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The Full Outsourcing Discussion

Hemos posted more than 10 years ago | from the ultimately-it's-better-for-everyone dept.

Businesses 1097

GileadGreene writes "Thomas Friedman of the New York Times recently did an interesting Op-Ed piece about the "silver lining of overseas outsourcing": the growth that it generates in the US job market as Indian companies outsource work that US workers are better at. Apparently total exports from US companies to India have grown from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $4.1 billion in 2002 as well. So maybe this outsourcing thing isn't so bad after all." Ultimately, free trade works out well; I think one of the issues is that white collar jobs are just beginning to feel the pinch, and are acting like manufacturers did in the 1970s and 1980s.

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1097 comments

Free Trade helps megacorps (5, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429437)


Hemos adds: Ultimately, free trade works out well

then I read this in the article:

"look around this office." All the computers are from Compaq. The basic software is from Microsoft. The phones are from Lucent. The air-conditioning is by Carrier, and even the bottled water is by Coke, because when it comes to drinking water in India, people want a trusted brand. On top of all this, Nagarajan said, 90 percent of the shares in 24/7 are owned by U.S. investors.

OK, so that's how Free Trade works out well: domestic workers are put out of jobs but the big multinationals reap the benefits. Where are the phones from Lucent and the the Carrier air conditioners manufacturered? Where does Coke bottle the water? They don't ship it over from the US. They probably have a filtering and bottling plant down the street.

The 90% of the shares owned by US investors aren't owned by your next door neighbours, they're owned by multimillionaire investment traders. They don't give a shit about the people making them the money, they're just cogs in their money-machine.

Saying Free Trade works out well because faceless corporation make billions is just plain wrong.

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429495)

Not to mention HP/Compaq is a major proponent of outsourcing and has been bleeding jobs to India heavily recently.

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (5, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429546)


Also note how the fellow mentions that people want a good brand when buying water: The people don't care about the bottle, just who bottles it.

A good book on branding BS and the marketting that goes with it is No Logo (Naomi Klein) [amazon.ca]. A decent read.

"No Logo" not a good book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429571)

"No Logo" is not a good book. It is a typical far-left screed that argues that only government elites should be able to make economic decisions, and argues passionately against letting the people themselves run their own lives. It is typical "the people can't be trusted: let the government take over"

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429535)

>The 90% of the shares owned by US investors aren't
>owned by your next door neighbours, they're owned
>by multimillionaire investment traders.

Wrong! Most of the shares are owned by individuals through:
1. pension funds
2. 401k plans
3. mutual funds

Institutional investors, such as those university endowments, own a much much smaller amount of stock than you think.

Most stock owners are way way below the millionaire level.

Get some facts and quit parroting democrat liberal mantra bs lines.

I really wonder if Harvard's endowment managers worry about whether or not the companies that they invest in send jobs overseas.

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429594)

fund managers make zillions based on return. they don't care.

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429704)

> fund managers make zillions based on return. they don't care.

Fund managers don't own the funds they manage.

That is why they are called 'mutual' funds.

Another danger of Outsourcing. (-1, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429576)


FLAW WAS PLANTED TO SABOTAGE SOVIETS

By David E. Hoffman

Washington Post

WASHINGTON - In January 1982, President Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural-gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.

Thomas Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in ``At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War,'' to be published next month by Ballantine Books. Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of ``cold-eyed economic warfare'' against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William Casey during the final years of the Cold War.

KGB insider's tip

At the time, the United States was attempting to block Western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas. There also were signs that the Soviets were trying to steal a wide variety of Western technology. Then, a KGB insider revealed the specific shopping list and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Soviets in a way they would not detect it.

``In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds,'' Reed writes.

``The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space,'' he said, adding that U.S. satellites picked up the explosion. Reed said in an interview that the blast occurred in the summer of 1982.

``While there were no physical casualties from the pipeline explosion, there was significant damage to the Soviet economy,'' he writes. ``Its ultimate bankruptcy, not a bloody battle or nuclear exchange, is what brought the Cold War to an end. In time, the Soviets came to understand that they had been stealing bogus technology, but now what were they to do? By implication, every cell of the Soviet leviathan might be infected. They had no way of knowing which equipment was sound, which was bogus.

``All was suspect, which was the intended endgame for the entire operation.''

`Farewell Dossier'

Reed said he obtained CIA approval to publish details about the operation. The CIA learned of the full extent of the KGB's pursuit of Western technology in an intelligence operation known as the Farewell Dossier. Portions of the operation have been disclosed earlier, including in a 1996 paper in Studies in Intelligence, a CIA journal.

The paper was written by Gus Weiss, an expert on technology and intelligence who was instrumental in devising the plan to send the flawed materials and served with Reed on the National Security Council. Weiss died Nov. 25 at age 72.

The sabotage of the gas pipeline has not been previously disclosed, and at the time was a closely guarded secret. When the pipeline exploded, Reed writes, the first reports caused concern in the U.S. military and at the White House. ``NORAD feared a missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based,'' he said, referring to North American Air Defense Command. ``Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device.''

``Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis,'' he said, ``Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry.''

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (5, Informative)

ichimunki (194887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429591)

Insourcing (the opposite of outsourcing) is actually increasing more quickly than outsourcing is [wcit.org]. Over half of all Americans own equities (i.e. stocks or mutual funds) [house.gov]. So either you have a better source for your facts than I do, or you don't. But the information I have flatly contradicts your concerns.

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (2, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429644)


But the information I have flatly contradicts your concerns.

