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President Defends Global Outsourcing 1075

mytrip wrote to mention a New York Times article discussing President Bush's trip to the Indian subcontinent. There, he urged Americans to welcome global competition for their jobs. From the article: "Mr. Bush, reiterating a theme of his trip, strongly defended the outsourcing of American jobs to India as the reality of a global economy, and said that the United States should instead focus on India as a vital new market for American goods ... 'The classic opportunity for our American farmers and entrepreneurs and small businesses to understand is there is a 300 million-person market of middle class citizens here in India, and that if we can make a product they want, that it becomes viable,'"
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President Defends Global Outsourcing

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  • Bush Whacked. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by JehCt ( 879940 ) * on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:23PM (#14843957) Homepage Journal
    The classic opportunity for our American farmers and entrepreneurs and small businesses to understand is there is a 300 million-person market of middle class citizens here in India

    How many of you are making more money because of all the people in China, India, and other cheap-labor locales, who buy stuff that you produce? To vote, Click here [republicans.org]

    Now, how many of you know somebody who lost their job because of overseas competition? To vote, Click here [democrats.org]

    Based on that unscientific survey, I'd say that George Bush is talking smack. The only people who really benefit from offshoring are the business owners who can costs by firing American workers and replacing them with cheap overseas labor. There may be more wealth, but it's all concentrated in a few hands.

    Bush can't understand what's it's like for an ordinary family to suffer the devastation of unemployment because he's never lived through it.

    • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:28PM (#14844030)
      Please keep in mind that the Democrats are, much like the Republicans, funded by the very corporations and wealthy individuals who gain the most from outsourcing. Voting for them is basically a vote for the status quo.

      • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Cyphertube ( 62291 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:43PM (#14844207) Homepage Journal
        Which is one of the reasons we need serious campaign finance reform.

        Corporate donations should be out, as should corporate lobbying.

        Lobbying should be funded solely with private donations that are capped. If you want to do more yourself, then lobby yourself, but organisations should be limited.

        And I'd like to make campaigning limited to local funds. I don't want funds from New England rich boys or Texas oil tycoons funding political ads in my state. If you want to campaign for a federal office (House, Senate, or Presidency) in my state, then you should have to have the funding come from MY STATE. If you can't raise funds here for your advertising, well, too bad.

        Imagine what THAT would do to corporations. It would strip their power to screw over the average citizen. Then, perhaps, politicians might actually have to listen to their home base, instead of big oil or big media.
        • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by smooth wombat ( 796938 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:01PM (#14844436) Journal
          Corporate donations should be out, as should corporate lobbying.

          Interesting you should say that. About ten years ago there was a proposal by a presidential candidate which was titled, 'Can't vote, can't contribute'. Essentially, if you were not able to vote in an election you were not able to contribute.

          This would exclude all PACs, corporations, etc from contributing to campaigns since none of them vote. Their members vote but not the entities themselves.

          And I'd like to make campaigning limited to local funds.

          This was another aspect of the above proposal. There is no reason someone from California should be contributing to a Senate race in another state. If they wanted to contribute money to the candidate they would have to move to the state in question.

          In fact, as a classic example of how out-of-state funds can alter a campaign, Cynthia McKinney from Georgia was defeated as the direct result of thousands of dollars that was poured into her opponents campaign because she did not support Israeli policies in the Occupied Territories. Jewish donors from the Northeast responded and altered the outcome of the race.

          Of course these changes to campaign finance laws will never happen because that would diminish the influence that business and PACs have. We couldn't have that happen, now could we?

          • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:38PM (#14844873)
            We must remember that the media itself consists of corporations. Just take the case of NBC. It's owned by General Electric. General Electric is also well-known for their manufacturing of military products.

            We all know that war is often very profitable for both those who manufacture the supplies consumed during conflict, as well as for those who report on said conflict. Therefore it seems unlikely that those who are benefitting the most from a rather pro-war administration (if not an entire system) will stand against it.

            Such an initiative would require the corporate mass media of the US to in turn speak out against itself. Again, it's doubtful that it would do it, at least to the extent where real change may happen.

          • by maynard ( 3337 ) <j.maynard.gelina ... Rl.com minus cat> on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:13PM (#14845243) Journal
            Brown and Root was a small construction company in southeast Texas formed in 1914 by Herman Brown with his brother-in-law Dan Root. Mr. Brown was a conservative and staunch opponent of the New Deal when he befriended a congressional staffer by the name of Lyndon Johnson in the early thirties. Johnson was ambition and wanted up the ladder from a staff position to an elected official. Herman Brown made that happen. With a lot of money. In exchange, once Lyndon won a seat in congress, he arranged for Brown and Root to build a number of public projects such as the Marshall Ford Dam, and the Naval Air Station at Corpus Christi.

            Lyndon wasn't much for house debate, nor was he a skilled lawyer, so writing and pushing through legislation was particularly difficult for him. Which for a congressman is a pretty serious drawback. But Lyndon was a big - physically imposing - man. And he had access to a lot of money through his connections at Brown and Root. So pretty soon Lyndon was passing contributions around to various Democratic congressmen in threatened races throughout the country. Because of this Lyndon grew very powerful in a very short time - powerful enough to attempt a run for Senate only two years after having won election as a congressman. He lost that first bid, but within a few election cycles large numbers of congressmen owed their seats to his arranged donations. Lyndon had the choice of committee seats at his disposal, and quickly became close friends with then congressional leader Sam Rayburn.

