Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


The Other Side of Outsourcing

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Geek Work,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:23 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

This is what happens when I watch the Discovery Channel.

So, yesterday, I was watching The Other Side of Outsourcing on the Discovery Times channel, which is one of their several cable outlets, and I got to thinking about globalization and outsourcing. The show was “hosted” or centered around Thomas L. Friedman, who writes for the New York Times on globalization and he showed us what Indians, in India, think about the US outsourcing jobs to their country. He also showed us some of the effects that is having on their culture. It was quite thought provoking.
For one thing, not everyone was the “wake up and smell the new global economy” type that I’ve gotten so used to in recent years. Oh, sure, there were some that had the whole attitude that if they can screw lazy Americans out of jobs that was our fault, not theirs. They feel that they should be able to make money off our greed. Of course, they don’t seem to notice the fact that the entire process is driven by their greed as much as it is ours.
Secondly, the wealth created in India by outsourcing is only benefiting a relatively small group of people. I’d never thought about that, but it makes sense. I mean, in a country of billions, most of whom are quite rural, only a very few million are truly profiting from the wealth. So, in effect, what we’re doing is making a whole new upper class. In fact, an upper class that is quite a bit distant from the next lower class. In other words, that wealth is polarizing a large population into two extremes. Can anyone say “class war”? How long before that happens? How many generations of oppression and poverty will it take to generate a revolt?
Third, all that wealth is Westernizing a very non-Western culture. It’s undermining quite a bit of the Indian family values that are their traditional life. I don’t know how anyone else feels about that, but it seems a little amoral to me to destroy a culture with “traditional” Western greed. That is, after all, what’s driving outsourcing. Our greed as Westerners. That’s a hidden export from America to the rest of the world, that we often forget. Outsourcing is making yet another consumer culture. Is that a good thing?

I don’t think outsourcing is a good idea for many, many reasons. The above are only a few. OTH, I have a quandry. See, I work for a truly multinational company now. So, of course, certain jobs are in other countries. Jobs that Americans could do, but that people in other countries can do cheaper. But, somehow, that seems better than outsourcing to me. I don’t know, maybe I’m splitting hairs, but it seems less like stealing jobs from Americans and more like generating jobs in the world. But, it still made me, well, a little itchy when I first heard it. It still seems different, though. I mean, for one thing, we’re a freaking multinational! This kind of thing is what multinational corporations are for. And, in our case, it’s 100% expansion. It’s a new project that isn’t going to lay off Americans currently working, nor will it import a bunch of H1B1 visa holders to undercut American workers. Instead, we’re creating jobs in other countries. Again, maybe I’m splitting hairs, but it just feels better to me.

Well, whatever, it’s a huge issue that’s not going to go away any time soon. And, the more I look at it, the more complicated it seems. I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking about it until I know how I feel. Until then, it is what it is and nothing I think can really change that.
Happy Monday.

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