Yup, I was quick to Submit, most people do have some form of investments however the people tending the funds are the ones that make the big investment decisions, not Joe Lunchbucket with 20 or 30K in mutual funds.

In fact, they are pension schemes. (3, Insightful)

Moderation abuser (184013) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429636)

"The 90% of the shares owned by US investors aren't owned by your next door neighbours"

Guess who are the people driving the relentless spread and tyrannical globalisation of free markets?

Little old grannies. No kidding.

See all that money their now deceased men folk paid into pension schemes for decades? They want it back... With interest...

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (4, Funny)

wfberg (24378) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429664)

Where does Coke bottle the water? They don't ship it over from the US. They probably have a filtering and bottling plant down the street.

True, but the local bottlers must license the secret formula for water from Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, GA.

Re:Free Trade helps megacorps (4, Insightful)

nodwick (716348) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429721)

The 90% of the shares owned by US investors aren't owned by your next door neighbours, they're owned by multimillionaire investment traders. They don't give a shit about the people making them the money, they're just cogs in their money-machine.
Not true. For example, Coke (KO [yahoo.com]) has a market cap of over $121 billion. Even Bill Gates, currently the world's richest man [forbes.com] at $46.6 billion net worth, can barely afford a third of Coke even if he liquidated all his holdings in everything else.

You're right in that major shareholders are institutions - Coke's float is 67% held by them. However, that's because "institutions" are usually just investing the public's money. Coke in particular happens to be one of the S&P 500 companies [standardandpoors.com] -- know all those people invested in mutual and S&P index funds? Chances are most of them, including a few of your "next-door neighbors", own at least a few shares, and what profits Coke profits them too.

Ultimately, if you think that big multinationals are the ones that are going to be making the money, there's nothing that's stopping you from hitching your money to their wagon. There's nothing stopping you from being one of those investors that's profiting from their returns. Especially in this day with low-cost online brokerages, it's a fallacy to think that only rich people can afford to be investors.

works out? (5, Insightful)

aconn (709312) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429444)

Ultimately free trade works out well. As far as I know we have yet to see how free trade really works out. We've seen it's short term results, that's all.

The idea that America has an advantage in certain areas always comes up. But what jobs are Americans better at when the definition of doing a job well is increasingly based solely on the cost of labor?

Maybe nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429498)

Maybe nothing, if American workers are all greedy and overpriced. If someone does the same job but for a much lower wage, they are clearly the better worker.

Re:Maybe nothing (2, Insightful)

ReidMaynard (161608) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429705)

The slippery slope is "does the same job"; does this mean "is assigned the same position": or "performs same job with equal perfomance" I think for example having USA telephone customer support trunked to India is an example of confusion in this area.

if American workers (4, Insightful)

dpilot (134227) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429736)

That is as BAD a generalization as any one an American makes.

Owing to hundreds of years of immigration, the US is one of the most diverse nations on Earth, despite the effort of the likes of WalMart and McDonalds to homogenize us.

"does the same job" can be a diffuse and difficult thing to measure. Witness the return of Dell support to America - because Indian workers weren't well-rooted in American culture. The same would happen if the tables were turned. Last I heard, American workers were incredibly productive.

As for overpriced, it goes with the cost of living. But that same cost of living sells lots of products for the very same companies that want to outsource. The article says that Indian companies buy US goods, but do Indian consumers? If an American company shifts an American job to India, does it also shift that purchase of its product? Will an Indian consumer base arise as fast as the American consumer base is destroyed?

Re:works out? (3, Insightful)

squaretorus (459130) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429531)

Ultimately free trade works out well.

Not only short term, but not even free trade. There are so many trade agreements, barriers to trade, direct illegal embargoes and other 'not-at-all-free' elements to trade in and with USA, EU, ANY big market that to call it Free Trade is misleading.

Like calling McDonalds burgers beef - it might have come from a cow - but it aint beef! just look at the shape!

Re:works out? (5, Insightful)

Frymaster (171343) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429679)

There are so many... barriers to trade,

hooray! more "barriers to trade" please!

when the ftaa was being signed there was a lot of talk about subsidies to industries and regulations on producers as being "barriers to trade". i can only presume they were talking about things like:

  • public healthcare. a public system means corporations don't have to provide health insurance for employees. that's a "subsidy" to the industries in the country with public health.
  • safety regulations. if my country has higher worker safety standards than another country my domestic industry can claim that local safety standards are a barrier to export and take the government to the wto.
  • environmental standards. there are a lot of exceptions on this in the wto and ftaa agreements, but the bottom line is that any new environmental legislation can be construed as trade barrier. just look at the kerfuffle over mmt [mindprod.com]. is mmt bad? probably not. but sovereign nations should have the power to decide to ban it if they want, without having to get the approval of exporting nations' corporations.

so, more barriers to trade please!

Re:works out? (1)

be-fan (61476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429663)

There are so many things wrong with this:

1) Free trade has worked out well for more than a hundred years. And even then, people were still bitching about it. Take Europe as an example. The striking down of trade barriers, first within countries like France, then between countries, is *strongly* correlated with a prospering European economy. Its been happening this way since the fucking Napoleonic era.

2) Americans, by and large, are not laborers. Many programming jobs are increasingly becoming jobs for laborers. The popularity of Java is a testament to this. Thus, Americans shouldn't be doing jobs where the value is based on the cost of labor, but should switch to jobs where value is based on skill.

Middle class? (0, Redundant)

sporty (27564) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429449)

No.. it is bad. Middle class is shrinking, and there aren't that many more rich people... So who do you think the money goes to?