            But Lyndon still wasn't satisfied. He wanted to be a Senator. So off to his friends at Brown and Root asking to finance a new election bid for Senate. This time he won, but only because he cheated. Didn't matter. Once again he climbed the ladder from junior Senator from Texas in 1948 to minority leader in a single six year term (the Democrats lost the senate majority during the election of '52). He did this through funneling corporate contributions, much of which came from Brown and Root.

            Of course, we all know how Lyndon Johnson wound up as President. He was chosen to be JFKs vice presidential nominee in order to shore up the southern vote. Nobody expected him to have any power in that position. But JFK was assassinated in Dallas Texas on Nov 22nd, 1963 and soon thereafter Johnson assumed the Presidency.

            Who was there right behind him scoring military contracts left and right? Brown and Root. Soon to be named Kellog, Brown and Root. And then soon thereafter to be purchased by Halliburton.

            We all know who Halliburton is, don't we? History sure is a strange thing...

            See the works of Robert Caro [robertcaro.com] for a detailed history of Johnson and his connection with corporate financing. He was arguably one of the founders of this whole cross state campaign financing fiasco.
        • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Swanktastic ( 109747 )
          All donations should be required to be anonymous. The only reason to attach your name to a donation is with the 'quid pro quo' expectation that you're getting favors in return for your money. Of course, no politician would ever propose this, because it would absolutely kill donations, which would only be more proof of who works for whom. That, and the media corporations would have an absolute fit. After all, THEY are the primary beneficiary of these insane build-ups in campaign finance war chests.
          • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Kadin2048 ( 468275 ) <slashdot.kadin@x[ ].net ['oxy' in gap]> on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:13PM (#14844591) Homepage Journal
            That'd be impossible to implement. What's to stop me from sending a candidate some very odd amount of money -- say, $6328.41 -- (or better yet, do it repeatedly) and then just mention to them, through some sort of side channel, that all of those "41-cent" contributions were from me, and that if he didn't want to see the tap get shut off, he'd better do what I say. He wouldn't necessarily have to believe me, but I could say in advance that I was going to send a check a week late this month, or something else to prove that I'm behind them. It wouldn't be particularly hard.

            There's no way you can have anonymity when the people giving the money don't want it.

            It would be more practical just to bar donations outright, because at least then the problem is "just" monitoring a politician's finances to see if he's receiving money from an outside source (it's not easy, but it's something that law enforcement is fairly good at), rather than trying to stop the flow of information -- who's sending large amounts of money to whom, which is a relative impossibility.
          • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Johnny5000 ( 451029 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:25PM (#14844726) Homepage Journal
            All donations should be required to be anonymous

            I disagree. We should just carry the current system to it's logical conclusion without wasting any more time:

            All donations should come with a patch that is sewn onto the politician's clothing, so they look like NASCAR drivers, and we know who gave them money.

            And legislation should be clearly labeled with corporate sponsers, like advertising.
        • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fireboy1919 ( 257783 )
          Corporate donations should be out, as should corporate lobbying.

          Corporations will just pay private citizens to make their donations and do their lobbying. This changes nothing. Requiring people to not be affiliated with a corporation in order to influence their representatives means that the corporate employed have fewer rights than the non-corporate employed, which is arguably a violation of equal rights.

          "Local funds only" is equally bad. I could easily funnel my money to a local business and have them
      • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Vicissidude ( 878310 )
        Please keep in mind that the Democrats are, much like the Republicans, funded by the very corporations and wealthy individuals who gain the most from outsourcing. Voting for them is basically a vote for the status quo.

        That's a rather deceptive statement. Certainly, Democrats get a good chunk of the corporate funding. However, the vast majority of that funding goes to Republicans.
      • Voting for them is basically a vote for the status quo.

        I'll vote for the match vs. the flame thrower any day. At least with the match I have a chance of controlling the fire.

        Do the Democrats who voted for Nader and the Greens really think we're no worse off under the current regime? If they do, I know they're too stupid to run a country.

        Stupid Libertarians might think there's no difference, but every body count increase I see from Iraq tells me there's a hell of a difference.

        The fact is that Al Gore migh

    • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Marxist Hacker 42 ( 638312 ) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:29PM (#14844043) Homepage Journal
      And worse yet- there's nothing India wants anymore. Their basic trade theory- trade only what they have in surplus and keep everything else for themselves- serves them very well. I just talked to our dear intern about this- she said the last time she went home to Hydrabad, she thought she had picked out novel and unique gifts- but her relatives already had them all.

      Besides- what the hell could we make here to sell to India that China can't make for 1/100th the labor cost?
      • by CyricZ ( 887944 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:33PM (#14844082)
        It's not about trading what one has in surplus. The theory is that one trades in the goods in which one has a comparative advantage. That is, you trade in the goods that cost you the least to produce.

        A surplus of a particular good will end up being eliminated by market forces. If the supply exceeds the demand, then the price will lower until there is no more surplus.

    • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:3, Informative)

      by guacamole ( 24270 )
      Based on this, you're not telling us the whole story. Yes, a relatively small number of people will lose their jobs. At the same time, the vast majority of Americans are benefiting from a higher standard of living due to lover priced consumer goods. Also millions of Chinese and other East Asian poor are benefiting from the jobs created in their export oriented economist. It's a tough world. Can you give me a reason why a textile worker in USA should have a job when there is someone else willing to do this w
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Nah, I don't care.

        I'm glad that China has become the industrial center of the world.

        I'm also glad that engineering and other idea work is going over there and America can concentrate on what it (nowadays) does best: scamming each other out of money in bubble markets.

        I'm sure that in the not too distant future, if it ever came to war between our two nations, they'll be willing to sell us the technology we'll need to fight them at reasonable rates.

