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Time to pakc your bags for India

Just to carry on one of the most popular topics of this board (. . . ), an interesting article on IT people moving to India. Particularly the comment at the bottom by Ms Fiorina which I tend to agree with.

-> http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3083817.stm

Yanwoo
Friday, July 25, 2003

Why do many programmers in the US think that "development moves to India, so let's all move to India"?

Development moves to India because the developers in India work for very low salaries.

They work for low salaries because they are used to a much lower quality of their lifestyle.

For example, in the country in Eastern Europe, where I live, most GOOD programmers work for about 2-3 years to afford the cheapest car available, which costs about 6000 US $.

So.. development moves here because we work cheap, because we are a lot poorer than the programmers in US.

Do you really want to work for 2-3 years and barely afford to have the money for a car?

So.. I think for the programmers in the US, moving to India or Eastern Europe is not an option.

They will probably be SHOCKED by the poor life style.

John K.
Friday, July 25, 2003

I think you're right, it does sound a bit crazy.

But is it not the case in India that the pay is relatively good so you can live like a king in India despite actually getting much lower wages than you would in the West?

Yanwoo
Friday, July 25, 2003

What's the point of 'living like a king' if your Kingdom isn't up to much?

And whilst real estate can be cheap, servants are cheap, and food is reasonably priced (and much more to the point very good) consumer goods are expensive in cash terms and not very good, and the roads are awful.

If you can manage to get your company to relocate you with your American salary, then you may be in clover, though people either like India or hate it.

And of course if anybody wants to open up shop in Sri Lanka, they know who to contact :)

Stephen Jones
Friday, July 25, 2003

>"What's the point of 'living like a king' if your Kingdom isn't up to much?"

What's the point of being in a big fancy kingdom if you've become a struggling peasant?

T. Norman
Friday, July 25, 2003

> But is it not the case in India that the pay is
> relatively good so you can live like a king in
> India despite actually getting much lower
> wages than you would in the West?

You still don't get it.

Yes, I'm a programmer in East Europe, and I live like a king. I have a lot more money than most people around here.

But I live like a king by MY standards (I am born and raised in Eastern Europe), not by YOUR standars (assuming that you are born in US, Canada, Germany, Western Europe).

There are MANY things you take for granted, that would not be available to you if you lived in Eastern Europe.

If you come to East Europe or India, you will discover that there are lots of small stressors, which will not be so small to you.

A few examples:

- the hot water is usually off for a month every summer, and people arround you consider this normal

- you have asshole neighbours, who watch everything that you do, and look at you with hate because you have money and a nice car, and they don't

- you leave your car in the parking lot, and discover somebody kicked and broken your headlights, or simply jumped on it (this happened only once, and it angered me as hell...)

- many sellers and public servants behave rude to you, because they don't give a shit whether you buy from them or not

- lots of beurocracy, which you have to bribe in order to get things done

- and many, many other things

Come for a month or two to India or East Europe, and you'll see what I mean.

It is NOT a nice place to live in.

John K.
Friday, July 25, 2003

It's a moot point really, Americans will not pack their bags to go work elsewhere.  Our factory workers certainly didn't.  This country's turning into one huge shithole.  I'm not sure that the rich "get it" either.  They're only rich because our currency has a decent rate of exchange.  Someday as a result of buying most of our goods & services from the world instead of domestically - our currency will become greatly devalued and the rich won't be quite so rich anymore.  Yes, we'll be able to export more because we'll have become cheap - but who'll be left to offer these services & manufacture these goods?  Our standard of living is going to tank.  Good stuff. 

GiorgioG
Friday, July 25, 2003

Americans aren't going to pack their bags and go to India anytime soon, but Indians are starting to leave their US jobs to go back to India (which was the point of the article).

NoName
Friday, July 25, 2003

> Someday as a result of buying most of our goods & services from the world instead of domestically - our currency will become greatly devalued[..]

Importing from certain countries (like India) is a lot cheaper, so the american standard of living would remain high, given that the american industry has real value.

Also, if americans DON'T import from other countries, what good will a good exchange rate do?

My point is, don't claim that import lowers the standard of living, it isn't true.

dragon
Friday, July 25, 2003

[Importing from certain countries (like India) is a lot cheaper, so the american standard of living would remain high, given that the american industry has real value.]

That's assuming those americans whose positions were displaced are able to find equivalent paying jobs.  If my father was layed off from the GM plant - he would certainly have no way of finding another job for $20/hr.  You might want to find out what the 750,000 ex-GM factory workers are doing today.  Your counter-argument is pretty weak. 

GiorgioG
Friday, July 25, 2003

Although I don't agree with Giorgi's assertion that America is becoming a "shithole", I tend to believe that America's standard of living could be taking a hit in the future.