Soylent Green is made of peeeeooopppplllleeee!!!! (4, Insightful)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429555)

Middle class is shrinking, and there aren't that many more rich people...Soylent Green is made of peeeeooopppplllleeee!!!!!

Seriously though, if we continue (to allow our "representatives") export middle and upper-middle class jobs, we WILL see a depression, and I don't mean like the '80s, I mean a real depression. We're more than halfway there already. It's too bad we keep electing politicians that just sit back and allow the corporate wonks to masturbate them.

Re:Middle class? (1, Interesting)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429649)

It's going to those who are already rich. The past few years (er, decades?) has been a really good time to be a Rich American.

sure.. (5, Insightful)

freerecords (750663) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429452)

sure.. it's good for the fat cats, but when is life not going to be? the points brought up in the article - All the computers are from Compaq. The basic software is from Microsoft. The phones are from Lucent. The air-conditioning is by Carrier, and even the bottled water is by Coke - wherever the offices are in the world these things will be provided by these companies or such like. The only people whose pockets are getting lined are the Fat Cat's, not Joe Geek who just got pushed out of a job.

Re:sure.. (2, Insightful)

millahtime (710421) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429556)

"only people whose pockets are getting lined are the Fat Cat's, not Joe Geek"

So, what your saying is we all need to become investors and we're set. Then we can be Joe Geek and a Fat Cat at the same time. If I was a rich Investor think of all the toys I could have.

Re:sure.. (3, Insightful)

be-fan (61476) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429724)

Such is the nature of a capitalist economy. The more money you have, the easier it is to make more money. If you don't want that kind of disparity, the solution is not to prevent people from making money, but to vote for higher taxes and thus greater income redistribution.

"works out well" (2, Flamebait)

hendridm (302246) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429456)

> Ultimately, free trade works out well; I think one of the issues is that white collar jobs are just beginning to feel the pinch, and are acting like manufacturers did in the 1970s and 1980s.

So it didn't work out well for the blue collars, and it's not working for the white collars. I guess it's working well for the ivory tower folk. Or are you from India, Hemos? :/

Re:"works out well" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429557)

Fascinating. My post got modded as Flamebait and these [slashdot.org] posts [slashdot.org], which state the same thing but were posted after mine were modded +5 Insightful. Neat!

YOU WOULDN'T KNOW A FROST POST IF IT WAS STARING (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429460)

YOU RIGHT IN THE FACE

*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_
g_______________________________________________g_ _
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a|_______|_____________\__________|______|______a_ _
t|_______`._____________|_________|_______:_____t_ _
s`________|_____________|________\|_______|_____s_ _
e_\_______|_/_______/__\\\___--___\\_______:____e_ _
x__\______\/____--~~__________~--__|_\_____|____x_ _
*___\______\_-~____________________~-_\____|____*_ _
g____\______\_________.--------.______\|___|____g_ _
o______\_____\______//_________(_(__>__\___|____o_ _
a_______\___.__C____)_________(_(____>__|__/____a_ _
t_______/\_|___C_____)/______\_(_____>__|_/_____t_ _
s______/_/\|___C_____)_FROSTY|__(___>___/__\____s_ _
e_____|___(____C_____)\______/__//__/_/_____\___e_ _
x_____|____\__|_____\\_________//_(__/_______|__x_ _
*____|_\____\____)___`----___--'_____________|__*_ _
g____|__\______________\_______/____________/_|_g_ _
o___|______________/____|_____|__\____________|_o_ _
a___|_____________|____/_______\__\___________|_a_ _
t___|__________/_/____|_________|__\___________|t_ _
s___|_________/_/______\__/\___/____|__________|s_ _
e__|_________/_/________|____|_______|_________|e_ _
x__|__________|_________|____|_______|_________|x_ _
*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_g_o_a_t_s_e_x_*_


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Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic. Try to reply to other people's comments instead of starting new threads. Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said. Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about. Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page) If you want replies to your comments sent to you, consider logging in or creating an account.

indians smell (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429467)

don't they know what deodorant is??

Re:indians smell (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429477)

How about anti-perspirant?

Outsourcing is a non-issue (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429469)

All it is is hiring workers who do the job best, without regards to where the worker is. No big deal. There is nothing wrong with hiring the best worker.

Re:Outsourcing is a non-issue (4, Insightful)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429583)

All it is is hiring workers who do the job best, without regards to where the worker is. No big deal. There is nothing wrong with hiring the best worker.

How is this insightful? It's just plain incorrect. It has nothing to do with the best worker, otherwise you'd have call-centers filled with highly paid experts.

It's about hiring someone who can still do a decent job and saving money, with a heavy emphasis on saving money.

Re:Outsourcing is a non-issue (1)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429710)

Well he's slightly wrong, and you correct him on this. The companies want the best value for their dollar. If Indian call center workers/programmers/etc. provide this, then that's who they're going to get. It's no different from choosing the fab to make their products, or where they buy their transistors, etc.

Chris

Re:Outsourcing is a non-issue (1)

krem81 (578167) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429652)

If it was that simple, we would hardly have any outsourcing at all. Surely, money is a very big factor as well.

Re:Outsourcing is a non-issue (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429713)

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA...oooohhh.....AHAHAHAHAHA HAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! sniffle hehehehe

That's the funniest thing I've read in a while!

