3.19.2004

From the "If there's nothing wrong, why are you being sneaky" file:
Latest buzz on BPO block: dual shoring Rediff.com (3/19)

"Indian BPO companies seem to have devised an ingenious method to work their way around the US-led backlash against offshoring. The technique is simple: operate an office in the US that employs a few American workers and let them handle 10-15 per cent of the project work. The rest can safely be offshored to India."

Sneaky, but see the key to being 'sneaky' is that you don't tell anyone. That's why Bond villains always lose: they love to hear themselves talk and they just lay out their whole plan.

Don't you guys watch Bond movies?

I'm not sure that 'The Dual-Shored American' has quite the same ring to it? do you?

Now this is an interesting article...
Tech jobs have room to grow here and abroad, experts say Miami.com (3/19)

"Yet a growing number of experts are speaking up to argue that the "offshoring" crisis is seriously overblown, particularly when it comes to information technology jobs."

Ok, we're listening (but we're still filing out our application for 'The Real World: Bangalore')

[snip]

"But the hand-wringers are overlooking an even bigger phenomenon: An ongoing shortage of high-tech workers in this country that has been only partially allayed by importing foreign tech workers."

Uh, go on...

"'We have been avoiding the need for more technically trained people for the last 10 years,' said McCarthy. 'We're paying the piper.'

McCarthy acknowledges he played a role in generating fears about job flight.

In late 2002, he authored a widely quoted Forrester study predicting that 3.3 million more U.S. service industry jobs and $136 billion in wages will move offshore to countries such as India, Russia, China and the Philippines over the next 15 years."

Yeah, that report is really scary, like '28 Days Later' uber-scary

"Sounds like a lot in aggregate, but that breaks down to 220,000 jobs a year, McCarthy notes, a drop in the bucket given the U.S. economy's 130 million jobs. The domestic economy can create 220,000 jobs in a single month without breaking a sweat, economists point out, although it hasn't happened lately - much to President Bush's chagrin."

We think Bush's chagrin was all used up when he didn't find any WMDs in Iraq. Or get bin Laden "dead or alive." Or when the 'insergents' in Iraq actually started "bringing it on" (how do you say "Game on" in arabic?).

"Of course, that doesn't lessen the pain of a displaced white-collar worker who went into technology thinking it was secure. But McCarthy believes another force is at work."

Sauron? Or Agent Smith from the Matrix?

The current anger about offshoring may reflect a more general disappointment that tech salaries have leveled off and stock options are no longer being handed out freely.

Uh, you forgot how upset we were when we weren't picked to be on 'The Real World: Philly.' How about saying it's because we're upset that Whitney is in rehab and Courtney is never going to get custody of Francis Bean again, because that ain't it: it's 'cuz we can't find work or we don't have health insurance or our kid's school sucks because there isn't enough money to fund it or we're forced to work for companies that won't hire us as anything but temps with no benefits and we're barely making enough to stay afloat.

Jag-off


[snip]

"Still, there's rising concern that the offshoring talk is scaring away students from technology and computer sciences.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is so concerned that he toured five college campuses in February including MIT, Harvard and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to reassure computer science students that lucrative livelihoods still await them.

The ranks of computer science majors are declining as overseas competition for jobs increases, Gates acknowledged. "But people are way overreacting," he told The New York Times."

He continued "And that 'Think India' thing that was going around the Microsoft offices? That was really 'Think Indiana' but our printers suck: we're thinking of switching to Macs because MS Office is much better on them."

As always: read for yourself, we're just pointing to things we think you should think about.

Offshoring poses 'serious challenge to US leadership' Silicon.com (3/19)

"A major association of technical professionals believes that the outsourcing of high-wage jobs to low-wage countries poses a serious, long-term challenge to the United States' technological leadership, economic vitality and military security."

Oh, that sounds bad.

IEEE-USA, the US wing of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, said Thursday that the 'offshoring' trend also contributes to high unemployment among US techies."

Uh, we kinda already figured that one out for ourselves, but thanks for backing us up!

"So-called offshoring has become a hot election issue, as white-collar workers - including computer programmers - worry that their jobs may be shipped to low-wage countries such as India and China. In a November 2002 report, Forrester Research predicted that 3.3 million US service jobs will move offshore by 2015."

Plus, did you here the 8 cast members of the 'The Real World: Philadelphia' are out of work too! Doesn't anyone care about them? You don't think they're about to roll out 'The Real World: Bangalore' do you?

