach something which to American, UK, and Australian speakers sounds neutral. And they do a damned good job of it. I'm from Maine, and believe me they weren't talking "the people talk where I grew up." Ayuh.

        And, I was "traveling a bit": I was observing an accent training class at Daksh in Mumbai two weeks ago.

        Know of what ye speak.

  • by thedogcow ( 694111 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:38PM (#9232756)
    This poses a problem if they want younger crowds as the life expectancy in India is less compared to other countries See here []
  • by sultanoslack ( 320583 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:41PM (#9232774)
    Wow, this should get a gold metal for such a high number of mostly unrelated information given in a single article summary.

    The age discrimination IBM was hit with was related to pensioners having their benefits plan changed; it had nothing to do with hiring.

    The stuff on the Indian side of things, well, isn't really all that strange. The same thing happens informally in the US and in fact even the government has minimum ages for many elected representatives.

    But of course this will just turn into another "Oh, woe is me, I can't believe that skilled people in other countries are getting jobs too." (Nevermind that it's still much harder for an Indian with strong tech skills to find a job than an American.)
    • While I agree with you that the IBM comparison isn't valid, since the lawsuit is quite different from the gist of this story, which is the age requirements of hiring in the Indian firm.

      However, your comparison of minimum age requirement in US elected representative doesn't really apply in this case. The problem with the hiring in the Indian firm is about maximum age requirement. This is indeed troubling.

      I find it strange that people seem to brush off foreign IT hiring practices. Look, outsourcing is an em
      • [snip] the hiring in the Indian firm is about maximum age requirement

        How exactly is a maximum age troubling but a minimum one not? I don't see the fundamental difference between:

        • "We like hiring people over 30 for job Foo because people over 30 tend to be more mature."
        • "We like hiring 20-somethings for position Bar because 20 year olds have more energy."

        In fact I'd say it's pretty common practice in corporations to hire younger people for the entry level positions because there's a hope that they'

  • by poincare ( 63294 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:46PM (#9232800) Homepage
    From the article: A judge ruled last summer the pension changes IBM made in the 1990s violated federal age discrimination laws. Palmisano said Tuesday IBM hopes to win the case on appeal and avoid an estimated $6 billion in liability.

    IBM has discrimiated against older workers in the past, and they're buying a company that discrimiates against aged works now, but other than sharing the common feature of discrimination by big blue, these two events are unrelated.

  • Time to UNIONIZE (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:46PM (#9232810)
    This is outrageous, yes, but was it really unexpected? With all these companies outsourcing American IT jobs to the Far East, there is only one soultion, one that will keep American corporations from exploiting their workers, both at home and abroad: unionization.

    I've heard a lot of arguments against this in my time (many of them on Slashdot), and most of them boiled down to this: IT workers, as professionals, shouldn't unionize. Unions are for blue-collar workers. While I suppose this is a nice way to think about your job and make you feel better about paying tens of thousands of dollars a year for a degree in Information Studies, it's ignoring reality. Perhaps the best way I've seen someone put it is, in reply to someone complaining about needing a buzzword-compliant resume, that such requirements should be a clue that IT workers are now a commodity. Like it or not, IT is the new factory worker of the 21st century, and if IT workers don't wake up and unionize, they'll get screwed so fast their heads will spin.

    Maybe the AFL-CIO or UAW would be up to the task? They're only a postage stamp or a phone call away.

    • Maybe the AFL-CIO or UAW would be up to the task? They're only a postage stamp or a phone call away.

      Get the Teamsters involved! Think about it: If IT workers were Teamsters, and there was a contract disagreement between IT and management, then NOTHING would get shipped ANYWHERE by truck. That would really be an issue for most large corporations.

      Don't rely on professional organizations like the IEEE and ACM to help you with your career. These are international organizations, and don't give a rat's ass

      • by Anonymous Coward
        Except that this is really stupid and indicates that you don't understand the basics of trade unions.

        This works very well for truckers because you can't just say, "Ok, we're firing all of you and hiring Indian truck drivers." You can't outsource your electricians' work to another country and sending your car to the shop -- on another continent -- isn't practical.

        If anything unionization in the IT sector would just hasten the process of outsourcing.
    • Their are not stamped "For US citizens only".

