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Fear...

This is scary stuff IMO...

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/03_05/b3818001.htm

GiorgioG
Friday, January 31, 2003

Even if the US standard of living is reduced, I have to believe that the greatly increased competition (of companies and individuals) will accelerate technology growth. That will benefit all of humanity, not just people living within an arbitrary line on a map. Won't companies and workers (around the world) work harder to innovate if there are 10x or 100x the number of competitors (and customers)? Maybe US companies and workers have grown complacent. Where are all those fair-weather libertarians now?

runtime
Friday, January 31, 2003

Strangely: the cost of living in the US, the access here to basic human necessities such as medical services, rents, and health insurance, and interest rates on existing loans, are not subject to the economic laws governing this emerging one world paradise.

That's what so great about this new world order. We techies are being ordered via the marketplace to be lean and mean (think skeletal) - while profit margins of every other type of business on which ordinary people depend, stubbornly remain pegged where they were prior to the offshoring revolution.

It's good for our souls. We've been spoiled FAR too long.

Bored Bystander
Friday, January 31, 2003

In order to know whether to be worried, we need to know what we're competing against.

Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of how good the "average" Indian engineer is?  Please bear with me; my question is not racially motivated.  If you value worth on several axis:

Quality of education
Varied work experience
Raw intelligence
Personal integrity
Willingness to work hard
Ability to communicate
Domain knowledge

Where does our competition stand?

In the U.S., when I think of a project manager, I picture someone who has seen countless projects, knows software from the traces on the circuit board all the way up through knowledge of the sales force that will sell the eventual product.  Someone who's worked with varied personalities, can spot when something isn't going well and knows how to make it right.  Someone who's not 22 years old (like the example in the article).

How many successful, _large_ projects that you've been involved with didn't have people working on them that had 10 or 15 years actual work experience?  For me, it's zero.  Are there enough of these people in India _right now_ to deliver on a large project?

Again, the numbers cited in articles like this are scary.  We know how much less the Indian engineer costs.  But, does anyone know how much he/she is capable of delivering per capita?

If it's a large amount, then yes, we should be scared.  But how do we know?

Bill Carlson
Friday, January 31, 2003

Hey guys,

After talking with you guys about opportunities in India a month or two back, I took my yearly vacation in India. It wasn't as I expected actually, it was way more modern than I expected. Very nice. Had a good time and got a job offer at $38k. It's less than half what I'm making here near Redmond (not at MS, another place), but it looks like I can live really well on that much in Bangalore. Geesh, did you know that like practically everyone in India speaks English? Culture shock? Hah! The people are way more polite than what I'm used to and the food is really good and pracically everything nontech is really cheap.

Anyway, dudes, I'm outta here, this will be my last post but I wish you all the best -- I'm off to live my dream!

Sarain H.
Friday, January 31, 2003

to Sarain.H

38K...USD? you will be a millionaire many times over....
you can live like a king on that
By the way I'm from India, working in Canada, now unemployed as a software engineer.I am thinking of going back to India...do you have any leads?

sumit
Friday, January 31, 2003

If this trend leads to increasing unemployment in the US and the economy keeps getting worse, Americans will start to resent it. If the big US corporations increase their profits by destroying their own country, they are nothing but parasites, right? And I would think the government would eventually take some kind of action to stop it.
Another possibility is that as salaries and jobs inrease in Asia, the cost of living in their high-tech areas will rise. And as salaries decrease and unemployment increases in the US, our cost of living will lower. Then we will be able to work for less, and the jobs will return.

PC
Friday, January 31, 2003

One possibility is that our nation will actually prosper more from these other nations entering into prosperity. Our only drawback is our huge taxes. If we could moderate our tax system a great deal, we would have a good chance of remaining competitive.

WNC
Friday, January 31, 2003

I liked this part of the article:

"The first wave started two decades ago with the exodus of jobs making shoes, cheap electronics, and toys to developing countries. After that, simple service work, like processing credit-card receipts, and mind-numbing digital toil, like writing software code, began fleeing high-cost countries.