Re:Outsourcing is a non-issue (3, Insightful)

I8TheWorm (645702) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429730)

Except it has absolutely nothing to do with who is best, rather it has everything to do with who is cheaper. You really don't see any outsourcing of US IT jobs to England, Germany, Japan, etc... You see them going to India, China, Lithuania, etc... (no offense to residents of those countries) because people will simply work for less income than in the US.

it creates jobs (3, Insightful)

Srividya (746733) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429473)

There are many Americans who must call my programming company in Tirupathi with software specifications, requirements, bug reports, and customer feedback. All of this information must be managed between the American company buying the software and our Indian engineers. Are the people who manage this information not employed?

Re:it creates jobs (1, Flamebait)

Talez (468021) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429642)

Are the people who manage this information not employed?

Two sayings apply here.

1) Pissing in the ocean.

2) Looking on the bright side of a train wreck.

Re:it creates jobs (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429655)

>Attention Americans: Can architect masterful C++ for $4.50/hr|email
>cheapcode@hinduhome.com| PayPal accepted!

Has the phrase "if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys" ever been more true?

Re:it creates jobs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429688)

yeah they are , but lady the ones who are in Tirupathi doing the programming used to be in the US too in addition to the other roles you mentioned. those roles weren't created due to outsourcing , those were always there.

Outsourcing in the former USSR. (-1, Offtopic)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429494)

Memoir reveals CIA role in blast

FLAW WAS PLANTED TO SABOTAGE SOVIETS

By David E. Hoffman

Washington Post

WASHINGTON - In January 1982, President Reagan approved a CIA plan to sabotage the economy of the Soviet Union through covert transfers of technology that contained hidden malfunctions, including software that later triggered a huge explosion in a Siberian natural-gas pipeline, according to a new memoir by a Reagan White House official.

Thomas Reed, a former Air Force secretary who was serving in the National Security Council at the time, describes the episode in ``At the Abyss: An Insider's History of the Cold War,'' to be published next month by Ballantine Books. Reed writes that the pipeline explosion was just one example of ``cold-eyed economic warfare'' against the Soviet Union that the CIA carried out under Director William Casey during the final years of the Cold War.

KGB insider's tip

At the time, the United States was attempting to block Western Europe from importing Soviet natural gas. There also were signs that the Soviets were trying to steal a wide variety of Western technology. Then, a KGB insider revealed the specific shopping list and the CIA slipped the flawed software to the Soviets in a way they would not detect it.

``In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to pipeline joints and welds,'' Reed writes.

``The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space,'' he said, adding that U.S. satellites picked up the explosion. Reed said in an interview that the blast occurred in the summer of 1982.

``While there were no physical casualties from the pipeline explosion, there was significant damage to the Soviet economy,'' he writes. ``Its ultimate bankruptcy, not a bloody battle or nuclear exchange, is what brought the Cold War to an end. In time, the Soviets came to understand that they had been stealing bogus technology, but now what were they to do? By implication, every cell of the Soviet leviathan might be infected. They had no way of knowing which equipment was sound, which was bogus.

``All was suspect, which was the intended endgame for the entire operation.''

`Farewell Dossier'

Reed said he obtained CIA approval to publish details about the operation. The CIA learned of the full extent of the KGB's pursuit of Western technology in an intelligence operation known as the Farewell Dossier. Portions of the operation have been disclosed earlier, including in a 1996 paper in Studies in Intelligence, a CIA journal.

The paper was written by Gus Weiss, an expert on technology and intelligence who was instrumental in devising the plan to send the flawed materials and served with Reed on the National Security Council. Weiss died Nov. 25 at age 72.

The sabotage of the gas pipeline has not been previously disclosed, and at the time was a closely guarded secret. When the pipeline exploded, Reed writes, the first reports caused concern in the U.S. military and at the White House. ``NORAD feared a missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based,'' he said, referring to North American Air Defense Command. ``Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device.''

``Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis,'' he said, ``Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry.''

Accident was 100% Soviet fault (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429532)

If you steal something, don't be surprised if it blows up in your face.

Remember the old motto: "007 emptor" translated as "Spy beware".

Satisfaction Issue (4, Insightful)

SynKKnyS (534257) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429502)

I think customer satisfaction is a major issue in outsourcing. I remember a friend complaining non-stop about Dell's customer service being incomprehensible after Dell switched to outsourced call centers.

Re:Satisfaction Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429622)

Hmmm, perhaps your friend should be willing to spend more than $399 for his next PC - then he might get the support he expects.

Dell is for those who know what they're doing. It's a tradeoff. Cheaper computer comes with cheaper support. I know what I'm doing and don't want to pay an extra $300 for support, so a Dell is perfect for me. For anyone else, they can use it until it breaks, throw it away, and buy a new one.

Re:Satisfaction Issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429647)

My opinion is such that in outsourcing, cost truly comes before customer satisfaction.

And when customer is dissatisfied, deal with it from cost perspective - you expect king size service for this low price that you are paying?

Not a way to do business, but nothing really lost, if you think about it.

Customers are weird, they may still come back to you again, even when they had bad experience once or twice(cant say thrice though), because you are still cheaper!

They will definitely not come back to you again if you are expensive!

Let's face it, most oursourced call center DO NOT have enough material to do a good job in customer satisfaction. They are also intended to add more levels to the bureacracy.