"Industry leaders and some economists have defended the flow of high-tech work abroad, arguing that it leads to more competitive US companies and ultimately creates jobs here. N. Gregory Mankiw, chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, backed offshore outsourcing in a recent report. "When a good or service is produced more cheaply abroad, it makes more sense to import it than to make or provide it domestically," Mankiw wrote."

They left out the next sentence: "This means an increase in profits and an increase in the values of stocks, sure a few will lose their jobs but they're probably Democrats and if you're not with us you're only helping the terrorists!" Oh, we can't wait to 'outsource' these guys...

Builder.com outsourcing content production to India NewsForge.com (3/18)

"It's not just programmers anymore; now it's the people who write for them too. NewsForge.com has learned that Builder.com, CNET Networks' site aimed at application developers, plans to begin offshoring authoring of many of its articles to India shortly."

A corporation that breaks the greed mold WorkingForChange.com (3/18)

"Look Ye to Wal-mart," boom the Market Gods, directing CEOs to follow the anti-labor, low-wage, no benefit, move-it-all-to-China ethic of the retail giant. The gods decree that no one can out-compete Wal-Mart, so best to imitate the beast.

Apparently, Jim Sinegal has been going to the wrong church. He's CEO of Costco, the profitable warehouse club retailer that's fast growing across the country. He takes a shockingly heretical view of his job, boasting of his company's fair treatment of employees: "We pay much better than Wal-Mart," Sinegal says. "That's not altruism. It's good business."

Indeed, Costco's pay is much, much, much better -- a full-time Costco clerk or warehouse worker earns more than $41,000 a year, plus getting terrific health-care coverage. Wal-Mart workers get barely a third of that pay, plus a lousy health-care plan. Costco even has unions!

Yet, Costco's labor costs are only about half of Wal-Mart's. How's that possible? One reason is that Costco workers feel valued, which adds enormously to their productivity, and they don't leave -- employee turnover is a tiny fraction of Wal-Mart's rapidly revolving door.

Another thing Sinegal rejects is offshoring: "We could move [some operations] to Bangladesh or somewhere. But what kind of message would that send to our employees? Not a good one, I think."

Remember: Boycott Wal-Mart! They're totally EVIL!

Hey there are jobs are being created!
Outsourcing's in, and business is booming ExpressIndia.com (3/19)
"If you watch English movies, listen to pop music, read bestsellers, keep track of English dailies and have completed English-medium schooling, you are wanted."

Hey, sounds great! we watch, uh, English movies (you mean stuff like 'Snatch' right?), and we LOVE pop music (Britney's the best! And why was Justin was SO mean to her? Whatta jerk! Boys are mean!). We're not sure what 'English Dailies' are but we're pretty sure we can keep track of 'em... Are there jobs for us?

"This is an advertisement for a business processing outsourcing (BPO) centre. Advertisements like these are testimony that Gujarat has finally jumped onto the BPO bandwagon."

'Gujarat'? Where the hell is that? I don't think that's in New Jersey... is it near Albuquerque? Or San Diego? We hope it's near San Diego! Sure, our Spanish is a little rusty, but we can practice ("Vamos a la playa." "Si! es bueno!").

"At present, IT services generate jobs for around 6,000 graduates in Gujarat. With the BPO industry growing at a rate of 50 per cent, Gujarat is slotted to grow more than the industry estimate. Given the trend, by this year-end, this industry should generate 10,000 jobs. At Motif, we just added 45 jobs this month to the existing workforce of 400,"

Gosh, this sounds too good to be true! We wonder what rents are like in San Diego? Maybe we can get a place like they have on 'The Real World'!! San Diego seems like so much fun!

"Anupam Saxena, marketing head of Creative Infocity, said, "It is a slow reversal, but efforts to put Gujarat on the IT map are slowly paying off."

"Dear Anupam Saxena,
We are developers looking for work. We have heard how cool Gujarat is, and were wondering if maybe you were the young lady that hooked up with Randy the other night on 'The Real World'? If so, we don't think having a fake tooth is all that bad. Boys can be so mean! Can we have jobs?"

Oh, wait... Gujarat isn't near San Diego: it's in India. Well, at least someone can find work.

ASU grad sees rural Arkansas as corporate outsourcing post Arkansas News Bureau (m/dd)
"With the best and the brightest leaving, rural areas are left to their eventual, imminent decline," said White, who sits on the corporate boards of Mattel Inc. and Certegy Inc.

And that represents a double whammy against Arkansas and especially the Delta, which has seen thousands of blue-collar jobs transferred overseas.

At the same time, many U.S. corporations are outsourcing technology-related jobs to such countries as India, China and Pakistan. Instead of those white-collar jobs going overseas, ARS envisions bringing many of those positions back to rural America.