        In fact, I, for one, welcome our new industrialized, t

      • It's a tough world. Can you give me a reason why a textile worker in USA should have a job when there is someone else willing to do this work for 10 times less?

        "Doing the work for 10 times less" is a fallacy if the cost of living in the other country is also 10 times less. The only people who come out ahead in your scenario are the textile factory owners.

    • As a technology consultant, I welcome competition in my consumer services division from India. Poor quality customer service from Dell, Microsoft, and the like are the bread and butter of how this part of my business makes money :-)
    • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by guitaristx ( 791223 )
      Hear, hear!

      Outsourcing is promoting even more separation between rich and poor. I thought that the American Dream [wikipedia.org] was centered around doing your job well and getting promoted up through the ranks so you can retire a wealthy man. Apparently, that only applies to the Americans whose paychecks get bigger as business costs get smaller, leaving all of us hourly-wage earners (or salary earners) screwed. I can't get promoted no matter how well I do because there's a Mohandas-Ghandi-sound-alike who produces cr
    • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Descalzo ( 898339 )
      But what about the poor? Those in India need the jobs more than we do. What are the odds of any of us starving to death in the USA? Besides, aren't we all brothers anyway?

      Or perhaps we should only worry about the American poor.

      Anyway, if there is job to be done, and someone in India can do it just as well, but cheaper, and he needs the money more, then how can we deny the job to the Indian? What exactly is the problem here?

    • Re:Bush Whacked. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dubl-u ( 51156 ) *
      The only people who really benefit from offshoring are the business owners who can costs by firing American workers and replacing them with cheap overseas labor. There may be more wealth, but it's all concentrated in a few hands.

      Tempting to believe, but wrong.

      It sounds like you understand one important part that others fail to get, the principle of Comparative Advantage [wikipedia.org], which is why trade creates wealth.

      But there's more to it. Look, for example, at the computer you typed this on. Although computers were al
  • Outsource him (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrismcdirty ( 677039 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:23PM (#14843959) Homepage
    Perhaps we should offer someone in India the job of American President for 1/10 of the salary he makes. Then we'll see how much he supports it.
  • Good. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:23PM (#14843960) Homepage
    If you want a free market you have to accept the consequences.
    • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:38PM (#14844147)
      A completely free market inevitably leads to the concentration of wealth in a few hands, because as people become successful they erect barriers to prevent other people from following in their footsteps. We saw this happen before with the plutocratic oligarchy of the early 20th century. Various antitrust legislation and government reform helped to bring things a little more into balance, but now those things have been largely abandoned, and we're headed back to a state where a very few people control the vast majority of the wealth.

      100% free capitalism cannot sustain itself over the long term, we've seen that before. This is why the government has a role to play in the economy. There is a vast middle ground between pure capitalism and pure socialism, and neither extreme can produce a sustainable economy.

      • Re:Good. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kismet ( 13199 ) <pmccombs@NOSpAM.acm.org> on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:11PM (#14845214) Homepage
        A completely free market inevitably leads to the concentration of wealth in a few hands, because as people become successful they erect barriers to prevent other people from following in their footsteps. We saw this happen before with the plutocratic oligarchy of the early 20th century.

        Right. Rich men decided that a truly free market wouldn't always guarantee them a fortune. So they began to tinker with it by shutting out the smaller entrepreneurs who might have produced competition. They craved a leveled and massified population whom they could count on to keep the capital moving in their direction (because the people work for them!). They've intervened on the free market and made it something else instead. You said an oligarchy. I think you're right. I like that term for it, because it reveals the true nature of business today: Businesses are sovereign nations unto themselves. And they have no borders. We aren't mere Americans (etc.), we are citizens of the companies we work for, and we abide by their policies. If possible, our companies care less for our well-being than our government does; the profit must come first (whereas the government was intended for the people).

        But your argument now becomes very interesting:

        100% free capitalism cannot sustain itself over the long term, we've seen that before. This is why the government has a role to play in the economy. There is a vast middle ground between pure capitalism and pure socialism, and neither extreme can produce a sustainable economy.

        Here I say you are wrong. The problem with our "free market" is that it isn't a free market. It's dominated by monopoly and oligarchy, as you said. To fix the problem, we need to free the market again. Government tinkering doesn't make it any more free. Read the proceedings of the 73rd congress, 1934. You'll get a better idea of why government wants to regulate the economy. As it turns out, it's for the exact same reason that wealthy businessmen have for their own meddling. We want businessmen AND politicians out of the economy. There is no role for either of them. We need a FREE market.

        A free market is a largely local market sustained by small business. International trade is performed by local entrepreneurs. The same principles of small government ought to apply equally to the business-state. We have to step back and ask ourselves, why are we working for somebody else? That's the root of the problem, and it won't be fixed easily.

        If we had a government that could be relied on for its integrity and honesty, I would agree with you that the government should play a role in the economy. If we could have such a government, we might have a chance at a truly free market.

        Mr. Bush has reinforced his belief that government serves not the people, but the economy (he will contend that "government serves the people best through the economy. I say: the people are the economy."). Mr. Bush refuses to protect "some Americans" for the sake of a robust bottom line. This was not the Founder's vision for our Republic, and such is a great crime against the people and a violation of our nation's charter.
  • by Calibax ( 151875 ) * on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:24PM (#14843972)
    'The classic opportunity for our American farmers and entrepreneurs and small businesses to understand is there is a 300 million-person market of middle class citizens here in India, and that if we can make a product they want, that it becomes viable,'

    What becomes viable? Almost any manufactured product the Indian middle class want can be made in India less expensively than the US can make it. If the Indians can't do it, the Chinese will do it for them.