Re:Satisfaction Issue (1)

MisanthropicProggram (597526) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429735)

Tell me about it. I had an issue with NetGear a few months ago. I bought a dual speed hub that wasn't connecting to a 10Mbs card - even though a cross-over connection worked fine. To make a long story short, their service dept. told me to slow the entire network down to 10Mbs. A network engineer friend of mine said that he thought it was a NW card dying. My friend was right - they were wrong.
Where were the support people you ask? Take a wild guess.
BTW, my network engineer friend had the same information that the support people did - maybe even a little less.

umm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429511)

Ultimately, free trade works out well; I think one of the issues is that white collar jobs are just beginning to feel the pinch, and are acting like manufacturers did in the 1970s and 1980s.

oh i DO beg to differ

right.. so we're feeling this "pinch" again.. and we're losing our jobs.. again.. more like a "punch" if you ask me

Re:umm (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429694)

I don't know why Americans are whining this much. Do you understand that globalization (US being the MAJOR benefactor) has increased the cost of living in countries like India. Stop whining crap guys.

Outsourcing Slashdot (4, Funny)

sabat (23293) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429512)


Ultimately, free trade works out well; I think one of the issues is that white collar jobs are just beginning to feel the pinch, and are acting like manufacturers did in the 1970s and 1980s.

It's easy enough for Hemos to say that -- until his job at ./ gets outsourced to India or the Philippines. You know, it'd be pretty easy to do that for all the ./ editors ... hmmmm ...

Free Trade is a Double-Edged Sword (3, Interesting)

Linuxthess (529239) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429515)

I don't get liberals- they tell us that we are supposed to care about third-world countries, and stop being greedy a--holes, but when it comes to discussions of outsourcing, all prior arguements are revered 180 degrees.

So what is it, gentlemen?

Re:Free Trade is a Double-Edged Sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429620)

> I don't get liberals- they tell us that we are supposed to care about
> third-world countries, and stop being greedy a--holes, but when it comes to
> discussions of outsourcing, all prior arguements are revered 180 degrees.

I believe liberals want the world to be a better place. Is the world a better place as the result of any given action. Does outsourcing make the world a better place? For whom? Are their any losers? Are the people making the decisions, or the people who pay them, benefitting?

Re:Free Trade is a Double-Edged Sword (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429621)

Liberals" like me care about 3rd world countries, but we're not dumb enough to give our jobs away!

The real solution is that those countries need to be helped so that the people have clean water and air and good wages for the jobs they do, not to ship MY job over there just so one lucky guy gets a job and some company (like Dell or Compaq or IBM) can save a few bucks.

Remember - in the end, a country that doesn't make anything and doesn't support anything, and has no good jobs, will BE a 3rd world country.

- Kurt

Flaimbait (0)

SparafucileMan (544171) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429696)

Uh, WTF? Please explain what any of this has to do with the "liberals". For starters, most of the people concerned about loosing their jobs in this country aren't liberals (nor are they conservative).

Anti free and fair trade (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429727)

No, group mainly opposed to free and fair trade are the liberals (the left). The Buchananazi's are a minority of those on the right.

Liberals? (2, Insightful)

AusTai (739326) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429728)

What it is is that you are using the pejorative "liberal" for anyone who doesn't agree with you. Consider the possibility that different "liberals" feel strongly about different issues.

There are disadvantages as well (1)

kmonsen (606584) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429520)

First, less than 50% increase in more than 10 years does not look that impressive. We should also research why this is happening.

Secondly, if the workers in the country where the jobs are exported have not protection, than everyone will loose their protection one day as well. Either labour laws are exported or we import a state of no labour laws.

$1.6 billion in revenue Thousands of jobs? (3, Insightful)

strictnein (318940) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429521)

This must be some new economic theory. That a $1.6 billion dollar trade increase is somehow more beneficial than tens of thousands of good paying jobs.

Very interesting.

It depends... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429525)

When we reach the point that none of the jobs are in the USA because its cheaper over seas will that be good for the USA worker?

As a guy who is conservative on economics and a believer in free trade that is a difficult question for me to ask.

I am currently unable to answer it myself,
but willing to admit its a possibility we may not always end up on the winning side of free trade.

Evil Man

With no blue or white collar jobs, what's left? (5, Interesting)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429541)

I think one of the issues is that white collar jobs are just beginning to feel the pinch...

With blue and white collar jobs fleeting, what's left? Pin-stripe lapels? The money gained from exportation primarily helps out those at the top, and most people can't be at the top. So while that's great for people with far too much money anyway, where does that leave the majority of people who need money to survive?

Dreamjob (2, Funny)

l0wland (463243) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429547)

...and even the bottled water is by Coke

Now there ya go! Drop that doomed programming-job, and hop on to become a real Coca Cola truckdriver yea!

"American" companies (5, Informative)

ashultz (141393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429558)

It certainly works out for the American companies selling the products.

Except whoops, they aren't American, turns out their headquartered in the Caymans for tax reasons. And their products are manufactured in China or Malaysia, and their customer support is in India.

But it does boost their executives, who live in the U.S. Though not legally, they also legally live offshore for tax reasons.

There are lots of good arguments for free trade, but Friedman doesn't know them.

Is it really surprising? No. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429605)

Is it surprising at all? America's ludicrously high tax rates and unnecesary regulations essentially say "it is not good to do business, live, or work here". Don't be surprised if people do what the government encourages them to do.

Key question unanswered (5, Insightful)

sphealey (2855) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429566)

OK Tom (and others of similar ilk): we have all taken Micro/Macro 101/102. We know what the theory of comparative advantage is, and how it is supposed to work in theory (of course, the difference between theory and practice is...).

Now, could you please answer just one question? We in the US were told when we shipped all our manufacturing jobs, and most of our dirty work, to the Third World, that all would be OK, because we would retrain to do the work of the mind. Which supposedly has a higher value.

Now that all the work of the hands is gone, we are starting to ship the work of the mind elsewhere. When the work of the hands and the work of the mind is gone, what exactly is left?