Now, all kinds of knowledge work can be done almost anywhere."

Apparently, to the authors, we are all doing "mind-dumbing digital toil" and are not considered knowledge workers like radiologists and chip designers.

Hm.

Biotech coder
Friday, January 31, 2003

[Our only drawback is our huge taxes.]

I can't understand why people with incomes between $50k and $100k aren't going insane with anger about the US graduated income tax.
If you make well over $100k maybe you can afford to pay a third of it in tax. Under $100k is middle class, not rich, but we are taxed just like the rich. It's demoralizing and outragiously unfair. Why don't the presidential candidates who actually have a chance of winning ever talk about getting rid of the graduated tax?

PC
Saturday, February 01, 2003

"One possibility is that our nation will actually prosper more from these other nations entering into prosperity. Our only drawback is our huge taxes."

Which country are you talking about?  The USA?  Other developed countries, including Canada, Japan and those in Europe, have higher tax rates than the USA.  How would you like to pay 30-40% income tax plus a 15% VAT on everything you buy?

Sure, American taxes are higher than Americans want them to be, and they could be lower if there was less waste in government.  But they aren't "huge" enough to put America at a competitive disadvantage compared to other countries.

T. Norman
Saturday, February 01, 2003

"Why don't the presidential candidates who actually have a chance of winning ever talk about getting rid of the graduated tax?"

Because the majority of the voters fall in the middle and lower tax brackets.

Secondly, many of the rich aren't that opposed to it as you think.  Some of them admit to being thankful to live in a country that enabled them to earn over $100K (as they know they almost certainly wouldn't be making nearly as much in Haiti or China), that they don't have a serious problem paying 1/3 of their income in taxes.  I don't think I'd have much of a problem with it either, if I were making over $100K.

Others don't pay as high a percentage as you think, because they can hire accountants to help them take advantage of numerous deductions or find ways of keeping the money in secret offshore accounts.

T. Norman
Saturday, February 01, 2003

This question keeps coming up with alarming regularity, and it seems we ought to have a forum FAQ so that I could just refer to my previous posts by number.

Let's take Bill's questiona:

>>>>>> Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of how good the "average" Indian engineer is?  Please bear with me; my question is not racially motivated.  If you value worth on several axis:<<<<<<<<<<

Quality of education - education in what, for what, compared to whom and if you left school at 16 and anyway and you're from the USA whose education system is ranked 37th in the world does it matter anyway?

Varied work experience - See comments further down, though on wonders how much varied work experience all the dot commers had straight ou of school - or indeed did any of the names that made Digital, Yahoo, Microsoft, Apple, Hotmail (Indian anyway), Napster and a whole lot more.

Raw intelligence - No evidence on this one, but the fact that I have never seen an Indian ask this kind of stupid quiestion suggests they compare favourably.

Personal integrity - Do you seriously think this has any place in the workplace? And do you think the average British/american programmer has it? If you do yoo're clearly lacking in the attribute immediately above this one.

Willingness to work hard - Look at the salaries alternative jobs pay in India, and this one decides itself.

Ability to communicate - With whom and about what? Pretty hard to talk about an average here though. And do you think that the software companies most people on this forum work are examples of perfect communication.

Domain knowledge - Again see comments below; but it is doubtful how relevant this is for the average engineer on a large software project

Where does our competition stand?<<<<<<<

There are going to be two kinds of IT work that will be outsourced. The first kind is the drudge jobs - OCR'ing all the books in Yale's library (done by Cambodians for $20 a month I believe) and the second kind is large projects for banks and multi-nationals that can be outsourced whole. If you are making a database program for a company with thousands of branches in the States and throughout Europe you're going to be outsourcing it wherever you do it.