Outsourcing trend of white collar jobs arriving in Iowa Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (3/19)
"After being pummeled by manufacturing job losses since 2000, another unsavory economic trend may be on its way to Iowa: the outsourcing of white collar jobs.

That's the prediction from labor analysts and industries who are paying increasing attention to the potential of sending data-entry jobs in the insurance and other sectors abroad to take advantage of cheaper labor.

The trend that has been largely confined to the East and West coasts "is starting to happen here and employers are just starting to think about it," said Ann Wagner, a labor analyst with Iowa Workforce Development in Des Moines."

Bush campaign gear made in Burma Newsday (3/18)
"The official merchandise Web site for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign has sold clothing made in Burma, whose goods were banned by Bush from the U.S. last year to punish its military dictatorship."

Well, no one ever said Bush was a friend to the American worker did they? Management yes, workers no.

Updates later, so please read yesterday's posts, and we want to again reiterate: this is not an anti-Indian, anti-immigrant, or racist blog. If this is your program, we do not want or need your support.

In the meantime, here are some thoughts by the imcomparable singer-songwriter and activist Billy Bragg:

NPWA

I grew up in a company town
And I worked real hard 'til that company closed down
They gave my job to another man
On half my wages in some foreign land
And when I asked how could this be
Any good for our economy?
I was told nobody cares
So long as they make money when they sell their shares

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

I lost my job, my car and my house
When ten thousand miles away some guy clicked on a mouse
He didn't know me, we never spoke,
He didn't ask my opinion or canvass for my vote
I guess its true, nobody cares
'Til those petrol bombs come spinning through the air
Gotta find a way to hold them to account
Before they find a away to snuff our voices out

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

The ballot box is no guarantee that we achieve democracy
Our leaders claim their victory when only half the people have spoken
We have no job security in this global economy,
Our borders closed to refugees but our markets forced open

The World Bank says to Mexico,
We'll cut you off if you don't keep your taxes low
But they have no right to wield that sword
'Cos they take their orders from the chairman of the board

IMF, WTO,
I hear these words just every place I go
Who are these people? Who elected them?
And how do I replace them with some of my friends?

Can you hear us? Are you listening?
No power without accountability!

WORDS: Billy Bragg (2002) MUSIC: The Blokes (2002)

3.18.2004

Uh, oh: we may be falling in love with Lou Dobbs!
Exporting America: false choices CNNMoney (3/10)
"Number one: We're not creating jobs in the private sector, and that's never happened before in our history. Our economists and politicians need to be coming up with answers, not dogma.

Number two: We haven't had a trade surplus in this country in more than two decades, and our trade deficit continues to soar.

Number three: We've lost three million jobs in this country over the last three years, and millions more American jobs are at risk of being outsourced to cheap overseas labor markets.

That seems to me, at least, to be more than sufficient evidence for all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike, to question critically the policies of both parties that have led us to this critical juncture in our economy and our history."

[snip]

"One: How many more jobs must we lose before they become concerned about our middle class and our strength as a consumer market? Two: When will the U.S. have to quit borrowing foreign capital to buy foreign goods that support European and Asian economies while driving us deeper into debt? Three: What jobs will our currently 15 million unemployed workers fill, where and when?"

[snip]

"Our principal trading partners, Canada, China, Japan and the European Union, all typically maintain annual trade surpluses and pursue balanced trade. Why don't my critics call them protectionists? Why not call them economic isolationists?"

Give 'em hell Lou!!

And you at home, go watch his show and be sure to write CNN and tell them that you support Lou!

Answers on Outsourcing: A finance professor argues against placing blind faith in outsourcing. CNNMoney.com (3/12)
"The argument that we will create new jobs in highly paying fields simply is not true. We have no comparative advantage or superiority in innovation. To assume that we are inherently more creative than our foreign competitors is both arrogant and naive. We are currently empowering our competition with the resources to innovate equally as well as we."

[snip]

A company that decides to move its production overseas cuts its costs in many ways, including the following:

1. Extremely low wage rates

2. The circumvention or avoidance of organized labor

3. No Social Security or Medicare benefit payments

4. No federal or state unemployment tax

5. No health benefits for workers

6. No child labor laws

7. No OSHA or EPA costs or restrictions

8. No worker retirement benefits or pension costs

Besides cutting costs, there are other benefits to exporting jobs, including the following:

1. Tax incentives provided by our government

2. Incentives from foreign governments

3. The creation of new international markets for the company's products (which ultimately empowers the company to turn a deaf ear to this country's problems and influence)

4. The continued benefits of our legal system and the freedoms that we provide

Still think Offshoring/outsourcing is a good thing?