      The wasteful way of life in the US society is contributing to it becoming less competitive (but not so much that you are too bad off. Stop whining, the US has it good, people normally have food and a roof on the top of their heads).
  • by tonywestonuk ( 261622 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:49PM (#9232830)
    The best age group for IT related tasks will, at the moment be between around 28 to 35..... Why?

    Well, people in this group grew up with the likes of the VIC 20, the ZX81, The Oric, The 80's 8 bit computers that we learnt and understood like riding a bike. No qualification, or degree will ever match what we know, and understand. Where students now learn computing in Uni, or secondary school, get taught IT skills, we learnt it through love of it, at 10 years of age, or earlier.
    We are the David Beckhams of the industry, The Tiger Woods. Understand that in this era, we are kings, and our ability will never be surpassed by anyone just getting a degree, however young. I am 31, and the my best work (so far) has been in the last year or so. In my workplace, we have had people younger, but, though they can code well, they seam to just miss the point... They just analyze any problem, and apply it to what they've learnt at school or uni, they do not truly understand that problem, or how to realize the best solution.... and there solution is, well, ok, but never shows any innovation or 'Wow factor'

    .... Tony.
    • by djplurvert ( 737910 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:57PM (#9233246)
      Frankly, in some industries, you're too young. I cut my teeth (as a teenager) on a KIM-1 and what I remember about the VIC20/ZX80 crowd is you're afraid of hardware.

      We use to refer to you lot as the "appliance computer users".

      I've found my familiarty with hardware/electronics to be an EXTREME asset in the embedded market.


      • I think that anyone who went through school with a calculator is mentally unprepared. I've seen far too many people unable to do simple arithmetic without having to dig out a calculator.

        To be honest I haven't found age discrimination to be a problem - I'm 54 and recently found myself unemployed through the failure of the company I was working for. I was able to get a series of pretty good offers as a senior level Java programmer within a couple of months. Pretty much all anyone asked about was my skillset.
        • The important thing is to understand the concept. your fingers, an abacus or a calculator are the right tool for the job depending on your social context.

          In a society where even mobile phones have calculators and where every single computer (an article obiquituous in most societies nowadays) pops up a calclculator with one or two clicks, the calculator seems like the obvious, necessary too to perform arithmetic.
    • You kiddies these days, you think you're soooo special because you got the transistor! Back in my day, digital meant counting on your hands.

      Seriously though, I think having a solid understanding of how computers work at a hardware level is extremely useful in helping one understand 'the big picture'. But I don't really see how gaining that by hacking in assembler on a G4 or K7 processor is any different than gaining that hacking on a 6809 OR 8088, and I question the usefulness of having 'POKE 65495,0' st

    • IT people of all ages very often say the same urban legend.

      The truth is that at any age you find people that know little and people with loads of skill and talent.

      If people are not learning to program in assembly language an obscure microprocessor is because it is a skill no longer needed, computing has moved one or two abstraction levels and most profesionals do not need to trouble themseleves with such topics.
  • by dbleoslow ( 650429 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @05:56PM (#9232872)
    Almost every job listed will have some sort of min/max age requirement. You could even be denied a job based on your blood type! Having type B blood puts you at a disadvantage from the start when looking for a job in Japan.
    • Hmm??
      • Most corporate jobs in Japan highly stress conformity. Blood type 'B' is associated with unpredictable and non-conformist people.

        Read here [].
    • Answer (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Adam9 ( 93947 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:28PM (#9233053) Journal
      I didn't know why they consider blood type as a hiring factor, so I found this:

      Personality assessment through blood type analysis has been prevalent in Japan sine the early 1970's. The Japanese term for this theory is 'ketsu-eki-gata', and is taken surprisingly seriously by the people from that part of the world. Books have been published on the topic, selling very well. In fact, Toshitaka Nomi has published over twenty-five books, and is considered the worlds leading expert on the topic. The blood type categories are used in a similar way to astrology in the west, focusing mostly on relationship aspects of life. Nomi goes further in his books though, even using blood type make up within a country as a theory for that nationality's general national traits.

      Japanese companies often take blood type into consideration when hiring employees, to ensure harmony throughout the staff. All the major car companies in Japan have reorganised themselves in order to attain positive blood type combinations in different working sectors. Surveys have been carried out to try and determine the preferences of different blood types, be it for food, clothes or any recreational activity. It is also a popular topic of conversation in social settings.