What won't be outsourced will be the small jobs that require presence on site, and those jobs that require specific domain knowledge (customizing software for a small chain of local hotels, or the local school district). And these jobs are the ones that are on the increase because they can't be automated. Thirdly there will be the jobs that could be outsourced but won't be because the cost of finding people trustworthy enough will be greater than any savings made by outsourcing.

Anybody who is worried though ought to be honing up on their sys admin skills and take a quick look at VBscript.

The final thing to bear in mind is that the purpose of computing is to get rid of the worker. Any model that worries about the cost of individual engineers is seriously flawed in the long term.

The main problem to expanding in India is in fact the atrocious telephone service and the low proportion of PC ownership, let alone internet connectivity.  We need at least two sys/admins VBA database admin for a new training centre. I can interview in India, and have loads of contacts, but the problem is that they have not had the opportunity to work on the hardware.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, February 01, 2003

Stephen Jones writes:

"Personal integrity - Do you seriously think this has any place in the workplace? And do you think the average British/american programmer has it? If you do yoo're clearly lacking in the attribute immediately above this one."

I, for one, don't delude myself by believing that anybody has personal integrity.  When it comes down to it, we're all very much alone in this universe, and the bottom line is, in the end, we're all out for ourselves.  It's about time that the human race acknowledged this, and rid itself of the fairy stories about altruism and personal integrity. 

Anyway, I notice very disturbing trends in America right now.  My manager was an Indian who started her tenure as manager with five Americans on her staff.  Now, several years later, she has only Indians on her staff with all but one of the Americans being laid off.  She fought very hard to facilitate this.  Does this mean she has no personal integrity?  I think not.  She is acting in a way that is perfectly rational, and reflects a pride she has in her country.

Americans on the other hand will be fired immediately if they show any preference for people born on their own soil.  In fact, an American manager will get a raise and a corner office if he fires a whole lot of Americans and gives their jobs to India.

Anon
Saturday, February 01, 2003

All I can say at the moment is that it feels like very dark times as an American.  The whole IT/overseas issue aside, I feel like we've lost our confidence.  It might be a combination of the last 3 years of bad economic times, the 9/11/2001 event and today's Shuttle mishap.

GiorgioG
Saturday, February 01, 2003

>  Now, several years later, she has only Indians on her staff with all but one of the Americans being laid off. Does this mean she has no personal integrity?  I think not.  She is acting in a way that is perfectly rational, and reflects a pride she has in her country.

Another slant:  She may now be running a much tighter ship with better synergy on her team.  She is acting in a way that best suits her EMPLOYER.  This bodes well for shareholders, who ultimately, own the company. 

Bella
Saturday, February 01, 2003

>>>>> Anyway, I notice very disturbing trends in America right now.  My manager was an Indian who started her tenure as manager with five Americans on her staff.  Now, several years later, she has only Indians on her staff with all but one of the Americans being laid off.  She fought very hard to facilitate this.  Does this mean she has no personal integrity?  I think not.  She is acting in a way that is perfectly rational, and reflects a pride she has in her country.
<<<<<<<<<

Much more likely to stem from insecurity; it is unfortunately all too common for a manager to try and get rid of all those who have been in a company longer than him/her. Another explanation could be the extended contacts that many Indians have.  Do remember that "a few years" is a long time in any field, let alone IT, and it's possible that much of it is simply filling natural wastage with her own contacts.

I work in the Gulf, and you see this behaviour with all nationalities, not just the so-called "South Indian mafia". In fact I would say the British and Americans are among the worst for showiing this kind of behaviour. Maybe it's someithing generic to expats in any culture.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, February 01, 2003

Ok, this is the way I look at it. There are ton of crappy american programmers. There are a few good ones.  Same goes in India.  I'm guessing that indian programmers who come over here have to be at least average, most likely better then average.  Meaning, we probably don't see the bad ones.  Another thing to consider is, some of the workers from India that sit by me at my company have told me its much more laid back in america.  They explained how they worked much tougher hours in india for much less pay.  Are indian progammers smart? I don't think race has anything to do with it.  Do they work harder? Thats certainly a possibility.