The Internet has brought us email, video conferencing and all kinds of ways to quickly and easily communicate over the entire world. As we've seen, it's just too easy to move jobs overseas where it's cheaper.

I believe America will adapt, but I have a hard time seeing how we can attain our standard of living while losing more and more jobs overseas.

I don't buy into the doom and gloom scenarios; I believe Americans are amazingly creative and resilient and will adapt. However, I think we will have some hard times ahead of us.

Mark Hoffman
Friday, July 25, 2003

[I don't buy into the doom and gloom scenarios; I believe Americans are amazingly creative and resilient and will adapt. However, I think we will have some hard times ahead of us.]

It takes alot more than creativity & resilience to keep up in my opinion.  Disclaimer: I'm american, I love america, etc.  But there is nothing distinct about us as a people that makes us more resilient and creative as the next country/culture.  What we have is a crapload of economic power.  I see that going away (in the next 50 years) as the rich businessmen pursue stronger, growing markets such as China & India. 

As we continue to dole out more of our cash for imported goods than the cash we get from exporting.  We've been bleeding in this respect for a long time in the manufacturing sector.  But "that's ok because we're in a service economy now."  Well, now that we're moving our services outside of our country, what is it exactly that will be our core competancy from an economic standpoint?  Research & Development? We already know those jobs are on their way out as well... 

I get the feeling that what is happening is that the global economy is going to level out the standard of living for most of the globe in the next 100 years.  Unfortunately americans have alot to lose in that respect.

GiorgioG
Friday, July 25, 2003

I'm not assuming anything with regards to specific american workers.

Americans working in a given industry only need to worry about foreign competition, if that competition is capable of providing goods and services more appealing to customers to such a great degree that providing these domestically isn't economically feasible. This is true for certain industries, and has negative effects for those who work in those industries.

My point is that whenever this is TRUE, it INCREASES the standard of living for the customers in question, by providing them with better and cheaper goods/services.

Also, as import from a recently industrialized country like India becomes more commonplace, that country will see a rise in the standard of living (though often unbalanced at first) and a raise in wages. This, together with the effects on the indian rupee from the massive export of services from india, will even out the prices, making it feasible to provide the goods and services domestically in america.
When this happens, the one that produces the best results win. Thats the way capitalism works, by rewarding skill and not rewarding unability to adapt. (I could rant on for ages, but i believe i've made my point :p )

Also, I would like to say that I agree with mr Mark Hoffman when he believes "Americans are amazingly creative and resilient and will adapt". Even in the software industry ;)

dragon
Friday, July 25, 2003

[What we have is a crapload of economic power]
And business experience, intellectual capital (only 52% of Indians over 15 years of age can read and write), and a somewhat stable frame for economic growth.

dragon
Friday, July 25, 2003

Good point dragon, though as far as literacy goes it's worth noting that 52% of India is more than 2x the entire population of the U.S... :-)

John C.
Friday, July 25, 2003

52% of 800 million people is still quite a bit more than the population of the USA.  (~330 million of India's population is under 15 according to census.gov)

Business experience?  Hmm.  I'd buy that as an advantage if businesses didn't exist all over the world.

Our 'stable framework for economic growth' requires a major shift in the type of work we do every 50-70 years?  30 years ago you could go work for a car or electronics manufacturer.  Then we moved into services... IT, finance, accounting, etc.  Now you can farm that work out to India.  What's next?  I just don't see our economic bleeding ending anytime soon without a major shift in Business's thinking. 

GiorgioG
Friday, July 25, 2003

I agree with the general sentiment - I don't think we should be that worried.

The negs (negative doom and gloom people) make some fundamental errors in their argument:

1) they take a fatalistic attitude which suggests that the future is inevitable and there is no way for us to survive this
2) that although outsourcing will continue at a rapid rate in time, America will stand absolutly still while this happens.

Both wrong. The future is unwritten and we can can face this down, and things will change as has happened many times in the past.

Yanwoo
Friday, July 25, 2003

>>You still don't get it.

I do now! Thanks for the insight.

Yanwoo
Friday, July 25, 2003

John K.

appart form the hot water, things aren't all that different in some other countries you refer to.

Just me (Sir to you)
Friday, July 25, 2003

Hi,

What about view from an Indian??? :)

I am currently working for Top IT Company for India for last 1 and half year.

<rant start>
What they pay me is a shit salary, basically because they do Tax Deduction at Source. (fu*king nonsense it is!)

Even after a not so good salary, I make a decent living (according to Indian standards.) It's NO WHERE NEAR to what lifestyel ppl in US have. Believe me!

You see, currently I am having two wheeler (for which I am paying loan), I can't even dream to buy a car before say 2 years from now.