Please be precise, specific, and complete in your answer. Thanks.

sPh

Re:Key question unanswered (4, Insightful)

agslashdot (574098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429734)

what exactly is left?

That's precisely what NY Senator Chuck Schumer asked. America is becoming a nation of high-paid lawyers & doctors & ballplayers, serviced by low-paid walmart workers & sanitary workers & handymen. What about the middle class, constantly squeezed out of existence by these Benedict Arnold CEOs ? Gosh, I sound like John Kerry & I don't even like that guy that much.

India buys computers! (4, Insightful)

yagu (721525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429574)

I'm a little confused by the article... It states that this is a plus for U.S because all of these outsource sites buy Compaq computers, drink Coca Cola, etc. So, are we to believe those same centers here would not?

It's not a joke (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429575)

One of the frequent jokes about outsourcing is that the one group that will never be outsourced is management. That's not exactly true. If you were a company that wanted to hire a firm to write software for you, who could do it cheaper? An American firm who hires Indian programmers or and Indian firm whose entire employee roster works in India, including its management? At some point down this slippery slope to the cheapest price, even the "fat cats" are going to feel the effects.

Exports? (4, Insightful)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429581)

It seems that $4.1 billion is not quite as much money as is lost by the people in the US not being able to buy things HERE because they dont have jobs. All that money goes directly to the corporations, and their CEOs when they sell any product. Eventually they'll simply start producing the products in the countries they're selling them to. They can make compaq computers in India if they need to.

In the long run, outsourcing will create some jobs, but it will be a fraction of the jobs that we currently have. Sure, people can retrain and new industries will develop, but the rapid loss of jobs puts a damper on the economy, one which can be tough to bounce back from.

The corporations are not worried about this, because they can still export products to other countries. Everyone else will have trouble.

Do you even understand how this effects people? (3, Insightful)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429586)

> I think one of the issues is that white collar jobs are just beginning to feel the pinch,

Ask anyone who has lost their job if it felt like a "pinch".

White collar jobs haven't felt the pinch? (5, Interesting)

Puls4r (724907) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429598)

Oh really?

I'd wager that the person who submitted that article is probably about 25 years old, and not a student of history. Let me explain.

We were pushed out of the consumer electronics industry by the Japanese before the end of the 80's. 10's of thousands of white collar jobs were lost. Likewise, we were pushed out of textiles, steel, and many many other goods.

In the early 70's all the way up till now we've seen a steady decline of the auto industry, and the ONE THIRD of the country's economy that the auto industry directly or indirectly touches.

There are many other examples. Read your history and learn about it. Or you'll be certain to repeat it.

Re:White collar jobs haven't felt the pinch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429640)

maybe because the big auto companies like GM and Ford are quite bloated? their power has allowed them to become pretty unefficient. this is very true with chrysler. unless you are an idiot, you'll realize that they really don't innovate a lot of engine technology at all. and financially, i don't see a steady decline in GM, but Chrylser and Ford are in a low period right now.

We killed our own auto industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429645)

In the early 70's all the way up till now we've seen a steady decline of the auto industry, and the ONE THIRD of the country's economy that the auto industry directly or indirectly touches.

We have no one to blame but ourselves (Americans). The auto industry is killing themselves by making bad products. After all these years, a "pure" American car STILL does not measure up to the typical product from Toyota or Honda.

frist new comments pist (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429599)

anyone see the new way that slashdot lists previous comments in /~username?

Race towards the bottom? (2, Interesting)

philthedrill (690129) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429607)

Good for Indian people: more jobs.

Good for companies: cheaper labor. According to some of my Indian friends, the rupee is undervalued, so it's (currently) a win-win situation for the Indian people and the companies.

>All the computers are from Compaq. The basic software is from Microsoft. The phones are from Lucent.

Sure, that's good... until they outsource those jobs, too. What we should watch out for is that companies don't start a race towards the bottom, where everyone is fighting for scraps and the jobs go to the lowest bidder.

Just what does the US make anyway? (4, Insightful)

lavalyn (649886) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429610)

(start -1 Flamebait rant now)

- Manufacturing in the US (save automotives) is all but dead as those get outsourced to other nations where labor is cheaper
- Information management (programming) is outsourced off to India
- Cultural production is stifled and held in the hands of the Hollywood few
- Creativity production is stifled and bound by the overworked USPTO and overbearing DMCA

When the nation is nothing but accountants, lawyers, and doctors, whose primary role is to redistribute, rather than create, wealth, don't go crying when suddenly people realize you add nothing to the table.

(Well, this explains an awful lot of why US laws are like that. When you create woefully little, you must defend that little with all your might. Think: if the US can actually compete despite their higher costs because they add more value, what'd be the point of the tight-fisted IP laws?)

Re:Just what does the US make anyway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429684)

america is about to collapse! yay!

But how long can this continue? (2, Insightful)

RawCode (464152) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429614)

Would there not be a desire for Indian startups to replace the outsourcing to US comapnies, with cheaper Indian or Malayasin people? I'm sure there is an indian computer manufacture that can make a PC to run Windows, and replace Compaq in this place. Or, better yet, run Linux.