    I can envisage US companies making products in Asia for sale in Asia, with the profits coming back to the US companies. The only people in the US who will benefit are the owners of the companies who do are successful doing this.

    It looks to me like Bush is one more pushing the "increased business profits are good for my friends" line. I'm not sure how the average US citizen will benefit from this strategy.

    • by mellon ( 7048 ) * on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:42PM (#14844926) Homepage
      So the reason why this is true is that there is an economic imbalance; labor in the United States is valued higher than labor in, say, India. Outsourcing levels the playing field a little, but outsourcing is expensive - the only reason it's worth doing is that imbalance - the overhead cost of outsourcing plus the cost of labor in the outsource location is less than the raw cost of labor in the location from which the outsourcing is occurring. One of the results of heavy outsourcing is that the imbalance levels out.

      If you're okay with children starving in China, then it's fine to oppose this leveling. But if you actually want the world to be a better place, outsourcing is a good thing. Leveling the labor playing field is a good thing. Why is it that it's better for someone in the U.S. to prosper than someone in India? Think about it.

      Historically what we've seen is that changes like this float all boats. Although I am not fond of him in general, Bush is right in saying that increased prosperity elsewhere creates opportunity here. The suck is that the imbalance will take a while to level out, and while that's happening we will experience some economic woes. But if the value of labor were the same in every country in the world, the result would be global prosperity, not global poverty.

      I'll get back to you about whether this is okay with me when my job gets outsourced, but at least in the abstract it seems like a good thing.
      • If you're okay with children starving in China, then it's fine to oppose this leveling. But if you actually want the world to be a better place, outsourcing is a good thing. Leveling the labor playing field is a good thing. Why is it that it's better for someone in the U.S. to prosper than someone in India? Think about it.

        Well, the thing for me is that we are not responsible for making sure the people in China and India are prospering. I'm not fond of protectionism, but realistically we do need to look afte

      • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @06:30PM (#14846494)
        "If you're okay with children starving in China, then it's fine to oppose this leveling."

        I'm not exactly sure why, because India and China failed to control unsustainable population growth, that the rest of the world needs to destroy their economies and economic well being to insure they are well fed. Economics is in reality a form of warfare. Sometimes a rising tide raises all boats but most of the time there are economic winners and losers. The U.S. was the big winner in the 20th century. It is poised to be a big loser in this one, at least for the vast majority of its people, while its top 1% will probably continue to do very well. In this brand of warfare there really is no reason why U.S. workers should aid and abet their own destruction to insure the "Chinese" are well fad.

        This isn't really about insuring China and India are well fed anyway.

        The bottomline at work here is there is a global economic elite, less than 1% of the world populations who are rich and getting richer. In the last 30 years many powerful communist party members in China abandoned socialism, for Fascism, and are entering the ranks of this elite along side the long established rich in the U.S. and Europe.

        This elite embraces and loves globalization. They have the capital and the ability to invest it anywhere in the world where it will yield the greatest return on their investment. By contrast working people have limited resource and they can't just invest in the new economic hotspot in the world like China. If their nations economy craters they get to starve.

        Its a basic axiom of capitalism that labor cost is one of the basic factors in profitability. In the past trade and physical barriers allowed labor costs to diverge in different regions. The U.S., Japan and Western Europe could have high wage rates and a good standard of living because they weren't competing head to head with people making a few cents an hour in Asia. A key barrier that allowed this was that it was expensive to ship goods between nations both because of tarriffs and the cost of hand loading and unloading ships using longshoremen. The WTO has dismantled the tarriffs, at least in to the West, though they still seem to thrive in places like China blocking Western good going there. Shipping costs plunged thanks to container shipping. Communications costs disappeared thanks to fiber optics and computer networks.

        What we see today and what Bush is really saying is, that multinational corporations, and wealthy capitalists embrace globalization. It is great for them. In particular its causing a dramatic drop in labor costs to them and capitalism thrives on low cost labor.

        The thing they continually gloss over is that this means that in nations where labor costs are high, those workers are mostly doomed unless they have or can acquire skills that justify a premium salary. They will either hit unemployment or their will be constant downward pressure on their incomes. People now in the middle class will be pushed in to poverty. In fact this is already happening in the U.S. The number of people living below the poverty line is increasing dramatically in recent years. The U.S. economy still appears prosperous because most of its big companies are globalized so they are still making lots of money, so the DOW and Nasdaq do just fine, as they slowly dispose of their expensive U.S. work forces and reap big gains from low cost foreign labor. Unfortunately their U.S. work forces are being quietly destroyed in the process.

        Its really easy to see where this ends. The U.S. is going to end up where it was at the beginning of the 20th century. There will be a small number of very wealthy people, doing very well, and a huge body of desperately poor workers, barely making enough to survive, working in dismal working conditions if they can get work at all.

        The ruling elite which really is George W.'s only constituency will still be very comfortable and very happy. They have money and they can keep making money
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:25PM (#14843987)
    Here's one article on it. [softwaremag.com]

    VA Software in Fremont, Calif., a provider of software, information and community support to IT managers and development professionals, keeps core, business-critical work at home, according to Colin Bodell, CTO. "Work that benefits from close proximity to our customers stays in the U.S. Work that can be done anywhere is typically sent to India," he says.

    Bottom line: Slashdot's parent company and President Bush are on the same boat on this one. Editors shouldn't ignore or forget that.