Could we love Arianna Huffington anymore than we do?
Progress vs. products Salon.com (3/17) (ok, you have to watch a commercial, but it is worth it!)
"You know working stiffs are in trouble when the White House believes the stock market is the end-all of our country's economic health."

[snip]

"At one of the staged-for-the-cameras "Conversations on the Economy" he's been holding on the campaign trail, President Bush got downright giddy at the prospect of a Bakersfield, Calif., stock car builder hiring two new workers at his business.


"That's really good news," he gushed. "A lot of people are feeling confident and optimistic about our future so they can say, 'I'm going to hire two more.' That's confidence!" Actually, Mr. President, getting all worked up about two prospective jobs in a city that has a 12.8 percent unemployment rate and has lost 4,400 jobs since you took office is living in a state of denial."

Also read Arianna's speech delivered at the National Voice Summit in Washington Tuesday

3.17.2004

Politics of Outsourcing: New Trends, Old Arguments Center for American Progress (3/16)

"Of course, there are winners from trade. Companies that benefit from cheaper labor and inputs win, as do workers whose job is insulated from competition with foreign and domestically displaced labor. Service sector trade could radically shrink this latter group - thinning the pool of trade's beneficiaries. Whether or not this process is good "for America" depends on your perspective: is taking a dollar from a telephone operator to give Donald Trump two dollars good "for America"?"

Thick as a (Campaign) Plank: U.S. Leaders Either Don't Understand or Prefer Not to Understand the IT Outsourcing Crisis, So Here's the Cliff Notes Version i, Cringely via PBS (2/22)

"Send enough technical work to India or China, and what once was the engineering department ends up working down at Home Depot. The industries that are being particularly affected are information technology, telecommunications, and aerospace. These are also the only U.S. industries that in the 1990s produced substantial trade surpluses. We are shipping overseas the only manufacturing work that still makes money for America."

[snip]

"Who wants this? The government of the United States doesn't want it, at least not in principle. The various state governments absolutely don't want it. The employees don't want it. The only groups who really want this are investors and top management -- two groups that have the shortest time perspective, thinking no further ahead usually than the next financial quarter."

We couldn't have said it better ourselves. Take another look at that last part.

IT leaders try to ease US outsourcing fears The Financial Times (3/17)

"This comes despite bullish estimates from independent research consultancies such as Gartner, which this week predicted a quarter of all traditional information technology jobs in developed countries would move to emerging markets such as India by the end of the decade.

But business leaders looking to defuse the mounting political backlash are keen to stress the benefits to US competitiveness rather than endorse aggressive forecasts from researchers such as Forrester."

[snip]

"I think this is as important to services as what Henry Ford did to manufacturing," said Jerry Rao, Nasscom vice-chairman. "The current business cycle is just overshadowing long-term demographic pressures which will push more and more work offshore."

Every so often we here at the Outsourced American (OA) receive some comments to the effect that "Indians are evil!" and we want to state that we do NOT subscribe to this point of view: Indian businessmen are simply taking advantage of a business situation and their workers are simply trying to provide a better life for their families.

If anyone is "evil" in this situation, it is American businessmen that would rather put their workers -members of their communities who have worked hard to help them build/grow/sustain their businesses- out of work so that management can have larger bonuses or greater returns on their stock options.

We blame American businessmen and women, and we blame governements, local and federal, that devalue education which should be the foundation of our entire economy.

The OA NEVER blames Indians, the Chinese, or people in other countries that simply want a job just like we do; we are NOT anti-immigration (quite simply, immigration has made this country great); and we are not racist and have no tolerance for those that are.

The OA can be black, white, asian, or even, believe it or not, Indian.

The OA may admits that we present a point of view - we have a message that offshoring jobs is wrong because it is done for the wrong reasons and weakens America as a whole- but you must think for yourself: we encourage you to collect information from a variety of sources and never simply trust one place: that will get you in nothing but trouble (especially if it is FOX News which is right-wing propaganda).

A friend who works at a VERY large Government agency asks:

"How come it's called socialism when the government takes care of the poor, but not when it takes care of businesses?"

Things that make you go "hmmmm."

From Our "We The People" File:
Overseas Outsourcing Prompts Flood of Letters Publication (2/29)

"Outsourcing is a product of pure, unadulterated greed by the corporate executives, nothing more, nothing less. Not only low wage jobs are being outsourced but well paid, high-tech jobs as well. It seems that the politicians and the corporate execs won't be satisfied until they have completely destroyed the middle class in this country. I wonder who's going to buy their overpriced products then?"

