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What Should a Documentary Filmmaker Ask About Offshoring?

Roblimo posted more than 10 years ago | from the help-make-a-movie dept.

Businesses 1091

Philadelphia-area development economics and finance student Rachel Anderika and her associate, programmer/filmmaker Krishnan, are making a documentary about the effects of offshore outsourcing. Their "still under construction" Web site, Project Outsourced, gives you more information about their work. They're interviewing economists, bankers, anti-outsourcing advocacy groups, pro-outsourcing CEOs, columnists, and others. Where you come in is helping Rachel and Krishnan come up with good questions to ask. We'll forward 10 - 15 of the highest-moderated ones posted here (within the next 24 hours) to them. Expect summaries (and possibly audio or video clips) of the answers in late May, and news about the finished film this Fall.

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Outsourcing on Slashdot: Fair and Balanced? (5, Informative)

mr.henry (618818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838089)

I think /. should have a disclaimer on every outsourcing related story that mentions that their parent company, VA Software, has sent American jobs overseas.

Valence Technology
VA Software

Here [cnn.com] is a list of companies that use outsourcing.

Re:Outsourcing on Slashdot: Fair and Balanced? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838118)

I hear rumors Linux kernel development was outsourced to Finland at some point.

Re:Outsourcing on Slashdot: Fair and Balanced? (-1, Flamebait)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838224)

Um, no. It can't have been outsourced their when that's where development started in the first place. The issues with outsourcing have nothing to do with other countries and peoples developing their own products and services. The issues have to do with your own countries companies having other countries do it on their behalf. It's about someone farming out your job to put you out of work.

It's ultimately unsustainable as it collapses the middle class and eventually leaves too few people in aggragate who can afford the minimum level of income corporate coffers require. With technology there will soon be very few jobs left that cannot be outsourced. Think about it, even reporters, lawyers and medical work is being outsourced to other countries.

Re:Outsourcing on Slashdot: Fair and Balanced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838298)

Your parent post: (+1, Funny)
Your post: (-1, Didn't get the joke)

Re:Outsourcing on Slashdot: Fair and Balanced? (1)

Welsh Dwarf (743630) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838236)

Nop, you've got that one wrong, it started in Finland and was outsourced to the US.

Ya know, I thought something was strange... (4, Funny)

artemis67 (93453) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838138)

when the "Cowboy Neal" option started being replaced with "Bhagavad Neal"!


Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838222)

What else is new.

boycott those companies for sending jobs overseas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838246)

Everytime people read an article about outsourcing, they are getting mad ...

Practice of outsourcing (not a question) (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838093)

I am appalled the companies would shift labor to lower-cost locations. This practice should not be tolerated. Now excuse me as I will get into my Honda and drive to nearest Wal-Mart for that 2-for-1 sale on Nike shoes and shirts, can't miss a deal like that.

Re:Practice of outsourcing (not a question) (5, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838171)

Err, I may be wrong, but didn't Honda "Outsource" their labor to the United States (as it was cheaper to hire American workers to build cars for sale in the US than to build 'em overseas then ship the things via ocean freight?)

It seems that this outsourcing thing can and does work both ways, no?

(err, cue massive down-modding by disgruntled outsourced IT workers...)

Re:Practice of outsourcing (not a question) (2, Informative)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838253)

"Err, I may be wrong, but didn't Honda "Outsource" their labor to the United States (as it was cheaper to hire American workers to build cars for sale in the US than to build 'em overseas then ship the things via ocean freight?)"

For the japanese it is much less expensive to produce a car here. They use very strict processes that have cause for little waste, high quality (so they don't have nearly as many bad parts made and don't have to do the same amount of testing) and they don't use unions.

Re:Practice of outsourcing (not a question) (1)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838259)

...as it was cheaper to hire American workers to build cars for sale in the US than to build 'em overseas then ship the things via ocean freight?

Not until you add import tarrifs into the equation.

Of course, slam me all you want, IMO a Honda at 50% more than a comparable Ford or Chevy is still a better investment.

Re:Practice of outsourcing (not a question) (4, Interesting)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838273)

A large portion of the cars made at the Honda plants in the USA are made for the US Market. Also, it is/was due to Reagans tarrifs that they located here in the first place.

There is a difference between having a factory in an other country to serve that country and exporting most/all of that factories output to the USA.

Hell, it can't continue much longer due to how our income tax system is setup. If you make less than a certin amount you pay NO income tax, and most of the new 'service' jobs pay less than that amount.