Vincent Marquez
Saturday, February 01, 2003

Mr. Jones should note that I was ASKING a question, not attempting to answer one.

As has been countlessly enumerated on this forum, there are many factors that make one a "productive engineer".  Many of these come from intrinsic technical insight and problem solving ability.  Others come from years of work experience.

I am biased neither for or against Indian engineers.  My question, repeated in its condensed form is: "What is the relative productivity of the average Indian development effort vs. the average American development effort?".

The title of this thread is "fear" and we need to understand our competition in order to know if fear is warrented.  Does anyone have specific personal experience with Indian development efforts?

Bill Carlson
Saturday, February 01, 2003

[The final thing to bear in mind is that the purpose of computing is to get rid of the worker.]

[Well said.  It's refreshing to know that there are still unbiased thinkers  left out there.]

The purpose of computing is NOT to get rid of the worker. The purpose is to make things possible that were not possible before.

What do you mean by the "worker" anyway? Isn't a worker anyone who accomplishes anything? How can you get rid of that? Why would you want to?

If by "worker" you mean people who do repetitive work that could be automated, maybe that should be gotten rid of. I'm not sure. But you have to stop and think about what the goals of our society are. Are we trying to create a world where no one has to go anywhere or do anything? That would be stupid and pointless.

PC
Saturday, February 01, 2003

>>>>>>>>"What is the relative productivity of the average Indian development effort vs. the average American development effort?".<<<<<<

Bill,
        Here you have got it right. The point is that the question about the "average" programmer is the wrong question. A customer does not buy a good or bac programmer, he buys a good or bad product. or service, and in software development the relationship between the quality of the average programmer and that of the company's product or service is often tenous at best.

              Another point to bear in mind is that the reliability of American or European devellopment efforts has historically often been so horrendous that it is doubtful if the Indians would ever be given sufficient money to make a comparision.

As for fearing articles buy second rate journalists too idle to question the cliches about the knowledge worker boom in the Third World, well, some people are afraid of anything.

Stephen Jones
Saturday, February 01, 2003

>>>>>>>>>>The purpose of computing is NOT to get rid of the worker. The purpose is to make things possible that were not possible before.<<<<<<<<<

Try selling that to the CFO.

"Our software devellopment strategy, for which you are paying millions of dollars, won't actually allow you to recoup a penny in productivity. , but it will allow you to do completely different things you hadn't thought of and which therefore will have nothing to do with what your business actually does."

Stephen Jones
Saturday, February 01, 2003

The company that I work for has begun outsourcing projects to a team of Russian programmers.  These guys charge peanuts compared to what my fellow developers are doing (we earn low 100K's).

The Russian code, however is far superior than any of my fellow developers, and much better than a lot of the places I have worked at before.

Might just be one in a million, but you CAN get high quality, VERY cheap software development done internationally/remotely.

Sure makes me worried about my job, but that's life isn't it. The only thing you can do is adapt, learn and deal with it.

cheapo
Saturday, February 01, 2003

This whole offshore outsourcing thing should be seen as just another of the brilliant management initiatives we've seen over the '90's, like Y2K, energy deregulation and lax accounting.

Eventually the problems will surface, and then there will be a demand for trouble shooters.

Seen it all
Saturday, February 01, 2003

OK, before this completely turns into the same old thread we see, what do you guys think about Good Old Yankee Ingenuity? So the Indians are more efficient and pleasant and invented the decimal system. So the Chinese have higher IQs. So the Germans make better cars and their trains run on time. Ok. But we invented the airplane and the transistor, landed on the moon, and have just done an amazing number of great and impossible things. Sure, we had to grab the best and the brightest from the rest of the world sometimes, but those folks did their best work once they got to America! We're the best aren't we at innovation? And creativity too! Frank Lloyd Wright. Steven Spielberg. George Lucas' ILM. Terminator I-III. Nathaniel Hawthorne. Herman Melville. Heck, even the Beatles didn't do their best work until after they visited America and got inspired by all our good looking women whom they rapidly started marrying! :) We're also the nicest folks, providing 60% of all humanitarian food aid in the entire world and providing free defense services for just about any one who asks for it.