      More can be found here [].
      • Re:Answer (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Type O blood types are defined generally as warriors. This is perhaps because Type O is the oldest of all the blood types. These people are highly motivated, leaders of people. They aren't afraid to gamble because they are confident they can pull it off. They have a strong physical presence and are generally good at sport.

        So, I just look and behave like total a nerd, but in reality I'm a warrior hero jock. Damn! I wish this analysis would be more widely known.
  • With good salaries, adequate benefits (including environmental protections), and growth opportunities, the American workforce leads the world. Merely taxing foreign products produced without those costs hurts American workers when we buy those products. How can we structure global trade (in products, services, and labor) to *raise* the standards of workers abroad? That will equalize not only the price competition, but also the worker abuse that translates into so many other problems that inevitably attack A
  • by rollingcalf ( 605357 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:21PM (#9233004)
    They can legally discriminate based on race, age, gender, religion, or anything they want. So companies can limit their applicants by flagrantly advertising age, gender, and other requirements that would be illegal in the US.

    Businesses have much less regulations and worker protections than in the US and other industrialized countries, so they often collude to set artificially high prices for goods (although those prices may be still lower than in the US, due to the limited income of third-world consumers) and artificially low wages and working conditions for labor. And a handful of families control the majority of the wealth in the country.

    US companies that outsource should realize that the countries and companies that have a blatant disregard for worker's rights and fair competition also aren't going to give damn about less tangible ideas like intellectual property and privacy.
  • Unions are dead (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Grieveq ( 589084 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:22PM (#9233008)
    There is plenty of fodder in the above comments that could be remarked upon. (Bashing of US companies outsourcing jobs to India) But I think the current state of the economy shows that in the long run, the outsourcing of low wage/skill jobs to India and China is a good thing.

    "we-don't-need-no-stinking-unions Amazon."

    Unions are dead. Japanese car makers, Walmart, and many other business have show us this time and time again. Unions kill creativity, bring little benefit to workers anymore, and will only stagnate the company's growth.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Back in the days of the industrial age, older workers' experience was an asset. Hence the higher pay. Today, age means obsolescence, especially in hi-tech fields. The material taught in college cs classes changes almost every year. Why keep 30-year olds around when the kids out of college are better trained, better motivated, and will work for less?
  • Trust free markets (Score:5, Insightful)

    by argoff ( 142580 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @06:28PM (#9233054)
    If a company doens't hire someone because they're too old, then let them suffer the natural consequences of not getting the most effective people for the job. If a company hires a young person because they can pay them cheap and exploit them - make your own company, hire tham away, pay them more and pick the cream of the crop at will.

    Of course, sometimes companies take advantage of the system to expolit people, like communisim. Other times they take advantage of phoney property rights like copyright and patnet monopolies, other times they take advantage of false barriers to entry - like excessive regulation of the railroad industry, or RF frequencies. Not to mention our centralized monitary/tax system routinely rips people off, and locks people into the system when it comes to credit or money. - But from my experience, these problems have more to do with the publics poor belief systems than free markets.

    Moral: societies that have more libertarian values have more economic prosperity for the little guy.
    • by wes33 ( 698200 )
      the gini coefficient measures the degree of inequality in income distribution (based on the Lorenz curve) [google knows all]. Sweden: 25 / USA: 41 (where 0 is equal distribution / 100 is completely unequal)

      Sweden vs. USA ; USA has more libertarian values than Sweden but has much more equitable wealth distribution; given that the standard of living for Sweden and USA is roughly the same, this means the "little guy" does better in Sweden than USA contrary to your assertion (there are many more examples and
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually it is quite common in India and Pakistan . You see job ads that explicitly list an age and that require you to furnish a recent picture!!!!. I mean imagine this "ABC Ltd. require a developer with skills in X, Y, and Z. The applicant must be below the age of 30. Please send your resume with two recent photographs to XXXX".
    One of the most hilarious things that I saw was when a research institute that is "...committed to organising professional research, policy studies, and seminars in the area of
  • by JGski ( 537049 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @07:14PM (#9233352) Journal
    What's allowed in most developing countries would make your head spin.