Re:Practice of outsourcing (not a question) (2, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838296)

We had one the first Hondas. The primary issue was not cost. It was the fact that Honda gave us a better warranty. It was also a time when the car industry had yet to discover that women's money was just as valuable as men's money. Both of these issue drove us, as many others, away from the US car dealers.

The Walmart example, OTOH, is very appropriate. You sacrifice your self respect to shop there. Of course, since the owners and management have already sold thier sould to the devil, it matters little.

Re:Practice of outsourcing (not a question) (1)

raygundan (16760) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838313)

Honda? My Honda was made entirely in Ohio, with the exception of the transmission, which was made in Japan. Have they outsourced phone support like everybody else, or something?

Why India? (0, Troll)

Marxist Commentary (461279) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838098)

When the cost of labor in Africa is even cheaper?

What is the end of the line for the capitalist?

Re:Why India? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838115)

"What is the end of the line for the capitalist? "

When every person on the whole planet makes at least 60,000$/year ??

Re:Why India? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838317)

That's the problem with the "Anybody can be rich, if they work hard at it" argument. Anybody? Well maybe, in theory. Everybody? No way. Somebody has to be on the ground doing the grunt work.

Re:Why India? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838123)

Africa... eventually. They do not have the skilled labor or a reliable infrastructure at this point.

I've heard Poland is a good place to open call centers, but unfortunately they do not have a solid power grid.

India has a high education level (4, Insightful)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838144)

At least in some castes, they are real sharpies. We might be exporting jobs there, but we import a lot of their brains from their best technical schools.

Africa doesn't have the education levels, yet. But when they do, we'll be there.

code monkeys (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838174)

Yeah, like porch monkeys can code!


What field next (5, Interesting)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838105)

The one question I have never been able to get a straight answer on. What field should the millions of displaced American IT workers get trained in?

It is always sais that people should be responsbile and learn new skills and train in a new field. When the farm economy shifted to manufacturing, people learned factory work. When manufacturing started to be offshored people were advised to get into IT. What field should people start to train in? Bush talks about training displaced workers, but I haven't heard anything about what their supposed to train in. What is the next new economy, retail?

Re:What field next (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838156)

Nursing pays well. Not get-a-new-porsche well, but $30-40 an hour for a male nurse in night shifts is a regular pay.

With baby boomers nearing their middle age and taxpayers voluntarily covering Medicaid and other programs that are heavily abused, nursing is not a bad field to get into. There will always be people sick and dying, so market is there.

Re:What field next (4, Insightful)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838254)

And you thought you got screwed over as a developer?

Nurses get all the shit, all the repsonsibility, and none of the respect. The hospitals try to keep the number of RNs to a minimum, giving nurses up to 15 patients at a time.

My wife is an RN, and she's told me horror stories about this sort of shit.

If the hospitals could outsource nursing care, they would. Actually, they do. It's called "registry nurses".

Re:What field next (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838176)

For me, I've found that providing IT SERVICES to local Philaldelphia-area merchants and lawyers has been a great business. Please move here and take some of the overload off my hands. You will be expected to be hands-on, professional, and fluent in the local language. Provided India can't helicopter in workers from international waters, these IT service jobs should remain secure.

Re:What field next (4, Funny)

Lil'wombat (233322) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838182)

Anything in the service arena. With the huge savings my company received from offshoring development, I finally got that new lexus I wanted. What I'm noticing, is that the lack of quality amoung local car wash workers is really terrible. I think we could retain some of the VB code monkeys into excellent window washers and wipe-down workers. In fact I think we should return to the days of the full-service gas station. It annoys me to have to keep getting out of my big SUV and fill it with permium gas. There should be people who do that for us.

Re:What field next (4, Funny)

Akki (722261) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838195)

Two words: soylent green.

Or maybe just fertilizer.

Re:What field next (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838242)

As the poster above said, nursing and healthcare are hard to outsource. Research and development is most likely secure at least for the time being but there aren't that many corporations that do bona fide long-run research (Intel, IBM and Du Pont come to mind). Might not be everybody's cup of tea: can get pretty hard to get in and even harder to stay in.

Re:What field next (2, Insightful)

Killswitch1968 (735908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838308)

Business and management. IT gets outsourced because, well, it's not that hard a skill compared to other professional degrees. If you want to make even $50K/y you had better convince your employer you are actually worth that much. And generally that means IT isn't enough. Have you considered an MBA?