Rah rah America! The world will miss us dearly when we're gone.

Ed the Millwright
Saturday, February 01, 2003

Reccomended reading: Snow Crash. Though I wonder how it would read today, it sounded like about 5 years in the future when it was written, and it's been ten years. But this quote popped up recently somewhere about the future of America. The result is "the Invisible Hand has taken all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani bricklayer would consider to be prosperity".

mb
Sunday, February 02, 2003

>>>>>>>>>>>"the Invisible Hand has taken all those historical inequities and smeared them out into a broad global layer of what a Pakistani bricklayer would consider to be prosperity". <<<<<<<<<<<

In fact global inequalities are ever increasing. The difference between the poorest and richest nations at the end of the 18th century was in the region of 3:1 The industrial revolution increased this to about 5:1 by the end of the nineteenth century. At present the difference is in the region of 50:1 and increasing upwards. There has been a drastic increase since the 1960's that shows no sign of letting of.

The increase in inequalities within nations is a more recent phenomenum. It varies from country to country but in the US the gap has been widening since the end of the 60's. A large proportion (possibly even half) of the US population is earning less in real terms than it was in 1970.

Stephen Jones
Sunday, February 02, 2003

> My question, repeated in its condensed form is: "What is the relative productivity of the average Indian development effort vs. the average American development effort?"

If the developers are "Corporate slaves" then I imagine the quality would be about the same but the Indian would be much cheaper. If the developers are working for themselves then I think the quality of the American's product would be higher.

I believe the quality of code is determined by three factors :  raw intelligence, knowledge and motivation. I would say motivation is the most important factor. From my experience I don't think the average Indian programmer is less or more intelligent than the average American or UK programmer. The Indian programmer would have the edge in terms of knowledge. He would have read the same computer science books as the American programmer, but the Indian would have paid more attention in the Maths class. The Indian's weaker knowledge of how businesses work in the States would reduce his score a bit. When we come to motivation the American would be ahead of the Indian. Most Indian's do not choose their careers themselves - they are pushed into medicine, accountancy and computing by their parents. ( Don't tell me this is a racist generalisation I have met too many Indians who have told me this.) The more motivated American would think harder and longer about the code and he would be more likely to be the kind of person who codes for fun as well as work.

>"My manager was an Indian who started her tenure as manager with five Americans on her staff. Now, several years later, she has only Indians on her staff with all but one of the Americans being laid off. She fought very hard to facilitate this. "

Cronyism is quite common in the consultancy world. It does happen quite a lot with Indians in the UK, but I would not condemn it. The Indians are so much cheaper the business will get better value for money.

In regard to Bill's question about the personal integrity of Indians  I would like to repeat the answer a retired international businessman gave me when I asked who were the most trustworthy people he had dealt with in his long career traveling around the world. He said the most trustworthy were the Indians and the least trustworthy were the Swedes.

Taffy
Sunday, February 02, 2003

>>>>>>>>He said the most trustworthy were the Indians <<<<<<<<<

i'll bet you he wasn't talking about businessmen though!

Stephen Jones
Sunday, February 02, 2003

Ed> So the Chinese have higher IQs

It's probably off-topic, but I'm just curious - was is just a joke, or there is some scientific evidence of this?

raindog
Sunday, February 02, 2003

No joke, but it is separate from the issue of whether IQ means anything. The dumb people say no. :)

Lots of research has been done on this issue and there was a book 'the wealth of nations', I believe, that showed a strong correlation, absent factors like communism, between national wealth and average IQ.