  • by halivar ( 535827 ) <bfelger@gm a i l . c om> on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:26PM (#14843997)
    While I don't like outsourcing from a consumer perspective (spend four hours on the phone with a Dell "technician" that can't speak English), I think there is a point to be made in the fact that we don't try nearly as hard to sell our crap overseas as foreigners do selling their crap to us. Outsourcing wouldn't be such an issue if we weren't the only people buying our stuff.
    • by iSwitched ( 609716 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:50PM (#14844299)
      On the surface, this seems logical, and is often the first argument made by proponents of this emerging 'global economy'. Bush's own reference to tapping the growing indian 'middle class' play on this very argument.

      However, do a little googling on 'indian middle class' and you'll find that the US equivilent wage to lead a nice middle class life in India is placed somwhere (depending on the year and on the study) between $6,000 and $15,000 per year.

      I'm no isolationist, but there is a serious catch here that noone on either side of the issue is directly addressing - I live in a place where it takes at least $40,000 to 50,000 to lead a nice middle class life. What can I possibly produce that would generate that income from a market in India? As other posters here have already alluded to, the indian middle class will get a much better deal from Indian (or Chinese, etc) produced goods.

      In the end, U.S. workers can't compete until the cost of living differences, as well as the differences in currency valuation flatten out. Globalization will innevitably lead to this flattening, but the upheaval in the US, with its relatively high costs and current currency valuations, will be severe, I expect the ranks of the working poor to swell massively, with consequences that, so far, I have yet to hear any politician (or economist) deal with honestly.

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:57PM (#14844372)
      ...I think there is a point to be made in the fact that we don't try nearly as hard to sell our crap overseas as foreigners do selling their crap to us. Outsourcing wouldn't be such an issue if we weren't the only people buying our stuff.
      But what do we have to sell?

      Almost anything we make can be made cheaper in China or even India.

      And as time goes by, more manufacturing will be moved there.

      This isn't about DIFFERENT products. There aren't any different products. I can outfit an entire house at WalMart and almost all of their stuff is imported from China. So any country that would be a consumer of our products would be smarter to just get those same products from China. We do.

      I'm in favour of a global economy, but not in the way it is being done.

      Right now, we're in a race to the bottom because we aren't putting any barriers on countries without the same worker protections or environmental protections that we have.

      Rather than dragging us down, we need to bring them up.
    • I think we do, but there are lots of barriers to it. If we try to sell our stuff, we're percieved as trying to put local businesses out of business. Or, because of economies of scale, our stuff is cheaper than their stuff. Or the whole "cultural imperialism" aspect of it, too.

      Try exporting US lamb to New Zealand... It's only slightly more pointless than trying to raise US lamb for US markets.

      Australia, Canada get to keep their Wheat Boards, subsidizing their wheat exports while creating monopolies in their
  • Easy to swallow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:26PM (#14844000) Journal
    Just lately here in Ontario (Canada), a bunch of manufacturing jobs disappeared. I am unaffected by it, since I work as a software developer. When the local politicians spin it as opportunity to grow towards more of a service workforce from a manufacturing one, I listen and agree... but when the bubble burst for dot-coms, I couldn't care less what they said, I was worried about my future employment.

    Long story short, those unaffected by outsourcing directly will agree with Bush's view that there is a market to sell other goods (that are not already outsourced to India), and that is good for the country. Those affected by the outsourcing won't give a shit about a new market, and only care about their lost job/income/life.
    • Re:Easy to swallow (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jmichaelg ( 148257 )
      Those affected by the outsourcing won't give a shit about a new market, and only care about their lost job/income/life.

      Not true. Some of us take the hit and find something else.

      I've seen it from both sides. I've lost a couple of jobs to outsourcing. I also grew up in Mexico in the 50's where protectionism was absurd. American goods which were better made than Mexican counterparts, cost 2-3 times as much only because of tariffs Mexico imposed on those goods. The only people who benefited from that were the

  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:26PM (#14844003) Homepage Journal
    Too many people will either object because its Bush or object because they feel entitled to their job.

    The fact is the world doesn't care. We either compete to win or we lose. If all you are willing to do is bitch about Bush or your employer (or usually the case - portraying yourself as victim even though it happened to someone else) then your going to lose.

    The world economy is such fun. It doesn't care what you think and it don't care what you think your entitled to. Accept it and then deal with.
    • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:34PM (#14844098) Homepage
      War is the great equalizer. What the world should fear is that some big country might go to war rather than lose control.
  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:27PM (#14844013)
    "...understand is there is a 300 million-person market of middle class citizens here in India, and that if we can make a product they want..."

    ...but first, they need a job to pay for it, and that's where my fellow Americans can help today. God bless.

  • not much of market (Score:3, Insightful)

    by acvh ( 120205 ) <geek AT mscigars DOT com> on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:27PM (#14844020) Homepage
    per capita GDP is $3100. per capita GDP in US is $41,800. not much of a trade.

    Bush's globalization focus is disturbing to me. It is reducing the US economy to one of consumption, while production is leaving the country. Couple that with increasing federal spending, and debt, and increasing personal spending, and debt, and the US will be an economic hostage to those who buy US debt securities.

    Gas stations on the Garden State Parkway are now run by Lukoil, a Russian oil company. More and more of America's cash is leaving the country - our affluence is being purchased at the expense of our future.
  • by zzyzx ( 15139 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:29PM (#14844036) Homepage
    Your job gets outsourced? Don't worry. Just upgrade your skills. Eventually everyone will be a CEO!