Summary (4, Insightful)

Slashdot Hivemind (763065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838107)

Geek jobs come under threat. Suddenly geeks lose libertarian leanings* and belatedly side with the ex-manufacturing workers who bullied them through High School

*For ENTIRELY unrelated reasons, obviously. No hypocrisy here at all

mod up please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838257)

(+5, provocative statement, but sadly true)

Documentary perspective (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838109)

A documentary is important and I would fully support one being created (Disclaimer: my first major in college was documentary film), but perhaps more importantly, that documentary would be made much stronger if it would include some hard numbers and studies including rigorous statistics on just how offshoring is helping (or hurting) the 1) corporation, 2) worker, 3) consumer. Perhaps not just the viewpoint in the US as an interesting perspective could be made from the person getting the job.

So, here is the deal: Documentaries are often about perspective but ideally, they are about finding the truth and revealing that truth to your viewer. Political perspectives are going to be difficult to get, but contact someone like Robert Reich who could place you in touch with a variety of folks in and out of the political scene.

Robert Reich
P.O. Box 381483
Cambridge, MA 02238
(617) 547-2206
Fax: (617) 498-0048

Re:Documentary perspective (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838147)

I should amend this to say what I intended to say: Specifically that political perspectives are not going to be difficult to get and they will try and cloud the issues with agenda, but contact someone (like Robert Reich) who can put you in touch with folks inside and outside of politics.

The biggest question... (5, Insightful)

Pi_0's don't shower (741216) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838112)

What sort of responsibility to create jobs should a company have to the nation that purchases/has a demand for the goods they're producing?

Re:The biggest question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838276)

Easy. None. Nobody is making anyone buy their products.

Summaries? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838127)

"Expect summaries (and possibly audio or video clips)"

Pah, I'm sorry, but with your decreased labour costs, I'd expect nothing less than a 6-hour trilogy... and a bonus 'making of' disc!

Do overseas workers cause more problems than... (5, Interesting)

Xystance (660413) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838131)

Very simply, do overseas workers cause more problems than they create? When it comes to programming, coordinating projects between two centers in different facilities in a single country is hard enough. Adding culture and language differences to the mix while not being able to have direct and on-site meetings to architect a complex program, is that a recipe for disaster? With overseas call centers, do you keep enough future customers due to deficiencies in customer support to make it financially viable to continue offshoring support? How do you cooordinate high-level management objectives with an office across the world?

Re:Do overseas workers cause more problems than... (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838339)

Very simply, do overseas workers
cause more problems than they create?

(Of course, the emphasis above is mine.)

What a deliciously loaded question. My question to you: Do you deny that they solve any problems?


Asking /. for Questions? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838132)

Before taking on a documentary shouldn't you have at least some idea of how to go about making it?

Ask the other side's arguments. (5, Insightful)

b-baggins (610215) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838135)

Ask the arguments of the other side as questions.

For example, ask the anti-outsourcing advocates what the cost in non-visible jobs is by engaging in protectionism of the highly visible tech jobs lost to outsourcing.

Then ask the pro-outsourcing folks a question like how will the economy absorb the displaced workers resulting from outsourcing.

This will make each side actually defend their position instead of using you as a sounding platform for their agenda.

Just one question (2, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838139)

her associate, programmer/filmmaker Krishnan

Dear Krishnan,

Where will the film be produced?

while you're over there doing research and such... (3, Funny)

maxbang (598632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838141)

can you find me a job?

Followup: (0, Flamebait)

maxbang (598632) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838180)

i can even build websites. i'm just letting you know. not that you'd need a website developer or anything. just sayin.

I will probably lose karma for this (5, Interesting)

realdpk (116490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838142)

(but who cares)

My question is .. has the standard of living, for those working for American companies, increased at all? Or are the jobs just barely paying the bills like any other job might?

Re:I will probably lose karma for this (2, Interesting)

realdpk (116490) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838181)

Crap. I meant the standard of living for those living in India working for American companies.

AIDS insourcing from America's outsourcing... (0, Interesting)

adzoox (615327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838143)

On last night's show - 60 MINUTES claimed that India has the highest percentage of AIDS cases in the world, overtaking Africa.

What I would like included in such a documentary is what the effect of outsourcing to India has on the effect of "bringing diseases back home"?

It seems a lot of executives in India are starting to get infected - so in turn wouldn't those executives and "American workers" that may travel there have a higher susceptability to contracting the AIDs virus?