Normalize the US to 100 and asian countries seem to be at 107:

http://members.shaw.ca/delajara/NationalIQs.html

Again, these measurements have been gone over and over in studies and are repeatable. The isseue of whether it matters is a separate one, although the experimental data makes a strong showing for the case that it does make a difference. The thing sometimes ovelooked is that the benefit of high IQ is to the society overall at least as much to the smart individuals. In other words, folks who disparage IQ because smart people don't always choose to make lots of money or become famous miss the point that lots of smart people tend (absent factors like corruption and tyranny) to benefit any organization, whether a company, a university, or a nation.

Ed the Millwright
Sunday, February 02, 2003

2cheapo
>>The company that I work for has begun outsourcing projects to a team of Russian programmers. ..

The Russian code, however is far superior than any of my fellow developers, and much better than a lot of the places I have worked at before.

Might just be one in a million<<

No, not one in a million, might be typical Russian code. There are some historical reasons for it. Today I wrote an e-mail to an American that wants to establish partnership to use Russian developers.
That`s a part of this mail with a very brief and Americanized explanation of a fact that Russians create good code:
"Historical reasons for Russian programmers to be that good: As you might know, in end-1950s computer industry started to grow fast, due to a high demand for calculations and automation in business and military areas. But in Soviet Union Communists' government seemed to ignore this process, taking computers as another "capitalists' toy". They were terribly wrong.
In 1960s it became evident that USSR lags behind USA in computer hardware, American computers were simply faster then Soviet ones. It was too late for Soviet Union to cover the gap in hardware performance, we had no Intel, Motorola, DEC and IBM here. This situation became dangerous for Soviet military system, they needed computer-guided weapons, computerized planes and submarines to compete with US.
The situation with labour costs and hardware costs in USSR was quite contrary to the one that US had: labour was cheap (everyone was paid low) while hardware was expensive. So Soviets opted for world's best programmers to cover the gap created by world's best hardware made in USA. Communists invested a lot of money in math research centers, in math education system and in programmers that had to create fastest algorithms ever possible, thus enabling Soviets to keep their weapons on par with American ones.
Today we have no weapons race, our countries aren`t enemies anymore and we can buy American hardware for Russian oil, but we still have our math education and math research school, a scientific background for a new generations of programmers."

May be "education" and "investments in programmers" is an answer to all this "Fear" topic?

Slava
Monday, February 03, 2003

Well, I'm nervous about it too.

The way I see it, there is no (capitalistic) reason not to move teh work offshore. It's cheaper, which pleases the customer and the shareholder. So why not?

I console myself with the observations I had about a project in the organization where I worked. I was not on the project, but I did some of the documentation for it. The system development was almost entirely outsourced to a consulting company in India. Holy smoke, that system had the worst documentation and error messages I have ever seen. Crappy English grammar, sometimes unintelligible messages, etc. Additionally, they didn't always understand the specs (written in English by the organization), so the system didn't entirely meets its specifications.

Smugly I think, "hah, only an American can built a successful and usable system for Americans to use!"

Bullcookies. It is only a matter of time until the offshore companies get their act together.  I'm sure the first offshore-produced Nikes weren't so good, either.

My socially conscious side says this is great! Raise the standard of living for the world!  Let us all share in the wealth!!

My selfish side fears losing the comfy living standard I already have.

I think it's going to happen.

Lauren B.
Monday, February 03, 2003

As I said before...education is a key - if you (your country) will be more educated ->more knowledge ->higher human capital ->higher standard of living.
Invest a little time in yourself, learn something new. It doesn`t guarantee that you`ll get a job, but it will increase the probability.
I`m going to learn Spanish, I`ve almost finished learning touch-typing, and when I finish with Spanish, I`ll try to revive my French:), and I keep myself reading and learning something new -not for my company or my boss, but for myself, to become more valuable.
Don`t give up:)

Slava
Monday, February 03, 2003

>>>>>"hah, only an American can built a successful and usable system for Americans to use!" <<<<<<

Strange then how Hotmail, designed by an Indian, worked fine until it was taken over by an American.