This counter-outsourcing just seems like a slowing of the bleeding.

first, manufacturing. now, tech. (3, Insightful)

millia (35740) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429632)

the thing that he doesn't mention in the article is that those microsoft and compaq products he mentions are increasingly being produced by foreign workers.
microsoft is outsourcing.
i would be flabbergasted if those compaqs are made in america.
i realize that things are changing. it is inevitable. perhaps, if customer service improves due to actual customer support being economically feasible, that is a good thing.
however, what is the end game here? first, the manufacturing jobs left- but don't worry, there are going to be plenty of high-tech and knowledge worker jobs available.
now, those jobs are disappearing- both tech and knowledge. there are only going to be a limited number of those creative positions that he mentions that are available. if you don't believe that, try getting a director's job in hollywood.
i thought that maybe certain things would be immune- like washing machines, etc., that are too large to be shipped from asia- but mexico just got another manufacturing plant from maytag the other day.
and now that manufacturing barriers for media (tv, films) are declining, i don't see america maintaining its dominance there indefinitely.
what is the end game, again? what are we going to do to survive? what will pay enough to enable a family to own a house and a car?
competition is good. trade is good. but the next twenty years in america are going to be rough if we don't start thinking about these things, to avoid having a nation of burger flippers or anointed creative types and ceo's. and if the numbers get more skewed, we may yet wind up with a democracy instead of a republic.

An indian project management checklist... (4, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429639)

* Server implementation in latest tech - We'll do that

* XSLT internationalized web gui - We'll do that too

* SOAP and XML-RPC interface - Us again

* Integration with legacy COBOL system - Give it back to the yanks

Its working out great ,EU imposes sanctions today (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429641)


The European Union says it has started imposing trade sanctions against the
United States in retaliation for tax breaks given to US exporters. ...

full stories [google.com]

What happened to (3, Interesting)

DangerSteel (749051) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429643)

the buggy whip manufacturers in the early 1900's ?

I can bet they were talking bad about early car manufacturers. Adapt and overcome. Learn new skills. Go to work for those giant megacorps, or don't. Start one yourself. They all started small. But just talking bad about outsourcing is not going to stop it. I think it's a natural business response, companies are only here to make a profit, if you can help them make a profit, they will need you. It's neither good nor evil, it just is

Free Trade requires equal enviornments (5, Insightful)

Zergwyn (514693) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429651)

The ideal of free trade, the idea that competition helps to spur innovation, increase efficiency, and generate jobs, clearly has significant truth. As Americans, we already have an example that should be obvious: the states themselves. Between each state there exists free trade, something that wasn't the case under the Articles of the Confederation. It was specifically changed so that there would be a single source of currency, no tariffs, etc. In many ways, it is just like free trade between countries, and it has obviously been tremendously successful. With some exceptions, the United States is certain very strong economically and technologically, and the states all do well.

However, this example also illustrates a very important caveat to this whole situation: the competition can only be productive if there is an equal baseline established. As a country, we have decided that certain qualities are important to us, such as a clean environment, worker's rights, education, health care, etc. These are national policies, enshrined in institutions from the EPA to the FDA, and thus every state is subject to the same requirements. And it is here that the comparison with international Free Trade breaks down. If companies in India are not subject to the same requirements, if they are not required to care about the environment etc., then it is not really free trade. American companies can't ever hope to compete, burdened by costs they can't control. Instead, we merely subsidize a temporary exploitation of a less developed country. Once India and other countries develop to a similar level, they will likely begin to care about more of the same things, and at that point competition can begin to truly flourish without a need for restrictions. But in the mean time, I don't see how true Free Trade can exist without unfairly undermining important values we hold.

What we need... (1)

boudie (704942) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429659)

I just laugh at people who still think Free Trade is a good thing. Where's Ross Perot when you need him?

triple dip recession (1)

segment (695309) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429662)


have grown from $2.5 billion in 1990 to $4.1 billion in 2002 as well. So maybe this outsourcing thing isn't so bad after all. Only during the Great Depression have we had such a crappy economy so 1990 would be a null comparison. It's easy to work some fuzzy math numbers now, but the effect can only be 'guesstimated' unless the author cares to dip back that far back.

One of the main differences back then (Great Depression) was the sense of patriotism amongst EVERYONE to pull together for country. Hard push when we (Americans) - the majority - feel conned about this current war on (t)error. We haven't even felt the effect of the baby boomers retiring yet, something that has never happened in the history of the U.S. - this many people retiring at once, so there can be no true number to put out as factual, and we already know Greenspan'll be jacking up the date retirees call it a day.

Outsourcing is bad for companies too (2, Insightful)

KamuSan (680564) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429665)

Like I said elsewhere [slashdot.org], outsourcing is bad for companies in the long run, because they give away important knowledge:

Outsourcing is a big problem. I can't imagine why a smart thinking company with any common sense would export intimate knowledge of his core business processes and pay for it too!

So because every CEO and his goat is tripping over himself to do exactly the same as all his competitors are already doing, all these companies are flushing their corporate secrets to third world countries.

Might as well do law school then, because that will be the only business model that generates any revenue at all in the years to come. If only to sue all these outsourcing shops who suddenly decide that your (local) competitor, or your foreign competitor pays better for their (read: your) knowledge.

Dubious logic (1)

agslashdot (574098) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429667)

Hemos - Ultimately, free trade works out well
John Maynard Keynes - In the long run, we are all dead.

1. Why do economists get off so easy ? What is "ultimately" ? What happens in the short term ??

2. My friends and colleagues have been laid off due to outsourcing to India. People writing code are becoming handymen, plumbers, delivering pizza. Nothing against those "careers", but they didn't spend 4 years of school getting CS degrees to end up delivering pizza now, did they ?

3. The same New York Times ( 30 little turles - Feb 29 edition link here [nytimes.com]) has a long op-ed by Friedman where he argues thus - Be glad that Indians are writing code & not becoming suicide bombers like the Arabs. Friedman contends that America is secure because Indians are writing code & not blowing themselves up! How ridiculous is that ?!