Re:AIDS insourcing from America's outsourcing... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838289)

This is neither off topic nor troll - mod this back up!

Economy.. (5, Interesting)

DarkBlackFox (643814) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838165)

Is outsourcing seen in the public eye as helping or destroying an economy? I mean, on the one hand, we're loosing jobs locally, but on the other hand it's creating thousands of jobs in 3rd world countries. I heard someone say before every one job here is worth three jobs offshore, for the same amount of money. I guess the question is, are companies benefiting by getting more bang for the buck out of employees helping the economy locally, if not the job market, while at the same time helping the economies of other countries by creating jobs? A penny saved is a penny earned, potentially spent locally.

Re:Economy.. (0)

notbob (73229) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838306)

Great to go from gauranteed penny spent here in a salary to "potentially spent locally"....

Good long term prospect.

What kind of car do the complainers drive? (4, Insightful)

PseudononymousCoward (592417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838172)


I am so sick of people whining "outsourcing sent my job to India" then walking out the door to climb into their Toyota. I'm sorry that your job has been outsourced, I am. But don't you realize that your decisions sent others to the same fate--where was your sense of moral outrage then?

Re:What kind of car do the complainers drive? (2, Informative)

Spectra72 (13146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838299)

What if the Toyota was actually made in America [toyota.com] ?

On the outrage meter, where should I be on this one? 1? 10? .... 11?

Re:What kind of car do the complainers drive? (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838334)

I am so sick of people whining "outsourcing sent my job to India" then walking out the door to climb into their Toyota

Hmm, I didn't realize a owning Toyota was a social statement.

But tell me, I drive a Yugo, does that give me the right to complain that outsourcing sent my job to India?

Re:What kind of car do the complainers drive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838338)

I'm not sure it really matters:

When I was in high-school, I had a Dodge Daytona, build out of american parts in anytown, USA.

Then I bought a Dodge Avenger, build for Dodge by Mitsubichi Motors, LTD, in Canada (out of parts made in Mexico)

Then I bought an Isuzu Rodeo, assembled in USA (Michigan I believe) out of parts from all over the place.

Now, was I more patriotic in second or third case?

Make sure to interview the KKK (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838177)

"anti-outsourcing advocacy groups,"

Make sure to interview the KKK. They are the anti-outsourcing advocacy that gets to the root of opposition to outsourcing: some people hate the fact that "brown" foreigners do some jobs better than Americans.

Hypocricy (2, Interesting)

clenhart (452716) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838179)

Our government positions outsourced to other countries, yet the CDC has a policy of buying airline tickets from US companies over foreign airlines.

Our foreign aid also favors purchasing from US companies abroad over local companies. (Who are we really aiding?)

How does your documentary view the hypocricy of outsourcing when it appears to favor US companies, not US employees?

Good for the economy is good for me? (1)

pheared (446683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838185)

Nearly every person who has defended offshoring has said that the practice is good for the economy. And yet, that doesn't necessarily translate into a job for you and me. Since it's mostly big coroporations that are benefiting from this, should be be so ready to embrace offshoring as a boon for our economy?

Request for un-biased feelings on outsourcing... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838188)

The topic of outsourcing has been features in slashdot many times.
Bottomline: Whenever outsourcing is mentioned (or MSFT), I always see comments bashing India and saying that outsourcing is bad.
As an American, I think this puts us as a Xenophobic and protectionist bunch.

I will be glad when people stop this mindless bashing and become more open-minded like a true capitalist!

Effect on the economy? (5, Interesting)

neurojab (15737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838192)

What effect do you feel the outsourcing of professional jobs has on the economy? When manufacturing moves offshore, it's easy to say we'll all be employed with "knowledge jobs", but what happens when the knowledge jobs move offshore? Doesn't this equate to leaving our own highly skilled individuals unemployed/underemployed while we're pumping money into a foriegn economy via payroll? If we oursource our professional jobs, where will stateside consumers get the money to purchase the (now cheaper?) products? Is a "service only" economic model sustainable for the United States?

question about staying ahead (4, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838198)

My question would be... If the US is outsourcing many areas and this in tern is bringing the other countries up in the economic levels, then what can US workers and companies do to stay ahead of the curve and continue to be a worlk leader?

At the rate we are going with outsourcing jobs and having decreasing technical educational levels (studies have shown drops in math in science all the way through college) by the time i am old we will not be tha major world power anymore. Other countries will have taken that from us.