    That's the usual refrain here when outsourcing debates start. In addition to the fact that we can't all be the best and ok but not amazing programmers have to do something for a living, if we don't have the entry level jobs here, who will learn the skills to let them design programs?
  • by wayward_son ( 146338 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:30PM (#14844050)
    For the industry many Slashdotters, including myself, work in, the situation has changed since the 1990's.

    1990's - Indian programmers programmed for major US corporations in the US.
    2000's - Indian programmers program for major US corporations in India.

    The evolution of the internet made this possible and will also make this impossible to stop.

  • the reality is... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by solipsist0x01 ( 887281 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:30PM (#14844051)
    The reality is that as the economy becomes global, Americans are going to loose money. Americans have been profiting off other countries poverty for so long that we have come to expect a certain level of (undeserved) wealth. As the global economy starts to balance out, the United States economy has nowhere to go but down.
    • by lgw ( 121541 )
      Perhaps this is true, but it's a very pessimistic way of looking at it. We are helping less-deveoped countries to become as wealthy as we are. Doing so does cost us somehting. But the result is not that every country is poor. When "all American jobs went to Japan", the long term result was that Japan became about as rich as the US, Japan stopped being a cheap labor market, and Japanese cars are built in factories in the US now.

      Why will India be any different? People wil whine and complain, and 50 years
    • Re:the reality is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by HardCase ( 14757 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:15PM (#14844609)
      You're singing the same tired refrain that we've been hearing for the past 30 years.

      Year Real GDP (billions of 2000 dollars)
      1970 $3771.9
      1971 $3898.6
      1972 $4105.0
      1973 $4341.5
      1974 $4319.6
      1975 $4311.2
      1976 $4540.9
      1977 $4750.5
      1978 $5015.0
      1979 $5173.4
      1980 $5161.7
      1981 $5291.7
      1982 $5189.3
      1983 $5423.8
      1984 $5813.6
      1985 $6053.7
      1986 $6263.6
      1987 $6475.1
      1988 $6742.7
      1989 $6981.4
      1990 $7112.5
      1991 $7100.5
      1992 $7336.6
      1993 $7532.7
      1994 $7835.5
      1995 $8031.7
      1996 $8328.9
      1997 $8703.5
      1998 $9066.9
      1999 $9470.3
      2000 $9817.0
      2001 $9890.7
      2002 $10048.8
      2003 $10320.6
      2004 $10755.7

      Detect a trend?
      • Re:the reality is... (Score:5, Informative)

        by bstarrfield ( 761726 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:13PM (#14845241)

        GDP is a pretty damn poor measure of economic peformance. GDP is a measure of aggregate economic activity, with no description of how that economic activity (income) is spread out amongst the population. Not to mention that it doesn't show how income is produced - is a service job at Wal-Mart as good for our economy as a job at GM producing cares? There are far more problems with using GDP as your golden measure.

        What has effectively happened in our economy- and you probably know this considering you spat out a trend from 1970 to 2004 is that real income per person has remained fairly flat. In other words, the economy has grown but the normal worker has not seen the benefits. Go read Krugman over at the NY Times. Or better yet, read the source material Where did the productivity go? [nber.org] which describes what's happened to our economy.

        You should damn well listen to the refrain and understand the numbers - something is going seriously wrong in America. The middle class is falling apart under increasing costs (college, health care, no pensions) while the absolute top has received nearly all of the benefits of outsourcing, increased productivity, and the last thirty years of economic growth.

        • Re:the reality is... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by RexRhino ( 769423 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @06:47PM (#14846612)
          The amount of goods and services that a person can afford per hour of labor has been steadily increasing. Your average middle class worker now can afford more food, more housing, more automobile, and certainly more consumer electronics than he ever could.

          Confirm this for yourself. Find out what the average wage was 30 years ago or 40 years ago. Look in an old catalog, and look at what someone could purchase with their wages then, and compare it with average wages and what they can afford to purchase now. Aside from things like big screen TVs and computers that obviously we can afford more of now, we can now afford more clothes, more lawnmowers, more washing machines, more sofas, etc. We can afford to eat out more, purchase more pre-packaged/advertized food products. People can now afford better housing. People can pretty much afford much more of everything.

          You do understand that cheaper goods = higher income, right? There is no difference if a shirt cost $10, and you make $10 an hour, or if a shirt cost $5, and you make $5 an hour, right?

          Americans today are the wealthiest people in the world, living in the most wealthy period of history. This is undenyably the truth.

          There is something to be said about the so called gap between the "rich" and "poor", but a better way to describe it would be the gap between the "Richest", and the "rich". It is true that the richest group of people have seen their real consumption increase much faster than the middle class or poor. And unlike a lot of people, I would fully agree with you that disparity between the rich and the richest is undesirable. It would be much better to see income increase evenly amoung all people.

          But this disparity doesn't have much to do with foriegn trade. It has more to do with the minimum capital required to do buisness in the United States. 50 years ago, lets say you wanted to open a buisness, let say a small factory that machines parts. Such a buisness would be fairly easy for a middle class person to start. But not so today. The cost of OSHA compliance, compliance with local/state/country/federal enviornmental laws and hiring the experts, lawyers, to ensure compliance, insuring that you comply with all the non-enviornment local/state/country/federal laws, ensuring that you meet all the conditions that your workplace is handicapped accessible, making sure you are not only in full compliance with the 75,000 pages of tax laws, but that you can prove to the IRS you are in full compliance... making sure you are an "equal oportunity employer" (this wouldn't be so bad if it was simply banning discrimination, but it is thousands of pages of rules and regulations that can be quite counter-inuitive, and you are going to have to hire a lawyer to deal with them), and lets not forget the cost of liability insurance, because people in America love to deal with them.