    In the Philippines, it is customary to include on your resume: age, religion, marital status, weight, height, a recent photograph, and if female, "measurements". If you don't, you probably won't be considered. The age of being "past your prime" is about age 25, professionally and maritally. You can be summarily rejected for employment for any of the above parameter values - being muslim as always been a strike against in the Catholic Philippines. Not being of the right sex or not being "pretty enough" to "decorate" the office is pretty common.

    I'm sure other countries are similar. USian companies are required to follow the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act []; I wonder if it could apply to foreign age discrimination of subcontractors and subsidiaries?

    • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @08:33PM (#9233814) Homepage Journal
      Probably why the Phillipines are not an economic powerhouse... "I see you're a Rhodes scholar and MacArthur Grant Recipient, Miss Domingo. However you only wear a B-cup, so we cannot hire you at this time."

      I can understand (but not necessarily agree) wanting a young pretty woman for your receptionist, but it's economically stupid to demand them everywhere else.
      • by JGski ( 537049 )
        Perhaps, though, often enough the "pretty one" might well have degrees qualifying her above the position she's apply for. Also the Philippines GDP was twice that of the US in 2002, so maybe it is a powerhouse compared to the US. ;-)

        Part of the attractiveness of the Philippines for outsourcing is that there are many tens of thousands of college graduates either unemployeed or underemployed (architects doing ditch-digging, engineers pumping gas, nurses working as secretaries, etc. and even more living wit

  • by RotJ ( 771744 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @08:00PM (#9233637) Journal
    The play looks at the issue from the Indian call center worker's perspective.

    NPR did a good story [] on it in December. If you don't like using ears, Fortune [] covered it too.

    Paying offshore workers much less than American workers would make for the same job isn't necessarily exploitation. The "low" salaries really depend on perspective. For example, a call center worker in India makes more money than a doctor does.

  • Both Ways (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HyperCash ( 768512 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @09:08PM (#9233964)
    I never understood age descrimination. I've always sort of assumed that even in fast changing fields like high tech that experience would be a good thing.

    If its because the older workers get paid more and won't work for less money then its a pay issue and not really an age discrimination issue. If you wan't the job that badly work for less; nobody owes you anything.

    And before you think its just so much easier for us youngsters...

    Age descrimination works both ways. I worked for a couple years in California at an orgization that would match 12% (Yes, 12) of your pay and put it in a 401K for you but they wouldn't do this for you if you were under 21. Thats age discrimination and apperently its perfectly legal.

    Oh...Yeah, did I mention how much more us youngsters have to pay for our car insurance even if we have a clean record?

    Or that the cost of college compared to the average income has skyrocketed making it much more expensive for us to get an education.

    Or that the cost of a house compared to the average income has also been steadily increasing making it more expensive to get a foot in the door and buy a house.

    Or that even with all of the above those of us starting out have to pay a higher percentage of our income in taxes making it harder for us to save up enough to put a down payment on a house.

    Or how we have to pay tons of money into social security (a much higher percentage than previous generations) even though its possible (probable?) that we'll never see any of that back.
  • by PaneerParantha ( 713034 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:22PM (#9234623)
    As an Indian I am happy to see this topic being discussed.

    When I worked in India 10 years ago, it was common to see such ads. Some companies also asked for your marital status, the number of kids you have, and your driver's license number. There was no option but to provide this information.

    Some pressure on them to discontinue such practices would be good.
  • Human Commodity (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bigattichouse ( 527527 ) on Sunday May 23, 2004 @11:38PM (#9234685) Homepage
    When you have so *much* talent to draw from, from a pool of a billion, it must become very easy to just treat them like a commodity... to use them for what they're worth and then toss them aside when you're done with them... sort of the "low wage" syndrome (like call centers) here in the states - they work for nothing and there are a 100 people who will replace them - in fact there are 5 people being trained right now for when you get sick of it and quit, do you honestly give a crap about them as a manager? no. Humans are notoriously bad at managing surplus. Scarcity, we do pretty good with.. we even invent whole bodies of knowledge to manage it (economics).. Surplus? We have no idea what to do with it, and so we waste it. Now, I'm not exactly happy about offshoring, but I feel that, from the world-level-view, this sort of behavior is counter productive.
  • by watermodem ( 714738 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @12:57AM (#9234987)
    Palmisano is more than 27 years old!
    Lay him off! See how he likes it.
    Just make sure that the medical insurance costs more than the parachute.

I've got a bad feeling about this.