Local effects (3, Interesting)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838201)

What are the positive and negative effects on the offshore locations?

Are these positive and negative effects distributing themselves evenly through these societies, or is it effecting and effected by existing class and social structures?

Information security (5, Insightful)

kanwisch (202654) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838203)

As an informed, identity-paranoid IT person:

How will my SSN and other personal information be secured from workers who have zero responsibility to secure it, from a legal perspective?

Re:Information security (1)

cluckshot (658931) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838301)

Mod this guy up!

Where does the money go? (4, Insightful)

blair1q (305137) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838204)

Offshoring jobs increases the management/labor revenue split.

Isn't offshoring just a way to make the rich richer without regard for the American working class?

Isn't it evidence that the wealthy have no regard for those who must do work to stay alive?

Isn't it an utter repudiation of the widely held belief that concentration of capital is good for all of us?

Isn't it a strong reminder that the only thing that keeps capitalism alive is tolerance of the working man for the profligacy of the non-working class?

I'm no socialist, but I know a revolt when I see one coming. The rich in this country will be lucky if they aren't killed, cooked, and eaten before it's done.

Customer Service (2, Interesting)

mrdjames (770597) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838216)

I'd like to know how the executives of these outsourcing companies feel about the level of customer service, and how the quality of these services is going down due to language barriers, and lack of knowledge. David James

How big a bonus did you get for offshoring? (1)

disposable60 (735022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838223)

Not just the total, but a per-dejobbed-person average.

Dear Slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838229)

I'd like you to do my homework for me. Please help me makes lots of money off documentary making. I'd go out an find the answers for myself, but that's too hard.

Challenge (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838231)

One difficult aspect with this type of documentary is that will be very easy for them to find disgruntled/laid-off workers to interview -- i.e. people who have been "hurt" by outsourcing -- whereas it will be much harder to find people to interview who have benefitted from outsourcing.

The reason for this is not that there are no people who benefit from outsourcing -- quite the contrary -- but the benefits are much more evenly distributed than the downsides.

In essence: You can easily track down the 1 person who lost a $1000 project, but it's harder to track down the 1000 who saved $1 on their groceries at Wal-Mart.

If the directors are un-biased, they'll work around this somehow. Otherwise, it'll be yet another worthless sermon for the choir.

I have two actually... (3, Interesting)

Maestro4k (707634) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838234)

The first one I hope they're planning on asking the appropriate person(s) already.
  1. What effect has losing a job to out-sourcing had on you personally, including all aspects -- mental, physical, financially, etc. (This one obviously needs to be asked to someone (or many someones) who have lost a job because it got outsourced.
  2. Who is supposed to pay for tech workers retraining themselves in new fields? I see so many companies/organizations saying that US tech workers even enjoy retraining for new fields, but they never mention how a newly unemployed (thanks to outsourcing) person is supposed to PAY for that retraining.
Personally I would LOVE to see the people who go on about US tech workers just need to retrain for a new field asked #2. I doubt you'll find many (if any) that will answer on the record though.

Statistics... (1)

Seoulstriker (748895) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838235)

Rather than people using anecdotal evidence to criticize outsourcing, how about using some statistics? 6,000 jobs have been lost overseas over the past three years to outsourcing.

I hope people understand that the reason they were fired was most likely not outsourcing but economic downturn.

Mod This UP! (1)

PseudononymousCoward (592417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838312)

As a colleague of mine likes to point out, the plural of anecdote is not data.


Offshoring capital expenses (1)

YU Nicks NE Way (129084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838239)

Increasingly, I'm seeing reports of companies offshoring fixed expenses, such as design, engineering, or development, instead of offshoring only variable expenses, such as support services. The latter is disgusting, but could make business sense, since it's a cost duplicated by each unit sold, and so reducing that cost adds directly to the bottom line. From an economic perspective, the latter makes no sense to me. After all, if the company is amortizing a cost over millions of units shipped, then how can there be a competitive advantage in reducing that cost?

Can you explain what the advantage is?

Is the fiscal argument real? (5, Interesting)

delcielo (217760) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838241)

To the CEOs of the outsourcing companies:

Is the outsourcing really cheaper when the total costs are figured, or is this move a way to show shareholders that you're doing some cutting in the down economy?