          Basicly, you are talking a cost of several million dollars to start a significant buisness in the U.S. ... Yeah, there are exceptions, you CAN probably start a little web design buisness, or open a video or music shop, or a resteraunt for less money... or possibly even a super highly specialized item... but you are NOT going to be manufacturing a consumer product in the U.S. for less than a couple million - and that leaves out the vast majority of Americans from opening a buisness. That means less competition for big buisness., etc.
  • by rben ( 542324 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:30PM (#14844057) Homepage
    Why would a chinese or indian buy an American product when they can buy something made in their own country by people making one tenth what our workers make?

    Globalization works great for the rich people. It forces their entire workforce to take pay and benefit cuts in order to eek out a living. At the same time, the people who sit on the top of the pile are getting tax cuts and crying about how unfair it is that they be asked to contribute anything to the society that made them rich in the first place.

    Again, this shows that Bush and his ilk have no connection with the citizens of this country.
    • Globalization works great for the rich people. It forces their entire workforce to take pay and benefit cuts in order to eek out a living. At the same time, the people who sit on the top of the pile are getting tax cuts and crying about how unfair it is that they be asked to contribute anything to the society that made them rich in the first place.

      Has it occured to you that by the very act of being able to post to slashdot, you are in fact, (compared to the rest of the worlds population) one of the rich peo
  • by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:33PM (#14844085)
    At some point, in order for OUR economy to grow, we have to bring the rest of the world up to speed. Most of the world lives in poverty. That has to change.

    Of course, until everyone is up to speed, shoving jobs to third-world countries means that developed countries are going to see a LONG period of economic depression. And, of course, the corporations and their CEOs are STILL going to get richer, becaues their labor costs will plummet at the same time their sales increase.

    Still, it has to happen eventually. It's just gonna suck for the U.S. and Europe.

  • A few problems (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:39PM (#14844164)
    1) We would not be making the products. They would. We will be changing bedpans, learning to be lawyers, or teaching snot nosed brats how to change bed pans. The only Americans in the value stream are the owners.

    2) A global economy only means more money for shareholders, not joe blow. If his job needs to go overseas, he's pumping gas to whoever is left that can afford a car.

    3) What the fuck do we care about India (or China)? They don't pay our taxes. They aren't getting shot at in Iraq. That they don't like Pakistan is really the only useful thing about them. They didn't vote for Dubya, hell not even half of us did.

    4) Their workers cannot compete fairly against american workers, owing largely to property values in the US. Ever try to buy a small house near San Jose? 50 year mortgage ring a bell?

    5) US dollars invested overseas are not ending up in american hands. They're ending up in India. How is that good for us?

    6) Why should US children bother to learn math or science? There will be no jobs utilizing those skills. Instead they should be learning history, deceit and bed pan frisbee.

    7) Who is going to be left to build and design missiles, aircraft, tanks, and navy ships if our unskilled factory jobs are done elsewhere, and all our highly skilled design jobs are done elsewhere? Oh that's right, we have a great track record of peace lately.

    8) The only thing keeping the investors in the US is the relative safety, uncorrupt government (by comparison), and generally complacent populace. If they start getting hungry they will get angry, and have no problem shooting your ass.

  • by Infonaut ( 96956 ) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:41PM (#14844181) Homepage Journal

    how the often libertarian gestalt of Slashdot suddenly advocates government-sponsored trade protectionism as soon as the topic of *computer-related* jobs comes up. Farm subsidies are economically inefficient, and they distort the true price of food. The same thing is true of the oil industry. Why can't the government get smart and start allowing non-distorted prices for gasoline?! Obviously the government is in the hands of special interests. Ah, but then the subject of outsourcing comes up, and the tech industry is under threat and in need of assistance!

    There's clear hypocrisy at play here. We want competition and open markets, we want global cooperation in open source software development, we just don't want to give up top dog status in areas that directly affect our jobs.

    Made in China is fine and programming in India is fine, as long as the price of laptops keeps dropping. When a product is even a few dollars more expensive than average, Slashdotters are more than willing to scream and yell about it. Well, lower prices are the result of global markets. More buyers, more sources of cheap production.

    We'd rather get cheap, well-made goods and donate to aid organizations than truly allow developing economies to compete with us.

  • by pammon ( 831694 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:45PM (#14844233)
    I remember during one of the Bush / Kerry debates, the question was posed "What do you say to someone who lost his job due to offshoring?" Bush's answer was "We're going to give you a scholarship to send you to a community college, so you can get an education." What a terrible answer - as if the problem with these people is that they don't have enough education! That really drove home the point for me. Bush doesn't understand this problem at all.

    (Kerry, FWIW, talked about eliminating some of the tax incentives that encourage companies to offshore. At least he understood the problem and had an appropriate, if timid, response.)

  • by swelke ( 252267 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @02:45PM (#14844235) Homepage Journal
    Ya' know, I'm starting to think that Bush finally figured out that he no longer has to worry about getting reelected. When controversial stuff like the Dubai port deal and Indian nuclear power come out on the news, he hardly even defends his position any more. He just does whatever he feels like.