You have lots of competition, NOT because you are not competent enough BUT the kind of 'Services' work Indian IT companies do, it doesn't require anything more than knowing say bit of VB and Oracle. So going up in company is bit of pain.

All the above applies to ppl who have zero or around 1 year experience.

</rant end>


BUT,
It you have more than 3 years of experience, boy you are in good seat! You can really have great life! You can work in US for H1B, earn dollars, which translates to LOTS OF RUPEES in India and you can live like a millionaire even though you are an salaried employee!

And yeah, if you have experience working in US, there would be nothing like joining Top Indian IT company, they treat you like 'GOD'!

Regards,
JD

JD
Friday, July 25, 2003

"- many sellers and public servants behave rude to you, because they don't give a shit whether you buy from them or not"

I can vouch for the fact that this, at least, is the same in New York City.

Jim Rankin
Friday, July 25, 2003

"You can work in US for H1B, earn dollars, which translates to LOTS OF RUPEES in India and you can live like a millionaire even though you are an salaried employee!"

One more reason to dismantle H1B.  This could be a HUGE issue for any Presidential candidate wants to grab it and run with it.  Democrats could get a lot more mileage out of this than the debate over Iraq.

Jim Rankin
Friday, July 25, 2003

Quick question- have any of you who say "we can move to India and live like kings" been to India?

Because, although it is a beautiful and friendly country in many places, in my experience, you couldn't pay me a million bucks to go live in the cities where the software jobs are available.

The heat, dirt, pollution, smells, crowding, poverty, sickness and general stifling of life in those cities is not worth any job nor reason to envy them winning a few IT jobs exported from the States or elsewhere.

Just food for thought

Matt
Friday, July 25, 2003

I second Matt's observation. I've been there and would never live there regardless of how much local money I made.

And, it's not just software but all kinds of 'white-collar' jobs moving. Oracle recently moved most of their corporate accounting to India.

fool for python
Friday, July 25, 2003

I just don't buy the doom and gloom.  It just isn't backed up by any historical precedence.

Yes, people who lose their jobs due to technology and/or overseas competition can have problems.  But that doesn't mean the US economy as a whole suffers.  In fact it is generally better off for these advancements.  Less than 3% of the workforce in the US now provides food for the entire country (with substantial surplus).  Less than 200 years ago, agriculture accounted for 85% of the workforce in the country.  Is the US economy worse off because all those farmers lost their jobs?  I don't think so.  In the 80s we all thought cheap Japanese goods were going to ruin the US economy.  What happened?  Japan went into a 15 year depression, and the US had a decade long expansion that was the largest peacetime economic expansion in our country's history.

Will some people suffer as jobs go overseas or are replaced by technology?  Probably.  Does this mean the US economy will fail?  I seriously doubt it.

Our entire economic history is made up of labor shifts from one sector to another.  Yes, some people are unable to make those adaptations and suffer in the transition.  But the economy as a whole progresses.  Why so many people seem to think this will be different is beyond me (probably just because we are in a recession).

I don't deny that this trend of outsourcing to India is a worry to certain sectors (namely IT workers and phone support).  That doesn't justify all the talk about the US economy failing, especially since those two sectors are really a pretty small portion of the US workforce

Mike McNertney
Friday, July 25, 2003

I think there will be a leveling of global standard of living over the next 100 years. This is inevitable and no amount of protectionism or isolationism can stop it. Multi-national corporations live above the law of any single nation. If you currently live below the average standard of living, then this will be good news for you. If you live in the USA, then this may be very bad news for you.

People in India are already feeling the same pinch because projects that used to be outsourced to India are slowly being moved to even cheaper countries like China.

runtime
Friday, July 25, 2003

Some gossip: a half of workers in IBM are from India, and rest are from West Europe.  :)
Guy we are the best!

I think everybody wants to live in native place with friends and relatives, and sure with hot water(there is the same problem), and have a good money for good work.

I think every place in the world is the beautifull for people, whom live there.

who will arrive from his family?

Valentin Semak
Friday, July 25, 2003

> Particularly the comment at the bottom by Ms Fiorina which I tend to agree with ( she says it's not the most intelligent who survive, but the most adaptable.)

Yep. The adaptable recognise where the attacks are coming from, and fight back. Fiorina is being paid tens of millions of dollars to take money from American workers.


Friday, July 25, 2003

"I don't deny that this trend of outsourcing to India is a worry to certain sectors (namely IT workers and phone support)."
--Mike McNertney

It's a pretty tough thing to make a grand statement with such little information to back it up. It's a comforting thought that we will just bounce back. Unfortunately, there is NOTHING being said or written right now that gives the thinking person anything to hope for. It's quite possible that people have always felt hopeless before a large economic shift, but it's really hard to feel confident right now when out standard of living is being eaten away while our leaders are in the pockets of those doing it.