Two Questions - one from each "side"? (5, Interesting)

prestidigital (341064) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838247)

  1. What are the hidden costs associated with offshore outsourcing? We hear a lot about drastically lower labor costs. But there are also costs associated with cultural and geographic distance, lack of interpersonal interaction, and trust issues, and more. These should be balanced against labor cost savings. So what are these costs and how much impact do they have?
  2. Is it really "offshore outsourcing" when the company that gets the job is a global company with offices and personnel located in the U.S.? Even jobs that are awarded to U.S. companies often involve the use of offsite workers located in or shipped in from other states. How much difference does it really make to an in-state worker who loses his job to an out-of-state worker compared to an out-of-country worker?

Future of Indian outsourcing (2, Interesting)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838248)

My question is:

How do you think the rising salaries in India are going to affect the current outsourcing trend?

Re:Future of Indian outsourcing (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838327)

Easy, one pay gets too expensive in India the Multinationals will fuck them over too.

why is there a pyramid on the dollar bill (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838249)

Please ask the captains of industry about their secret society memberships. If they deny this affilitation, please inquire about the purpose of the pyramid and eyeball on the dollar bill. Be sure to point out that India has all kinds of odd religious figures with multiple arms and the like.

Shiva is finally trouncing the masons and I'm betting that they are now regretting having kept their society so secret now.

Outsourcing AIDS American jobs (0)

Slashdot Hivemind (763065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838250)

Common sense can be deceptive. Common sense says that outsourcing will destroy American jobs, but actually, in the long run, outsourcing will help to preserve jobs and Western society.

How? First, please visit the web site that explains "H-1B Myths " [ucdavis.edu] . Professor Matloff, who teaches computer science at a top-notch university, has campaigned tirelessly to terminate the H-1B program.

Anyhow, we have only 2 choices.

1. H-1B employment but no outsourcing.

2. Outsourcing but no H-1B employment.

The second choice is best and will result in the long-term gain of jobs for Americans. The United States of America (USA) is a big market, and companies will set up shop in the USA once their share of the market reaches a certain critical size. As well, domestic content laws facilitate this trend. Toyota and Honda are excellent examples; they have built huge manufacturing and design facilities in the USA.

Further, by terminating H-1B employment, you ensure that American jobs stay with Americans.

The second choice also directly deals with the strongest bogus argument by unethical American companies like Intel and possibly Google. Even when Silicon Valley has 8% unemployment, they insist that cannot find American workers for critical jobs and that they must hire H-1Bs. We in the Slashdot community should say, "Fine. Go set up shop overseas. There is plenty of labor there."

who cares? (1, Insightful)

P0lyh34) (602065) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838252)

I mean really.. whats the point. Off shore outsourcing is putting IDIOTS out of work and thats about it. Were talking about help (hell) desk people here. Nobody really usefull. Nobody actually competant. Why should a company pay more for the same level icompetence? Personally i think says volumes about mistakes made by americans and its government that all the jobs are going outside the US. "Because its cheaper" isn't the only reason they move these services off shore. "Becuase its cheaper and better" is why they do it. The biggest complaint people seem to have is "english isn't even their native language." If that isn't a bigotted, racist statement to make i don't know what is.

How is it different than Robotics? (3, Interesting)

PseudononymousCoward (592417) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838258)

Ok, so lets say I have a piece of software on the computer sitting under my desk that automagically writes programs. I write detailed design specs, then run a shell script, say ./program.sh . A week or two later, I have a written program. Would anybody object to the creation of such a program? No, of course not.

But if, instead of DELL writing programs, it's 5 guys in Bangalore, and my computer simply acts as a communications point, then suddenly we're getting out the pitchforks and torches? Why the difference? I ask my Economics classes this every course, and I've yet to hear a reasonable answer...it all comes back to "but those are PEOPLE", as if them being Intels, or AMDs, or chickens would make it more acceptable.

Remember the scare about robots in the 1980's? Remember the chicken littles running around warning of the disappearance of jobs in America, as we were all replaced by robots? It's happening again.


Hire people in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838267)

Hire some Indians to do the work for you. You pay them pennies while you make millions.

And what about NEXT quarter? (4, Interesting)

BadDoggie (145310) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838270)

Most outsourcing is done through intermediaries and the outsourced workers themselevs are classified as "contractors". These people realise the disposable nature of their positions and are themselves worried about their jobs disappearing to even cheaper countries such as the Philippines. There is no job security and no loyalty to the company. There is no incentive to work harder or find ways to help the company. There is only the desire to get as much out of the employer as possible, in the shortest time possible, and to find a new employer while still being paid by the old one.

