Tuesday, January 31, 2006

People Are People, So Why Should It Be? You And I Should Get Along So Awfully...

Well, this is a blog, right? And we all know what blog really means: a safe place for people to rant. It seems as though my time has come. Now, I don't really view this as a rant, more of something I would love to start an indepth debate/conversation about. Alright, now that the preface is done, let's get into the good stuff.
As I was surfing the limitless void that is Blogspot, I came across the blog a of former Science teacher (whom I greatly respect, and thus, had to read the opinion of). He had an article concerning the issue of Outsourcing. The interesting part was that he gave a rather human view to a extremely dehumanized topic. Here's what he had to say:

So, after I have calmed down a little, I talked to my wife. (Go figure, I have time to do that when I am also doing this stuff.) We talked about how and if the world is becoming "flat." She works for a health care company in an after-hours clinic (nice since I work days and can then hang with my daughter). Sometimes she needs to consult an "expert" like an orthopedic doctor. The other night she said there was a call for a consult and the person on the other end had a strange accent and lots of noise during the phone call. It seems that the "after-hours" consult call went to an orthopedic doctor in New Zealand! Since it was the daytime there the doctor was "in." The x-ray was sent via e-mail and the doctor looked at the film and decided there was a break. She could not believe that the help came from that far away. The two of us are now talking about what this means for our children (yes, there will be another soon) and for the students that I teach. We do not think that this type of outsourcing is a "bad" idea and I am wondering what other people think?

Seems like a perfect reason to encourage global outsourcing. It helps everyone in need. The patient gets aid, the doctor gets work, and the clinician gets her job done effeciently. These are the scenarios that should be reported more. Instead we get the humdrum of blatently biased and depressing news. As a comment to the post, another teacher gave his take on the situation.

Despite my impeccable liberal credentials, I think outsourcing is just fine (with a couple of caveats that I will explain in a moment). My opinion has always been that people are people - just because someone was born American doesn't make them better or more deserving than someone born in India or China. So when folks object to outsourcing by talking about "American jobs," I cringe. Yes, I live in America. And yes, I think our way of government is the best we've discovered so far. And yes, I would like Americans - especially my wife and I and eventually our daughter - to have good jobs. But that doesn't mean that folks in India and China don't deserve good jobs as well.My concern over outsourcing is simply are we giving our students (children) the skills/knowledge/habits of mind they need to be successful and happy in the 21st century? This project we are involved in is probably a direct result of that. So, the two caveats about outsourcing are these. One, I think we need to do a better job of re-training workers whose jobs are outsourced so that they can move into other fulfilling and economically viable jobs. Two, I believe that companies that outsource need to make sure that they provide safe working conditions and a livable wage in the countries they outsource to. As long as those two things are happening, I believe outsourcing - in addition to being inevitable - is actually good for the human race.

I definitely agree with most of this reply. To start off, the poster is absolutely correct in saying that outsourcing is the inevitable future. Whether it will be better for the economy or worse is something I cannot say. I'll leave that to future historians and present corporations. After all, corporations are the drive of this entire issue. Which is why I believe that the second caveat in the posters comment will never occur. If a corporation spends money making sure that the workers in other countries have job "quality" (read: conditions, pay, etc.), the corporation will lose the money it was trying gain by outsourcing the job in the first place. No corporation will ever do this. They would be better off just keeping or hiring employees in this country and save on long distance calls and shipping supplies and the like. It is an unfortuante circumstance, but the parties in question (corporations and foreign [probably formerly third-world] countries) are not the most moral of parties. Speaking of foreign countries, therein lies another problem. These countries are aware of the dispicable working conditions of some of their companies. And because of this, there is not a whole lot that the Good Ole' US of A can do about it. Let's not get ourselves into another war now. But I digress.... The first caveat seems like the best solution, however it is just not practical. Who would train these now workless workers? Their former companies will never spend money helping former employees. Prospective companies? There are no such things unless you have the qualifications. The Government? What department would that fall under? Besides, the government is already spending outrageous amounts of money on who-knows-what, let's try to solve our defecit spending problems before we spend some more. But hey, other than that, I totally agree.

Now I know what you are thinking. "Great, another typical blogger. Complaints without solutions." That would be where you are wrong. Interestingly, this "problem" has no "solution". As previously stated, corporations are the driving force behind outsourcing. Thus, the only reason they will stay in this venture is if it produces a signifigant profit. If outsourcing produces a decent yeild, corporations will stick to it, and if customers accept it, then it won't end. Even if the government tries to ban, slow, or regulate it. Corporations aren't exactly keen on listening to the Feds. Enron, anyone? If customers begin to reject outsourcing, then it will die off. Simply because the corporations will lose money. As unfortunate as it is, outsourcing is not a human issue, it's a currency issue.

Mein Gott, that was quite the post. I do believe I rubbed my fingerprints off. With this I'll leave it open to discussion. I would love to hear your view. And please correct me if I am wrong about anything. Or if my opinion is just wrong. Let me know.

Thanks very much to the two teachers involved in this. Once again, I am not trying to say anyone is wrong or to offend anyone. This is just a very interesting topic of discussion and I would love to hear what others have to say.

P.S. I was listening to Depeche Mode while writing this. (Don't know what I am talking about? Google the title.)


At Thursday, February 02, 2006 12:05:00 AM, Blogger Matt W said...