High-tech engineering jobs are being outsourced to Asia as I'm typing this. It's not just rinky-dink support personnel, it's CMMI Level 5 (hah) engineers over there who are killing every type of engineering company here by charging cut rate prices for equivalent output (hah again). To further this problematic trend, we're using software in ATMs, kiosks, etc. to replace more and more workers. Thus, we're losing jobs at both ends of the spectrum in increasingly large numbers.

I wish there were something positive to focus on, but what the heck is there if engineering and accounting jobs are being outsourced just as much as textile makers.

StickyWicket
Friday, July 25, 2003

Maybe the next big thing will be capitalizing overseas interests?  Fund their activities and make a nice return?  Has a lot of advantages...

anon
Friday, July 25, 2003

Voodoo economics, writ large. 

It never ceases to amaze me how a hundred and fifty years of industrialization and globalization have produced the most majestic standards of living known throughout history, and yet suddenly this particular instance of it has doomed us all to serfdom.

Basically, this viewpoint that "white collar jobs are leaving" is tantamount to saying:  "I expect jobs to be provided to me."  That is, at bottom, not the point of a civilized or modern economy.  Actually, it's really feudalism.

White collar jobs aren't going anywhere.  They just aren't white-collar anymore.  At what point were certain jobs beknighted for prestige and high salaries?

Giorgio wonders what differentiates America.  Well, that's easy:  in virtually no other part of the world does business come first.  We have the freest enterprise, hands down.  It is not perfectly free, but it far surpasses socialist Europe and India, and repressive China, and it likely will for decades.

And in America, I think there's the tacit realization that a job earns its white collar, not that people earn white-collar jobs.

We innovate, and produce pools of high demand.  Then we send those overseas, and innovate some more.  The rest of the world, which hinders its enterprise with bureaucracy, cannot compete.

China has the largest population on Earth.  Why didn't they found Intel? 

c++_conventioner
Friday, July 25, 2003

"I just don't buy the doom and gloom.  It just isn't backed up by any historical precedence."

China, Egypt, Rome, Spain, Portugal, England...

history buff
Saturday, July 26, 2003

c++_conventioneer, you are so naive. It is a standard part of big business management to work out ways to reduce labour costs.

Ever wondered why they dish out cheap awards and stuff, while only accepting large cash bonuses themselves?


Saturday, July 26, 2003

Tom Peter's wrote a book about this sometime back - exploring similar scenario........

Prakash S
Saturday, July 26, 2003

c++_conventioner, you may have the freest enterprise, but what do you mean by 'socialist Europe' ? The USSR no longer exists, as far as I know.

GP
Saturday, July 26, 2003

"We innovate, and produce pools of high demand."

That's been all well and good up until now. You can't look back on our successful history and say that we will always be fine, but if you look a little further back, you will find proof of the opposite case as well. Haven't you noticed that technology and its application has been increasing geometrically? It used to take 25+ years for important innovation to make it to the average consumer. Now we can make discoveries in months and applications in a couple of years. Moore's Law alone helps this along. Look at Wi-Fi's history. Etc., etc.

We will be at a point in 50 years where the fate of the world will rest in the hands of an invidual if this progress isn't checked. By that time, we will also find ourselves completely surrounded by machines and computers that conduct 90+% of our daily business. Can you even imagine what this will do to the labor pool? Can you think of the impact of a terrorist attack against this pervasive technology? Our country's and the world's economy could be devastated to the point where we can't even imagine the situation. Can you think of 40% unemployment? I can't.

There are certainly ways that we can innovate ourselves out of this mess. Unfortunately, that will take excellent leadership, a strong national focus on education, and a focus on ethics (not morals). Does anyone think we are going in this direction at all? I certainly see no signs of it. America is going to be caught in a classic squeeze play. The Chinas and the Indias of the world (I guess they have no other peers :-) will make up for their inefficiencies in volume, effectively replacing our bottom 50% workers with cheap systems and software and, in many cases, actual people.

What on Earth can we do to "innovate" around this problem? Is the largest free market country in the world suddenly going to forefgo profit in trade for future safety and social compatibility? Don't bet on it. Our government and big business have already undermined almost every aspect of our privacy and, in many cases, freedom. Practically anyone with the will to do so can find out practically anything I've done in the past year. They can see what I bought at the grocery store, what movies I ordered, what calls I made, etc. All of this has been sacrificed for efficiency. When we find out in 50 years what REALLY has been sacrificed, I will probably not be around to see it.

StickyWicket
Monday, July 28, 2003

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