Monday, February 23, 2004

Outsourcing notes

I read a few articles and web posts this weekend:

CIO
http://comment.cio.com/comments/15509.html

eWeek
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,4149,1335063,00.asp

BusinessWeek
http://www.businessweek.com:/print/smallbiz/content/jan2004/sb20040112_0920.htm?sb

An overwhelming number of responses resonated with frustration and fear. A number of readers expressed their anger with un-feeling corporate leaders and high-ranking company officials. Their notes rang clearly with an "them-against-us" tone. Some just seemed puzzled and questioned the whole logic of the "natural law" of economics that seemed to dictate current corporate strategy:

What we, as a nation, are doing, is creating a void in our gross national product by essentially going for the lowest price at every point, except one: managers and executives. They are the only group of people who are guaranteeing their own future, mostly because they are behind the decisions that are made.

I think these sort of questions run through our heads each day. I've recognized in myself that I have a tendency to have reactionary responses to what I perceive to be bad news about the economy due to the current outsourcing trend. Maybe such reactionary sentiments are just a reflection of the times. Also, people tend to have such base reactions to things when they feel frustrated and powerless or they feel that their position of power is threatened in some way. I don't think that they dynamic of tension here differs too much from what the white American establishment felt on during the Civil Rights era. I read some of the messages sent by angry individuals in the IT and other tech related fields and the outright racism in these rants shook me a little. Though I could myself be accused of bearing the same racist sentiment. As I was reading more of these articles and linking to pages further from the main news articles. I felt myself being drawn further into the highly emotional turmoil felt by the posters.

By the time I ran across this website: http://www.geocities.com/wittcourt/. I'd just about had it. I needed to take a break and sort out what I could construe to be facts from they high-powered emotions and opinions that surround the "Outsourcing" question. I don't doubt that the author of this post feels passionate about his assertions; however, all this stuff smacks of jingoistic propaganda. What happened to the days when people could write persuasive arguments and give speeches that influenced the masses. Don't tell me that Television ruined all of this. I'm sick of that claim. Maybe I just happened to run across to many examples of people not framing their arguments efficiently. People whose arguments are colored primarily by their fears.

I do agree that the fear of loosing one's livelihood is a valid one, but it's wrong to become incensed without really objectively looking at what you feel threatened by. I simply want to know the truth. I also don't want to feel that others around me are just taking what's being dealt to them. Aren't they worried? Don't they want to do something or say anything? Don't they care? Are they wiling to do anything about it? Do they even believe that they can make an impact or has suburban living and corporate life softened them? I just get the feeling especially here at this company that there are too many people who are willing to follow orders blindly or under the false optimism that everything will be okay in the long run. I'm sure there are others who don't feel so powerless. I myself have decided that I want to be as informed as possible on all arguments surrounding the matter. I don't want to be swept away by the reactionary tide. Yes, I feel that it's important defend our right to work; however, I think it shouldn't be done without thought and balanced assessment of actual factors as well as careful and skilled framing of ones arguments.

I know that at times it will be difficult for me to divorce my own negative feelings and perceptions about corporate management and the 'logic' of bottom-line economics, but I want to follow the whole debate around outsourcing more carefully as well as vigilantly.


Some interesting additional notes and readings. This list is in progress. I do want to review some of these articles if I have the time.:

1. In a Goggle search for "legist ration against outsourcing" 5 of the first 10 search items were featured on Indian websites.
2. eWeek article attempts to answer some of the general concerns with the outsourcing trend: http://www.eweek.com/print_article/0,3048,a=61405,00.asp
3. "Choose to Compete: How Innovation, Investment and Productivity can grow US Jobs and Ensure American Competitiveness in the 21st Century." This is a statement put out by the CSPP (Computer Systems Policy Project), an organization of CEOs from major technology corporations including Dell,IBM, Motorola, and HP.
4. CRM (Customer Resource Management) article on 4 arguments against outsourcing: http://www.destinationcrm.com/print/default.asp?ArticleID=1039

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