[snip]

"Outsourcing is being driven by corporate America's desire for cheap but highly skilled labor - and NOT a labor shortage here at home."

[snip]

"If I didn't have to pay taxes I could afford to make less too."

[snip]

"As for the corporations selling out their country: I want a refund! Return my tax dollars that supported their R&D efforts and fed their huge profits."

[snip]

"These companies are willingly tossing away all their core competencies and valuable human intellectual assets, to become little more than brokers and portfolio managers. People are nothing more than spread-sheet entries in their financial models."

[snip]

"If our jobs get offshored, what do we do next? So many lobbyists, like those at the ITAA, suggest that my co-workers and I should be retrained. I went to school for six years to get a B.S. in Computer Science, and now after only five years in the industry I have to get another degree?"

[snip]

"It is simply not true that the US cannot produce enough computer engineers and therefore companies are forced to outsource or bring in foreign workers. It's simply a choice whether companies want to pay $65,000 or $12,000 a year for an engineer and save billions on Social Security taxes, workers comp, and environmental controls by moving operations to other countries."

[snip]

"If free trade has been so good to our standard of living, than WHY has our largest employer gone from high union wage paying and benefits GM to low wage paying benefits skirting Wal-Mart??? Are we a market or a nation?"

Thanks to our readers for sending in this link! We love it when the American people speak for themselves, but remember: the best way to really make sure they hear you is to VOTE!

Red alert at the White House: Failures pile up for our anti-government government WorkingForChange.com (3/16)

Could we love Molly Ivins any more than we already do?

3.15.2004

And why are Indians in US against outsourcing? Contractor UK (3/15)
One of the most potent groups emerging in the US lobbying for a punctuation mark to outsourcing software related work - as against call centres - are none other than Indians themselves.

Most of these are low- and mid-level techies who had migrated with heavy pay cheques during the 1990s and are now finding their own brethren back home snatching their jobs.

They are primarily located in the California region but are also spread around New Jersey and Washington.

We've said it before and we'll say it again: the Outsourced American can be ANYONE.

If you are tax-paying worker in this country, then you too can be the Outsourced American.

US Firms Face Challenge Over Outsourcing Legal Work to India New York Lawyer (3/15)
"More companies are entering the market, pitching low-priced legal research and brief writing to corporate law departments. One expert predicts the trend could affect billing rates for paralegals."

Why are you not watching C-Span?

3.14.2004

Ex-employees fight offshoring Bradenton Herald (3/14)

Jobless recovery too long to be fluke Akron-Beacon Journal (3/14)

How to slow outsourcing U.S. jobs The San Diego Union-Tribune (3/14)

From Our 'We The People' File...
LETTERS TO BUSINESS SFGate.com (3/14)
"One of the results of outsourcing to low-wage countries is the downward pressure it puts on pay in the United States to make our workers competitive."

"The consensus of executives in your "Looking Offshore" business section articles (March 7) was that this result is great for profits for them and their stockholders, so let's do it more and faster."

---SNIP---

"With the moving of U.S. white-collar jobs or any other jobs overseas, the government is losing the income from income taxes, the contribution to the Social Security fund and any other deduction on the payroll. I am surprised that none of the politicians, economists or your staff writers analyzed that side of the story." (Our point exactly!)

---SNIP---

"Our economy is being funneled off in so many directions that it may not be viable for much longer. Are we prepared to become the next Third World country?

As unemployment rises, spending and savings will fall while credit levels jump. I've been unemployed for six months. My unemployment insurance is about to run out. I know other people who have been out of a job for two years or more.

What happens when I don't have any income and my savings are completely gone? What happens when I and others like me can't pay our debts?"

---SNIP--

"If boards of directors really want to save corporations millions of dollars, outsource the positions of the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer. Then you will really see the cost savings.

If this outsourcing continues in America, we're all going to be singing, 'Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?'"

Ah, the American people: so much more eloquent then we are. Keep writing those letters folks!

Outsourcing spreads throughout economy The Holland Sentinel (3/14)
"It is poor public policy to use taxpayer money to create jobs outside of the country when we have people here who are unemployed," New Jersey state Sen. Shirley Turner, a Democrat, said. "These are jobs that anyone can do with a little training."

How to bring offshored jobs back to the US NewsForge.com (3/12)
"Complaints about offshoring IT jobs reverberate daily through the halls of America's software development community. The complaints are not markedly different from those once made by manufacturing workers, except that manufacturing workers were urged to upgrade their skills and move into the IT industry, and now that "skilled work" is leaving the US, there is no clear career upgrade path left for most of us."