Stephen Jones
Monday, February 03, 2003

globalism is driven by communication technology, not management decisions.  Management is following it, not leading it.

We live on a globe, I embrace the challenge of 'dealing with it'

fool for python
Monday, February 03, 2003

As an incurable optimist, I think the United States will probably continue to develop new technology that will create tons of new jobs for the  people in our country. A great many out of work programmers become entrepreneurs and it turns into a good thing that they lost their jobs because they end up employing more people. Is the glass half-full or half-empty. You choose your perspective. We are not mindless amoebas being forced around on a spoon. We are human beings reaching for the stars. The market is not a god that leads us around by the nose.

WNC
Monday, February 03, 2003

If you believe you are powerless to effect your destiny you have my pity. It is powerlessness to believe you are at the mercy of a “job market” or a government or a trend. Powerlessness never gets people out of troubled times.

WNC
Monday, February 03, 2003

"Strange then how Hotmail, designed by an Indian, worked fine until it was taken over by an American. "

Not many ppl had heard abt hotmail before microsoft bought it.

Frontpage sold 239 copies (If i remember Charles's book correctly) before Microsoft bought it.

Microsoft does a good job of promoting their software.

Prakash S
Monday, February 03, 2003

Hotmail was the first and most popular webmail system at the time Microsoft purchased it.

9.5 Million users at the time of purchase is hardly "not many ppl".

cheapo
Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Not in the mood to do my internet-standard "Economics Lecture" which I do approximately every time I get the chance, usually (but I have an English paper to write :( ).

But just add this to your thinking: having lower-priced goods is the same as having a higher income. It's all about purchasing power.

Income doesn't matter on it's own, which explains why people are materially better off now as compared to the 1970s, but only relative to the cost AND quality of goods that they buy.


The only question is whether or not America as a whole will be made better off by free trade - it's already certain that the world as a whole will be made better off. The answer is: only if entities are providing superior value to their customers (if you are an employee your customer is your employer).

If they are not then they have no right to be paid. There is no divine right to be paid because of who you are or where you live.

Protectionism has always, always, ALWAYS hurt people on the whole, and especially in the long run. Yes, some individuals do get run over in the process. Ok, they get more than run over - it can be a whole lot messier.

Globalization is disruptive - so it technology. Disruption itself seems to me to actually be very valuable - it stirs things up, and it forces people to re-examine things they otherwise never would have, and so often that means Innovation - that's good, at least for those who don't get trampled.

Pretending the government doesn't exist to get in the way, eventually some people will have to change careers (according to one statistic I heard from the US Labor Whatever, most people change careers 2-3 times in their life time anyway). Other people will have to move to keep their jobs - possibly out of the country, yes. Others will keep their careers but will have to switch jobs, and some of those people will get better jobs, and some of those people will get not-as-good jobs. Yet other people will see no change.

For those of us not in the sectors affected, we're likely to be better off because goods are cheaper. Yay!

The only question is whether is winners - those made better off - should have to right checks out to the losers - those made worse off - by change. In other words, should government impose a tax on software, the proceeds of such to be used to pay those ill-effected?

I don't mind taxes for providing education and retraining and living expenses in the mean time for those who are put out of work by changes in the economy, if they are actually used FOR THAT PURPOSE, of course. In the real world they end up being a total waste of money for many reasons...but that's neither here nor there.

Government should not be permitted to get in the way of competition, including global competition. The only question is how and to what extent the government should deal with the aftermath.

Brian Hall
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Well said Brian.

Prakash S
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

>>>>Protectionism has always, always, ALWAYS hurt people on the whole, and especially in the long run<<<<<<<

Protectionism always hurts in the long run, but for developing countries it can be highly beneficial (Germany in the 1890's or Spain in the !960's and 1970's).

One thing is clear; the US has gained more from globalization than nearly any other economy (Japan probably being the exception).

Stephen Jones
Wednesday, February 05, 2003

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