Solution (0)

king-manic (409855) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429669)

This is slashdot, the mecca of Sysadmins and computer consultants. If we want to protect our jobs and our future we have to all come together. Outsourcing is very bad in many ways. One of which is, these people dont' pay taxes. In the long run outsourcing is bad for both The United states in general and for us. I say we boycott outsourced programs. If your incharge of selecting products dump any that have been made in india. Buy hoem grown or near home grown (European, Canadian, American). No matter how idealistic you are you have to admit this flow of jobs is more than disconcerting. Do you want america to be th land of oppertunity of the land of the service industry.

Lets choose home grown software. We are the largest market, our decisions matter. Every other country is very protective of it's markets, why not us. China has a chinese software quota lets have a american software quota. Write your congressman, write the president, vote for anyone but bush. Make it happen. We dont' have to take this sittign down. We can change it.

adaptation (2, Insightful)

slim hades (703936) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429670)

I am thinking in a historical sense here, so bare with me.

Us as a species in general have been pretty adaptive over the ages. We adapt to new enviroments through the plasticity of the body, we adapt to new problems through the complexity of our mind. There is a change now in the way our country outsources work to a place where it is cheaper.

Regardless of whether or not we like this, it is a business decision at best. I have seen companies make decisions like these on a daily basis, this is just in different context.

We could opt to fight for the return of the way things were done before, or we could adapt. Develop skill sets that make us innovative, and refresh the markets we currently work in.

Evolution is funny like that. The saying is only the strong survive.
Time to see who's been limping along in the herd and cull it.

*note: authors opinion is not a reflection of Slashdot's, Computer Geeks, 90% of apes with egos, or pretty much anyone but himself*

A few thoughts... (2, Informative)

cleetus (123553) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429675)

Firstly, I agree that free trade tends to work out well, in that it gets us closer to a perfect market, which theoretically will optimize allocatins of assets. If you think such an allocation is just (a big if), then free trade is good.

One way to reduce the pain that comes from the shifting of resources that accompanies the liberalization of an international trading regime is to to work at reducing frictional unemployment [drexel.edu]. The best way to do this is to subsidize education and other forms of training. More money always flows to innovators: those who engage in think-work as opposed to do-work or make-work (for lack of a more nuanced set of expressions). Subsidizing education increases our ability to create think-workers who will be more able to adapt to changing market conditions and shorten their stay in the frictional unemployment column.

In regards to the situation experienced by factory workers, and now lower-level programmers, we see yet another manifestation of ever-growing trend towards commodification. Widely available education will help move workers away from the commoditized industries and closer to more valuable forms of employment.

cleetus

Big Fucking Lie (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429680)

How the hell can a person who is making $5 a day doing the coding work that used to pay $100,000 a year in the US supposed to buy the CONSUMER goods that drive exports?

This is nothing more than Republican propaganda. There is no recovery from outsourcing. If you don't believe me, LOOK AT DETROIT! It was outsourced in the 70's.

And in reaction to outsourcing... (5, Informative)

dr2chase (653338) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429691)

Apparently fewer students are pursuing EE/CS as a career. Supposedly down 33% over the last two years at MIT, 23% in the country as a whole this year. Potential gradual students are opting for Wall Street instead. See an article in today's NYT [nytimes.com]

Stop trying to swim upstream (3, Insightful)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429702)

Yes outsourcing is sending away great jobs. Duly noted.

Yes outsourcing is putting thousands of people out of work. Duly noted.

Yes outsourcing is driving down wages. Duly noted.

Everything you would ever want to carp about regarding outsourcing has been stated, you do not need to retransmit. The issue is now what are you going to do about reality. Are you going to bellyache about it and hope your low-grade tech skills will somehow merit $80k again? Or are you going to find those spaces where outsourcing won't or can't go and pursue ruthlessly?

The US has spent a quarter century ramming free trade down the world's throat and gleefully telling everyone else to "deal with change!". Well now that goes for you too. Outsourcing is reality. Route around it or be a victim. EOM.

Nice troll, Mr. Friedman (5, Informative)

Petronius (515525) | more than 10 years ago | (#8429706)

All the computers are from Compaq. The basic software is from Microsoft. The phones are from Lucent. The air-conditioning is by Carrier, and even the bottled water is by Coke
Right, the problem with this 'argument' is: 95% of the computer is made in Taiwan or China, the MS sofware is outsourced in India, the Coke is bottled right in India, the AC units are probably made in Japan, etc.
This article offers no proof of any kind that outsourcing is good for the US economy. It just uses a random collection of impressions ('oh my, they use Compaq here too', 'man, good thing they drink Coke, they don't get malaria') and then jumps to the conclusion: 'outsourcing is GREAT, it creates jobs in the USA!'.
Thomas Friedman has been the choir boy of the Bush administration at the NYT for quite some time now. So much for the 'liberal' media. I can't believe they keep him on staff.

Reply to Hemos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429717)

Hemos says: "...one of the issues is that white collar jobs are just beginning to feel the pinch, and are acting like manufacturers did in the 1970s and 1980s."

Yeah? What else should we do? Lay back and enjoy getting screwed? What about our families that depend on a paycheck? What about retirement accounts that have been bled dry over the past 2 years? What about ANY type of freaking future? Go back in your hole and Fsck yourself.

Tax "free trade" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8429720)

Look, if I can taxes for defense, post roads, justice system, schoools etc, then why can't multinational corporations?

Just tax these bums the same amount they tax the American middle class. That'll fix the "oursoucing" problem.

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