Considering this, can the short-term financial gains really offset the long-term benefits a loyal and motivated workforce provide?

Give and take (1)

dplank (42307) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838271)

Trade is supposed to be about give and take. You give something and you get something in return.

If Indians do programming work for Americans, what do they want in return? Dollars of course, but somewhere down the line that has to translate back into American goods or services. What exactly is it that Indians want in the way of American goods and services?

Not a question for this documentary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838275)

But still, I would be interested to know how whether the programmers in third world countries who use and profit from open source ever give any code or patches back to the original project.

It seems like most Asian cultures are averse to anything resembling charity. The native chinese (not HK or Taiwan) I've known have all been cut-throat competitive, to the point that giving ANYTHING away is seen as nothing short of crazy.

Impact on outsourcing destination (2, Interesting)

obi1one (524241) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838278)

What impact does outsourcing higher paying jobs to a poor country have on that country's economy? For instance when Dell sent support jobs to india, they were paying those support people many many times what most indians make, paying them with money from selling a product most indians could never afford. I would imagine that those with the outsourced jobs would be consuming a lot more than normal, which would drive up prices for things like housing, transportation, and cloths. These higher prices would negatively impact the average person trying to purchase those things, meaning that the average indian is worse off for having these higher paying jobs in their country.

i think this would be better handled (0)

FS1 (636716) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838280)

I don't know about the rest of you, but i would love to see Penn and Teller's view on outsourcing. I recommend everyone watch their show Penn & Teller's Bullshit. Im actually surprised they offer great insight to things people think they know about. This show has given me many facts and insights into disagreements i have had with many in the past. They put into words and supported it with facts what i have said to others about many things before.

Affect of outsourcing to India (1)

gorbachev (512743) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838285)

How has outsourcing affected India; individuals doing outsourcing work, companies involved with it and Indian in general?

Impact on housing and automobile markets (2, Insightful)

StandardCell (589682) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838290)

The promise of outshoring has always been cheaper goods, but housing in the Western world and particularly the large tech centers in the US have largely been supported by the higher salaries of white collar workers. Because white collar workers in virtually every profession are now subject to offshoring, what is the projected impact on the housing markets, as well as the financial health of mortgage granters such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac? My concern is that the housing market will crash, causing defaults and undermining the overall economy. I would also ask the same question regarding automobile manufacturers' sales, and if outsourcing will do the same for their markets, as well as auto loan granters.

Customers (1)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838292)

The key question is:

How do your customers feel about having to deal with someone on the other end of the phone is in an entirely different cultual environment and who cannot relate to the problem?

White man should see this coming. (2, Insightful)

CrystalFalcon (233559) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838294)

Ugh. White man comes to America, takes away all precious, precious land from Indians.

Now, Indians take away precious, precious income from white man in return.

What goes around comes around, as white man says.

What KIND of jobs? (3, Interesting)

rburgess3 (682428) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838295)

The question I would like most answered is this:

Yes, IT jobs seem to be outsourced to foriegn countries, but specifically what sectors of IT, and for what purpose? Not for what gain, as that is fairly obvious - saving money - but what is the function that these outsourced jobs fill? For call centers, this is fairly obvious, but what about for programming? What kind of programming is being done off-shore? What kind of programming cannot for saftey reasons, intellectual property reasons and other reasons be moved out of the US?

Similarly for other sectors of the IT field - what are the limits, and why?

Racism and more (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838297)

I am concerned about the off handed, racist remarks I have seen and heard. I would like to see that touched upon. Also, the connection between insurance companies and other investors with grotesquely large amounts of money, investing their funds in businesses thus forcing them to work towards the bottom line and going with the cheapest solution.

Real Reasons? (4, Interesting)

ChuckDivine (221595) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838300)

I'm on record for saying that working 100, 80, even 60 hours per week regularly is dysfunctional and counterproductive. There are other management fads that are likewise dysfunctional and counterproductive.

To what extent is outsourcing being driven by staff resistance to management demands? What kinds of demands are being resisted?

This question can be put to both the pro and anti sides.

Me (1)

shadowkoder (707230) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838304)

I'm a freshmen in college, (but this applies to anyone around my age group), what in the hell is going to happen to the tech hobs in the next 4 years? (how many years I have until graduation)

Paying the price for getting rich. (2, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838309)

We all live on the same planet so there can't be any such thing as outsourcing in a world with trade.