I too came across this post, and I really do have to agree with your take. It's beyond wishful thinking to believe that we'll ever find the right solution of the "problem" of outsourcing. Naturally I'm inclined to want to keep most of the jobs at home, but it's not going to happen. Giving overseas workers equal wages and training etc. that the workers here in America had would defeat the entire purpose of outsourcing those jobs in the first place. The only reason outsourcing even exists it due the extreme decreases in cost.

For example, an imaginary shoe-company may pay workers here in America $15 and hour to sit on an assembly line and produce shoes that sell for $35 while costing the company only $20 including worker wage. The company finds out that if they move their company and factory overseas, they can pay workers $8 an hour and spend $12 per shoe while still selling the shoe at $35. I don't know about you, but if that were my business, I'd do it too. The difference in profit is too big to be ignored by larger companies out there.

Personally I think this problem is only the symptom of a much more serious problem in our nation. Americans are becoming spoiled and stuck-up (more than usual) to the point of believing they deserve a certain amount of work, and that they deserve certain occupations due to their status as an American. We see this attitude every day in the huge influx of Hispanic population into our country. Not to be racist whatsoever, when I think of Lawn Maintenance, Fast Food, etc, I think "Hispanic". Why? Americans are spoiled into thinking we all deserve white collar jobs that are above the lower class jobs reserved for people like Hispanics. I think that's absolute crap, but from the way our society presents itself, I can't help but think that this really is how Americans think/view themselves.

The importance of this idea of superiority is made apparent when companies thrive on workers like Hispanics to take job positions at half the wage that the regular American would ask for. As Americans we've grown up being infused with the idea that we're in a free and capitalist nation which apparently means we don't have to work very hard to get everything we want. I honestly believe that a large majority of Americans really don't know what it means to work for your life. Now don't get me wrong here, I know there are people out there who work two or more jobs as a single parent with a family to feed etc. However to my point, because we live in America, even if someone in that situation were to not make enough money to support or feed the family, our Government has huge amounts of money directed to welfare programs. Even beyond government aid, Private organizations such as the "Compa Food Bank" or Shelters etc set up for the downtrodden are all over the place. When you lose all of your money and your home, there are still options for you here in America. Now, back to Hispanics (I'm not singling out Hispanics, I'm just using them as an example). In countries in South America, and many countries of the world that are NOT America, people struggle with the same problem of not having money to feed their families etc. However, there are no Welfare programs or Private Shelters. When you can't feed your family in many third world countries, it means that wither you forage for food/steal food, or you die. You're not put into an unfortunate homeless and jobless situation with options out. You have two options. 1- You and your family work wherever you can for whatever amount of money you can get. 2- You and your family die. As Americans, we can't relate to that kind of desperation (working for your life). Many immigrants can understand that situation. They have grown up knowing to be thankful for any job opportunity that pays money. The have no expectations as opposed to Americans expectations for certain wages and rights within jobs etc. Workers overseas would gladly take $10 an hour wage in some factory, because they need the money and are willing to do what it takes to earn it. Americans have the idea that we're too good for certain jobs, and if we are to work in a job $10 is much too little. We're easily worth $16-20 an hour for X job position.

We really are a nation with a superiority complex. Once again I do think we're the greatest nation on Earth, and I'm very glad have been born here. Unfortunately with our superiority complex, we've created an almost "lower class" of society in our minds. The lower class consists of jobs that are too basic for us and pay too little for us. There will always be lower class people who will take up those jobs. The workers in this lower class of jobs and society are people who take care of all the things we'd never do ourselves because we're too good for those remedial tasks.--- What do I have to say to people with that viewpoint? You're so spoiled with this idea of immediate implied rights due to one's place of birth (the USA), that you've completely missed a basic fact of society. You are in no way superior to anyone else on the planet. You believe that immigrant workers, or overseas workers are a sort of labor/slave-class that takes care of all of the trash you don't want to do, and yet if every immigrant worker and overseas worker were to suddenly quit their jobs, the US would absolutely crumble economically and socially. These "remedial jobs" are in-fact the very foundations upon which this great nation is built, and we are all fortunate that people who appreciate work and earning an honest dollar are the backbone of this crucial foundation of our nation. Without them, we would fail as a nation. I find it disappointing that Americans don't make up the foundation of America, but I am grateful however that so many people have been able to come to this nation, or work in overseas factories and be given jobs and oppotunities that feed their families and pay for their homes. If only we all could appreciate the opportunities provide to us by living in this great nation.

With all of the above said, I can whittle everything down to this...The large controversy of outsourcing jobs is simply American companies choosing to employ people who will work just as hard for half the wage, as jobs are taken away from many Americans who believed they "had the Right to their job and High wages". They believe their spot and pay is reserved for them just because they're Americans, but there are Millions of people outside of this country willing to do the work for less money, so the "reservations" are being given to them instead.

What does this have to do with anything? Everything (what? I know). If we as a nation decided to get rid of this superiority complex and to work the same amounts we do for much less wage, we'd see less and less outsourcing. As long as we think our work is worth more than overseas workers think they are worth, then the jobs will continue to default to whoever is cheapest since the same amount of work will still be done. Unfortunately I doubt this will ever happen due to the fact that as Americans we really don't know what it means to "work for our lives". This, my friends, is the blessing and curse of being born in the greatest nation of the world.

I know there's probably a load of typo's and such in this comment, so bear with me. It's 1am and I'm sick/tired/weak/stupid? and I really don't feel like going back through this reply to find all the mistakes.


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