28 March 2004

Just that they work for less

Ruben Navarrette Jr., reading from the corporatists and globalists script verbatim, contends that outsourcing of computer programmer jobs not just that they work for less. He bemoans a college student interviewed on Lou Dobbs, who has decided to switch careers and pursue a path to become a lawyer.

Well, Mr. Navarrette, your writings are replete with myopia.

First off, it is indeed all about how they work for less. Your remarks about how Americans should lower their asking price is completely off the mark. In order for us to do so, we'd have to accept a wage level that is far below the poverty line and at this point in time, less than what minimum wage would offer. At a ratio of at least ten to one in compensation, there's no conceivable way I could compete with an Indian computer programmer - I'd have to be independently wealthy by route of other means just to practice my craft. Which, given my love of tinkering on computing machines, I would gladly do, if this were the case. Speaking from first hand experience, I will flat out say that it's solely about cheaper labor, and has nothing to do with working harder or studying more as you suggest in your column.

Next, you totally miss the tacit rationale of the young man selecting the legal profession over a computer occupation. While you dawdle about competition and so called protectionism, you neglect the simple fact that some industry professions are indeed protected, either by government edict or via labor associations and organizations themselves. The American Bar Association is one such entity, and they have plenty of input on the matters of sources and qualifications for prospective lawyers. Also, consider the lavish subsidies furnished to agribusiness or the immense sums provided to defense contractors. You write as if the U.S. exists in a theoretical sphere where all financial transactions are a flow of unbridled economic activity. Nothing could be further than the truth.

And you, as well as others that have excitedly championed attacking "bad protectionist" critics of outsourcing, altogether disregard the security implications of such wholesale migration of computer systems to third world locales. Your social security number, credit card account numbers, medical data and other data that many Americans should remain private information is now easily accessible in foreign lands where American law is not respected, and corruption can regularly prevail over ethical interests. Basically, somebody making a $8 a day is intrusted with keeping sensitive data protected in a realm where bribery can be the standard modus operandi in just about any legal or financial transaction. Not that here in America are we absolutely at no risk from such shenanigans either, but we do know for certain that such transgressions are governed within our legal domain.

I am dismayed that you've decided to become a cheerleader for the onset of a new feudalism, instead of seeking a solution to a phenomenon that is going to be a disruptive source, and already is threatening to ravish the ranks of our middle class. But I'm more disheartened that you've chosen to spew falsehood and omit relevant pieces of the debate.

Don't urinate on my carpet and then try to tell me I have a hole in my roof.


No comments yet

Add Comment

This item is closed, it's not possible to add new comments to it or to vote on it