The people of the rich countries hve been happy to eat cheap (though artificially expensive!) food for years.

The short term costs to the newly jobless are high but in a world ecnomony eventually the disparity between one country and another should shrink, unless the disparity is kept open artificially.

Seems not many are complaining that their cheap laptops are built from cheap labour, or cheap shoes. Take a look at the balance of trade for the countries of the world. The US and UK are net importers. China and Taiwan are net exporters. One should consider the long term consequences of this pattern.

We have exploited the disparity for a long long time.

When the pony comes home, pay up, pay up, pay up.

Is it worth customer irritation? (3, Interesting)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838311)

I recently had the task of setting up a printer to work with Quark Xpress. They offer no free support. My employer paid the support cost, and I was put on the phone with a man with a thick Indian accent. It was so bad that I had to ask him to repeat himself at least once every time he spoke. I guess my argument is that people hired to interface with other people should be able to communicate well. It was such a pain in the ass to translate his accent that I decided I would avoid purchasing Quark or recomending Quark (ignoring that some alternatives may be better products). I've heard that Dell computers heard similar complaints to the ones I am making, and brought their tech support back.

I guess my question is: Is it worth the savings to piss your customers off, esp. when they are paying top dollar for good tech support on a per-call basis? On another front, Have these companies had good results overcoming the language barriar (that, according to a programmer friend of mine, ends up causing more problems for a project, resulting in more time cleaning up the mess that misunderstanding brings than executing the project)?

The bottom line of outsourcing. (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838315)

My questions to those CEOs would be: would you say that, 2 or 3 years down the line, outsourcing has improved your bottom line? And are your customers (whether they are internal 'customers' or real ones) as happy with the provided quality as they used to be before you outsourced?

Then I'd go and ask the same questions to middle management and the customers themselves, their 'bottom line' being value for money.

I've had some limited experience with outsourcing. In one case, the team from India did a super job, as good as we could have done in-house. In another case, outsourcing was a dismal failure. So at a glance it would seem possible to do it right, but its certainly no panacea.

Oh, another question: are we talking about outsourcing (having another company, possibly based in the same country, take over certain activities of your own company that aren't part of your core business), or offshoring (having another company or a subsidiary of your own company take over activities, in a low-cost country)?

what happens... (1)

spiritraveller (641174) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838316)

whene there are no jobs left?

Eventually, even the guy who makes the fries at McDonald's will be automated.

Anything that requires actual skills and doesn't require physical presence will be outsourced.

So when the corporations are overflowing with wealth, and normal people (read: not our corporate overlords) have no way of attaining wealth anymore, what will we do?

Maybe the lucky ones will work security for the corporations.

Supply and Demand, indigenous development (3, Interesting)

danharan (714822) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838329)

Apparently rates in India are going up with demand, which is entirely logical from a market perspective.

If instead of reducing outsourcing we tried to send more work to India, is it conceivable that we could bring up their salaries to a point where they would no longer compete on price?

Also, can we expect some of those Indian programmers and companies to do more work on fulfilling their own software needs, and stop chasing outsourcing work?

Ask exec's how long they have left (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8838336)

They could try to stir up the pro-outsourcing executives by asking how long they think their jobs will last and mention offshoreexecutive [offshoreexecutive.com] , a consulting company that specialises in the outsourcing of executive positions.

I applaud your objectivity and your humility (3, Interesting)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8838337)

Unlike Lou Dobbs [cnn.com] , who has made outsourcing his nightly crusade, and who shouts down anyone who disagress, you seem to want to approach this with some intellectual honesty, rather than an agenda.

I also like the fact that you don't claim to have all the answers in advance. So many reporters and filmakers are too arrogant to ask for assistance. A truly awesome idea to ask everyone you can about this before filming. Nothing pisses me off more than some 60 Minutes piece that (invariably) fails to interview the other side.

Agenda-based "reporters" rarely find the truth. You might find that outsourcing is terrible, but you appear to be objective and thorough, i.e., the opposite of Michael Moore.

My golden question: Ask the labor unions to explain how they can reconcile their push for high wages and benefits which are completely non-competitive with foreign workers, and then have the audacity to complain about outsourcing, rather than take some of the blame (how's that for a leading question?).

I'd also ask the managers of large pension and mutual funds how outsourcing affects their stockholders, and ask them to describe who, exactly, those stockholders are. The answer might surprise most people.

Good luck!

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