    The mask is off. Now we get to meet the real Dubya.
  • Useless to Argue (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tabdelgawad ( 590061 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:08PM (#14844531)
    When it comes to outsourcing discussions, Slashdot is at its populist worst. No one wants to explain why it's ok to buy PC hardware from Taiwan, but not PC software from India (outsourcing is simply importing a service, and there's no meaningful difference between it and importing goods). And no one wants to explain why, despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth about outsourcing, unemployment numbers look like they do here:

    http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?bls [bls.gov]

    (select the 4th item and have them draw a graph for you!)
  • by ShyGuy91284 ( 701108 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:10PM (#14844552)
    I agree jobs being done overseas is part of a global economy. But the current state of outsourcing is fundamentally no different to a company in the US then clothing makers having their clothes made in sweatshops overseas. Moral issues aside, that's ok, because we have moved from being a manufacturing based economy to an information based economy. But with them starting to move information based jobs overseas, what can we do now other then find jobs that might be under our ability? For outsourcing to be ok as part of a global economy, it would be done on the basis of skills. Country foo has better programmers then us? They should get our jobs then. It's as simple as that for a global economy. I have no idea about the quality India's IT skills, but I'm assuming they are no different then those of someone in America who worked hard to get their skills. And at least in the area of tech support, outsourcing is clearly hurting the quality of service. It seems that if I call tech support for anything, I can clearly tell if it has been outsourced due to poor email grammar or not being able to understand them. True, some may have been outsourced and I haven't noticed, but if someone can't effectively communicate with customers, someone else should have the job. And I have had no problem understanding professors with accents when others have complained, so you know it must be bad.
  • Parity (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cheeko ( 165493 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @03:44PM (#14844941) Homepage Journal
    I know this is going to get lost in the sea of posts, but here goes. I AM a tech worker with a college degree. I see people around me losing jobs to outsourcing every day. I personally hate the idea. At the same time I've made a point of studying the economic theory behind much of this.

    The common thread I keep seeing intoned over and over in threads here is all the doom and gloom, that everything can be done cheaper elsewhere and jobs will go and go never to return. To some extent this is true, jobs will leave. Things ARE cheaper in India. However what people neglect is how market conditions change in the target countries. In India for instance, the demand for that cheap labor is so high, that already you are seeing a substantial increase in wages over even 10 years ago (its still very small compared to US salaries, but it IS rising). This is generating that middle class spoken of in the article. At the same time these same engineers are creating a consumer class and discovering a sense of entitlement. Doesn't all this sound familiar, oh yeah, its what happened in the US over a span of 50-60 years or so. The general concept behind globalization isn't that the US economy and work for is destroyed and impoverished, but rather one of the world economy reaching parity. 10-15 years from now, the overall cost of labor will be comparable, or close to comparable between india and the US most likely. Companies won't offshore to india, it will instead be to china, or russsia, or some country in africa. The point to the theory is the that haves and the have nots will come closer together in a global economy. Workers in India will eventually earn the same rights and standards of employment as the US and Europe. At the same time Europe and the US will learn how to make its workers cost less to companies. And while all this is going on, new economic powers will be rising in the way india is now. The process in it ultimate form would have many many nations all competing on even footing, but before that can happen the process of realocation of resources needs to happen. Its painful, but its not the end of the world. Sure people will lose jobs, but we as people will adapt and move on. As has been mentioned we AREN'T entitled to anything by right, we work hard, we do jobs, we earn money. The US unemployment rate for all the doom and gloom is still one of the best in the world. There will always be people who suffer do to economics, and whenever thos people are concentrated in one sector they will complain loudly (look at the manufacturing sector of the past), but those same people always make do and move on.
  • by jocknerd ( 29758 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:03PM (#14845141)
    I think the man should be impeached for all his lies, but at least on this issue, I agree with him. Globalization is a reality. Adapt or get left behind. Read Tom Friedman's book, http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0374292884/qid=11 41416047/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-0508254-23673 29?s=books&v=glance&n=283155 [amazon.com]The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century
  • Futility (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rumblin'rabbit ( 711865 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:05PM (#14845161) Journal
    Quite apart from any moral questions about outsourcing is the fact that opposing it is futile.

    Outsourcing is international trade. Two companies, one in America, one in India, exchange money for software.

    If outsourcing is to a company's advantage then they will try to do it. That's a given. The only way to prevent outsourcing is to put up massive and draconian trade barriers.

    Unfortunately, such trade barriers would impoverish the American people and cripple the American economy. An enormous amount of America's (and indeed the world's) wealth is due to international trade. It's one of the few points that most economists agree on.

    So do you want to lose your job from outsourcing or from a crippled economy?

  • by terrahertz ( 911030 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:31PM (#14845413)
    "Americans" working for an average salary in the 5 digit range should welcome the competition, because it's "the reality of a global economy," but Halliburton [truthout.org], working for an average contract in the 10 digit range, doesn't need the competition and should instead receive no-bid contracts. I wonder why that is? Is Halliburton participating in the economy of some other globe we don't know about?
  • Outsource Everyone (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 ( 184391 ) on Friday March 03, 2006 @04:41PM (#14845498)
    Top and middle management travel so frequently that it would make almost no practical difference in results if we outsourced them. It would, however, make an enormous difference to the profitability of corporations and shareholder returns. Imagine how desirable it would be to save $150 million golden parachute and reinvest in R&D or employee retention? And so many foreign students have come and earned MBAs in U.S. business schools that there is absolutely no argument there that foreign CEOs couldn't do as good a job as American CEOs. Aha! the American CEO might say, 'but business is about communication and bold action, and that's something that people from protectionist economies and repressive societies just can't match.' Uh-huh. The average foreign student scores higher on any test of English than any American does. And bold action? Apparently they've never seen Chinese grandmas trying to get on a Beijing bus.

    In short, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The single best way to cut U.S. corporate labor costs is to outsource the top of the pyramid.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll