Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Open Source Globalization?

Cliff posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-boon-or-a-bane dept.

76

Carl Rosenberger asks: "In this article at IT Managers Journal [which is another part of OSTG, Slashdot's parent publishing company], db4objects CEO Christof Wittig speculates about the future effect of open source globalization on organizations and individuals. According to his opinion 'Engineers like globalization', although it may mean tougher worldwide competition for jobs. What is the opinion of Slashdot readers on this article? Is open source globalization going to happen? Will it make our jobs better or worse?" As the referenced article puts it, open source globalization is the ability to hire programmers from all over the globe to collaborate together on a single project with low overhead. Heck if it works for open source projects, why not for corporate software? Do you see the corporations you are familiar with embracing or fighting this concept?

cancel ×

76 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Who cares ... (4, Insightful)

Pegasus (13291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482433)

I don't care if the shortterm effect to my job is bad, as long as the longterm effect to the world is good.

Re:Who cares ... (1, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482561)

I don't care if the shortterm effect to my job is bad, as long as the longterm effect to the world is good.

explain to me again what is good about driving wages and working conditions down to third world levels.

Re:Who cares ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16482705)

... and third world wages will rise up until both meet.

Re:Who cares ... the financial industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16482777)

The people who do financial data processing are not likely to want their source code open to the world.
Security for that code may include hiring only local people.

Re:Who cares ... the financial industry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16484271)

Why? Because You can send hired goons to whack them if thay tell your security secrets to bad people. Well, it just means that there is a market for goon services globalisation!

Re:Who cares ... (2, Insightful)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482845)

Increased supply of workers will make wages rise. Which school of economics did you go to ?

Re:Who cares ... (1)

Fire Dragon (146616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483259)

Increased supply of workers will make wages rise. Which school of economics did you go to ?

You are mixing globalization and imigration here. We are not talking about moving workers to local markets, but moving jobs to other places. Amount of workers isn't rising in 3rd world countries, amount of work is. When there isn't enough skilled people in 3rd world countries to meet the needs of globalizatiolized jobs, companies have to start fighting fot the best. And I'm not talking about Guantamo like coding camps, but hard cash. If you want the best, you have to pay for it, therefore increasing the rates.

Re:Who cares ... (2, Insightful)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485225)

We are not talking about moving workers to local markets, but moving jobs to other places.

This is exactly the problem. In a globalized market, jobs can get up and move anywhere in the world at essentially no cost, but employees are still restricted by the high costs and difficulty of relocating themselves. This gives employers a tremendous upper hand, and reduces job-security to almost 0.

In 1997, Billy worked as a programmer in Austin, Texas. He worked for a local company, and they paid him enough to survive relatively comfortably in Austin. In 2006, the company realized that they could hire a similarly competent programmer in eastern Europe, and only have to pay enough for the programmer to survive relatively comfortably in eastern Europe. Billy cannot compete while living in Austin, because he could not survive on the wage being offered.

Great deal for the company, bad deal for Billy. It costs the company almost nothing to cut their costs by moving their programming jobs to eastern Europe, but it costs Billy a huge amount financially and emotionally to relocate to eastern Europe. Billy has been caught in a cost-of-living race to the bottom, and it's an inevitable consequence of globalization.

Companies generally don't give a fuck where their work gets done, as long as it gets done correctly and as cheaply as possible. People, on the other hand, care very much where they live - most people have deep cultural ties to a certain area, be it a neighborhood, country, or even continent, and even when they do move, it usually takes a long time to adjust and establish themselves in a new environment.

People shouldn't be forced to conform to the international market's whims of where they should be living at any moment, simply in order to keep their cost of living competitive.

Re:Who cares ... (2, Insightful)

cyberon22 (456844) | more than 7 years ago | (#16486103)

This is a thoughtful post. Three comments however from someone working in China:

(1) Workers in the west are already benefiting from the low costs of imported products, and there is still room for prices to fall in many areas. Wage adjustments in the west are simply lagging behind adjustments to consumer prices. This doesn't mean that falling product costs are unconnected with changing job stability. You can't have one without the other.

(2) The factors which make American employees uncompetitive wage-wise are largely tied to local markets (rent) and government policy (health care). If housing costs are a concern... well you guys should be complaining to your government about its imposition of import restrictions on Canadian timber in violation of NAFTA, lack of urban planning for high-density housing (everyone buys cars). If clothing costs are a concern... stop extending import quotas for foreign produced textiles (decent jeans here cost less than $7). If health costs are a concern... stop voting Republican and get decent nationalized health care plan like every other civilized western nation.

(3) Nationalism is immoral and one doesn't need to be Marxist to be an internationalist. I know a lot of college graduates here in Beijing whose monthly wages are around $250 USD a month. It is damn hard to find a place to rent, feed yourself and survive in this city on that salary -- the implication that people have it easy in countries where living standards lag behind the US is patently wrong.

To blame globalization for problems with the domestic economy is cheap and easy. But it is also wrong. The reason life is getting more difficult for Americans has a lot to do with government policy (try raising the minimum wage, guys). And things like the Iraq War and your government's plundering of social security and tax cuts to the rich are only making it worse.

Re:Who cares ... (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16487475)

Don't get me wrong, I think government has every bit as much to do with the economic plight of people, both here in the US and in China and other developing countries. There are many domestic policies that could be executed better, and people should absolutely hold their governments accountable for inept and corrupt behavior.

I also agree that for the most part, globalization harms workers in poorer countries more than it harms those in developed countries. This is Slashdot, though, so I figure people are most concerned with how it affects them - and lets face it: for the most part globalization helps only one group of people significantly - bosses of multinational companies.

Workers in the west are already benefiting from the low costs of imported products

Yeah, we are, and stuff is still extremely expensive compared to many other regions. Prices may be falling, but they never have and never will fall anywhere near the level of poor nations, no matter what anyone's economic theory claims.

The factors which make American employees uncompetitive wage-wise are largely tied to local markets

I'm glad you brought up local markets, because the fact that they exist seems to elude many proponents of globalization. As long as there is significant diversity in local markets, multinational companies will be able to play regions against each other to get the cheapest labor. People, being not at all multi-national, and usually not even multi-city, do not have this privilege and will therefore be forced to accept lower and lower wages with fewer and fewer worker protections.

low wages (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16493499)

I also agree that for the most part, globalization harms workers in poorer countries more than it harms those in developed countries.

Not quite, globalization helps poorer countries. Take a look at either China or India. The income of average workers is much higher in both countries now than they were even just 5 years ago.

In 1997, Billy worked as a programmer in Austin, Texas. He worked for a local company, and they paid him enough to survive relatively comfortably in Austin. In 2006, the company realized that they could hire a similarly competent programmer in eastern Europe, and only have to pay enough for the programmer to survive relatively comfortably in eastern Europe. Billy cannot compete while living in Austin, because he could not survive on the wage being offered.

If wages are being driven to the lowest denominator then who can afford to buy what businesses sale? If businesses outsources jobs then no one can make enough to buy goods and services which hurts the same businesses. At least not locally therefore business needs to relocate to where there are people who can afford the goods or services the business offers. Then with a vacumn of goods and services someone else will step forward to offer them and thus create jobs.

As long as there is significant diversity in local markets, multinational companies will be able to play regions against each other to get the cheapest labor.

You've got it backwards, the more diverse a local market is the less businesses can play one region against another. That was the problem with company towns, where just one company provides jobs. Workers don't have a choice in refusing low wages. If workers can't or won't accept the demands of workers then it can pack up and take the jobs where the wages will be accepted, leaving the town dry. If there is a diversity of employers though no company can demand workers work for lower wages. If a company says "we'll pay you $10" and another says $15, who will you work for? Simply diversity in employment means wages increase.

Falcon

Re:low wages (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16494201)

the more diverse a local market is the less businesses can play one region against another

Maybe the term was confusing, but when I was talking about diverse local markets, I wasn't talking about "a bunch of diverse companies within a region", I was referring to how the many different regions in the world have different economic conditions and needs, and are therefore "diverse". The point was that if one region has a lower cost of living, companies will gravitate there, however the moment another region is cheaper, they'll move all their jobs to the latest cheap labor pool.

If wages are being driven to the lowest denominator then who can afford to buy what businesses sale?

People elsewhere. This, after all, is the whole point of globalization. Not only can a company make use of labor in whatever region it's cheapest and least regulated, they can take the fruits of that labor and retail it halfway across the globe in the region who will pay the most for it. The beasuty of globalization (for companies) is that they no longer need to worry about whether their employees will be able to afford what the company produces, because the company isn't selling to it's employees, it's selling to a totally different group of consumers.

Take a look at either China or India. The income of average workers is much higher

That may be true (or may not, but I'll assume it is), but it's obviously shortsighted to look only at the income figures to determine whether a country's standard of living is improving. How much can you buy with that new bigger salary? Is it more, or less due to inflation? How stable is your job now that more and more businesses with no vested interest in your community are dominating the community? How stable is your government now that it's caving to international business demands for poorer labor standards, less restrictions on corporate pollution, etc? How much more likely are you or your kids to die of cancer ever since those great-paying new factory jobs opened up down the street?

These are the problems that the Indias and Chinas of the world struggle with, and despite our best intentions, globalization is hurting the people - especially the poor people - who live there.

Re:low wages (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16495111)

the more diverse a local market is the less businesses can play one region against another

Maybe the term was confusing, but when I was talking about diverse local markets, I wasn't talking about "a bunch of diverse companies within a region", I was referring to how the many different regions in the world have different economic conditions and needs, and are therefore "diverse". The point was that if one region has a lower cost of living, companies will gravitate there, however the moment another region is cheaper, they'll move all their jobs to the latest cheap labor pool.

Ok, I see what you mean. But while for some industries, businesses can pack up and move to where labor is cheaper as with software, it doesn't work in other industries especially certain manufacturing areas. In some cases the costs of building a factory is the most expensive part of business as with chip fabs.

If wages are being driven to the lowest denominator then who can afford to buy what businesses sale?

People elsewhere. This, after all, is the whole point of globalization. Not only can a company make use of labor in whatever region it's cheapest and least regulated, they can take the fruits of that labor and retail it halfway across the globe in the region who will pay the most for it. The beasuty of globalization (for companies) is that they no longer need to worry about whether their employees will be able to afford what the company produces, because the company isn't selling to it's employees, it's selling to a totally different group of consumers.

And those other consumers work for other companies doing the same thing. A company may not have to be concerned with whether it's workers can afford the product or service but they still had to be concerned about whether any anywhere can afford them. And if all the companies are trying to get by with paying as low as they can for labor then they are still left with "who can afford it?"

How stable is your government now that it's caving to international business demands for poorer labor standards, less restrictions on corporate pollution, etc? How much more likely are you or your kids to die of cancer ever since those great-paying new factory jobs opened up down the street?

Actually in India and China, it's the citizens that were behind the push to develop economically. Chinese leaders knew they had to develop a strong economy otherwise they faced a rebellion from citizens. The Cultural Revolution [wikipedia.org] was a failure and ended when the Gang of Four [wikipedia.org] fell. The Communist Party knew China had to develop the economy, so they eased up on business. Not only that but they also converted some party facilities into businesses.

These are the problems that the Indias and Chinas of the world struggle with, and despite our best intentions, globalization is hurting the people - especially the poor people - who live there.

In one sense this is true, as the Chinese are learning. In cities with manufacturers and many vehicles health care costs are going high because China is becoming a disaster environmentally, with polluted air and water as well as shortages of water. And so while they aren't doing enough, some thngs they're doing is making it worse, they are trying to cleanup the environment.

Ne how, ne how ma?

Falcon

Re:low wages (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16500821)

I think this discussion is just about played out, but I wanted to make one more point:

A company may not have to be concerned with whether it's workers can afford the product or service but they still had to be concerned about whether any anywhere can afford them.

This really is the position of many "pro-business" globalization advocates. They believe that even though irresponsible and exploitive behavior in poor countries doesn't affect their customers or their bottom line, companies will refrain from it because they realize that if enough companies exploit enough different regions, it will end up coming back around and harming all the the companies.

CEOs, while they may be very skilled in certain areas, are not that far-sighted or community-minded. You do not become a successful corporation by telling your stockholders "we decided not to exploit cheap overseas labor because we want to stabilize the international economy for all of us". Capitalism just doesn't seem to work that way. The fact is, CEOs in the US are realizing very rapidly that they can offshore their labor, manufacturing, and other unpleasant processes to areas where they will never (or at least very, very rarely) have to face the consequenses of their policies, be they industrial disasters, worker exploitation, anti-competitive dealings, etc. This is a CEO's dream, and one can hardly be surprised that they are taking advantage of it more and more everyday.

If you choose to put faith in the wisdom of giant organizations whose sole objective is profit-making to preserve a reasonable society, I guess that's your call. But to me, that's just as naive as trusting a power-hungry government to do the same.

faith in business (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16509163)

If you choose to put faith in the wisdom of giant organizations whose sole objective is profit-making to preserve a reasonable society, I guess that's your call. But to me, that's just as naive as trusting a power-hungry government to do the same.

I don't put my faith in anything, I don't have any faith, not even religious faith. The closest I get is in science, however science requires verification of results and peer reviews. Sceince can be and is constantly tested. So it's not real faith, it doesn't require blind acceptance.

Falcon

Re:Who cares ... (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483395)

I think it works like this. If nobody in the third world is using computers, then there is no demand. If you increase the number of people in Africa using computers, rather through outsourcing or otherwise, then you have increased the demand for computers, software, and other high tech devices that did not previously exist. By bringing the third world up the the level of the first world, we increase demand for a whole plethora of items which there was previously less demand for. My only fear is what will happen to the world if the average person starts using as much resources as the average american. Can the world sustain 6 billion people when they are all using that many resources?

Re:Who cares ... (1)

stephenbooth (172227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483475)

Wages will rise in whichever, currently, 'Third World' country the jobs move to until such time as another region has the combination of a skilled population and low standard (and therefore cost) of living who can be employed for less. At that point the jobs will move on again and the cycle starts over. Eventually the, currently,. 'First World' countries will be the new 'Third World'. In all likelyhood the rate of job migration will increase and the period of time jobs spend in one particular location will decrease as leaders of countries with a low standard of living realise that an easy way to get (short term, at least) economic growth is to throw some money at training up the population in the skills they need to take jobs from another country then run some adverts about how you have a load of highly skilled people who will work for a fraction of the wages of the people currently doing the jobs.

The dominant economic models currently in use (indeed that have been in use for at least the last few hundred years) rely on their being pools of cheap labour that can be exploited to produce goods which are then sold at a huge mark up in more affluent areas. Whether those goods are cotton finished goods, tea or software, the model is the same.

Stephen

job migration (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16493597)

Wages will rise in whichever, currently, 'Third World' country the jobs move to until such time as another region has the combination of a skilled population and low standard (and therefore cost) of living who can be employed for less. At that point the jobs will move on again and the cycle starts over.

That's what Mexico found out. NAFTA created some jobs in Mexico at first because of lower employment costs, but then they saw jobs outsourced to China with even lower employment costs.

Falcon

Re:Who cares ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16482713)

Cheap shoes.

It gores both ways (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482755)

People in the First World complain because we are driving their wages downward, but what is being lost is globalization is driving wages and employment standards in the third world upward.

Sure, the wages are low compared to here. Sure, the employment standards are lower. But change does not happen overnight - the amount of improvements seen over the last 25 years are more than were seen in the first 50 years of the industrial revolution in the first world.

Eventually, what will happen is the wages and employment standards of the entire world will meet somewhere in the middle. Then, they will only go up, as competition for skilled labour drives them that way.

You have to think long term - like on the 50-100 year scale.

Re:It gores both ways (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482821)

"Eventually, what will happen is the wages and employment standards of the entire world will meet somewhere in the middle. Then, they will only go up, as competition for skilled labour drives them that way.

You have to think long term - like on the 50-100 year scale."

That still doesn't make the transition period for those who lost their jobs, or just wasted years in college into a (now) lower wage field with massive 1st world debt any easier.

And I doubt the world will really meet in the middle, corporations have it in their interest to move on as soon as the next batch of cheap workers in another country become available, and then most likely your future children (or childrens children) will be on the other side of the coin.

Re:It gores both ways (2, Interesting)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482893)

I really don't care about the 50-100 year scale. Is it a little selfish? Yes. But on that scale, it means that I went to college for no reason, since I could have gotten a low-paying job right out of high school. It would have skipped the few years in college and the few years working in the business only to have my job moved to somewhere the people will work for cheaper.

In the best case (50 years), I hopefully won't be working. But if I'm working low-paying jobs because the ones that I studied for are moving away/getting much more competition than anyone ever hoped for, I probably still will be working at that point, as I doubt that the cost of living will drop as quickly as the jobs move away.

In the worst case (100 years), I'll be dead.

So, no, I really don't care if the world becomes an equal playing field after 50-100 years if it means 50-100 years that my family and I suffer trying to make ends meet.

Re:It gores both ways (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483177)

Yeah, if you only care about money then it was wasted. You should have gotten an MBA and stuffed your nose up someone's ass.

Me, I don't really care about how much I make as long as I can do what I love and have enough to live on.

Re:It gores both ways (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483525)

I'm with you there. If you want to make money, get an MBA, become an accountant, become a lawyer, or a doctor or do something along those lines. Tech is not for people who just want to make money. If you aren't going to enjoy it, there's places where you can make much more money than in the tech industry. If you enjoy working in tech, well, stop worrying about how much money you make, because you are most likely making a pretty good living. You may not be making $100,000 a year, but neither are most other people.

Re:It gores both ways (1)

ClosedSource (238333) | more than 7 years ago | (#16488439)

Nobody said tech is for people who just want to make money. On the other hand, nobody goes to college and majors in Engineering or CS without an expectation of a decent salary. It's just too expensive, difficult, and time consuming an effort to do strictly for "love". Those student loans have to be paid off by somebody.

Re:It gores both ways (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483791)

I don't only care about money. I love tech. If I had no other worries in the world, I'd probably sit around and program all day. But when I can't get a house because I the companies don't pay enough to afford one where I'm living, then I have an issue with it. That's my prime issue.. not having enough to live on.

Re:It gores both ways (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483291)

Have you ever thought of getting laid and having children? and maybe get to meet your grand children too?
If you don't get to see the future, they will. But by the way you speak, it is clear that you haven't.

Re:It gores both ways (1)

chrismcdirty (677039) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483843)

I am getting laid, in fact. And I'm getting married next year. I plan on having a child or two, but I would most definitely not bring a child into this world if I could not afford to feed it, clothe it, and give it a chance to survive and prosper. Hence the statement I made about my family suffering for 50-100 years.

A lot of people mention that you can just move if you can't afford to live where you currently are, but that costs money. It's hard to get up in move when you've got debts accrued and you're just starting out with real jobs. And it's especially hard to save money while paying debts and paying the cost of living.

Re:It gores both ways (1)

quandrum (652868) | more than 7 years ago | (#16490437)

This is not the way it should have worked.

In the appropriate world, we all are properly educated to higher levels. Our dirty or repetitive jobs get shipped to the third world and we get better jobs. 200 year ago we were selling agrarian and textile goods to the world. We industrialized and made better products. 100 years ago we were selling manufactured goods to the world.

And today? Our current account deficit grows every day. Instead of coming up with new products and ideas, we buy them from Japan, China and Europe. Instead of educating, we complain about the loss of jobs we don't really want.

Why does America cry the loudest about globalization? Because we're the furthest behind. We refuse to do stem cell research or build particle accelerators.

It didn't have to be this way....

Re:It gores both ways (1)

Bat_Masterson (250306) | more than 7 years ago | (#16490513)

You presume that the world can achieve "full" employment. I'm beginning to wonder if that is truly possible. As artificial intelligence and automation rise, the number of jobs in the low-end diminishes. It's not likely that high-end jobs will ever be plentiful to the point of providing a job for everyone in the world.

US Trade Deficit will never die (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16496909)

People in the 3rd world do not and never will buy anything from the United States.

What they buy is US stuff made in factories abroad.

That means no matter how much East India's or Africa's income rises, it will never create a rise in any jobs in the US - not until our wages are rock bottom - in which case even US citizens will be unable to buy much.

I for one do not support making everyone else rich while my country's working class withers at the vine of globalism.

outsourcing (1)

falconwolf (725481) | more than 7 years ago | (#16493057)

explain to me again what is good about driving wages and working conditions down to third world levels.

Some domestic wages may go down but third world wages go up, they then are able to spend more there which has a positive effect on their local economy which further improves because others will benefit as well. The trick is knowing what fields are good to be in, that won't get outsourced, or what domestic jobs will be created.

Falcon

eliminate the middleman... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483533)

..and increase efficiency at the same time! Work smarter, and why waste time? 50 to 100 years is way too long to achieve these noble goals! Just pick your nearest globalist multimillionaire "trader" and donate all your salary to him so he can become a billionaire! Oh wait, you don't care about your job, it's gonenow, so no salary to donate...hmm. Move out into your car first, sell your house, then donate that money. Oh rats, no place to live and now you just have a car...well, you can drive around and look for another job high paying quality job... hmm, no money for gas, have to park the car and put a for sale sign on that too.

Let me know how that plan works out for you, you can always post from the local library for free after you walk there, if you are strong enough snagging those tasty dumpster meals on the way.

Globalization is crap until the protections in the physical world can match the economic protections of just shifting capital around that the fatcats get. Ask those gents if they will drop your mortgage rates down and lower your other physical costs in tune with them forcing you into a lesser paying job, or if they will pick up all the slack with some socialist pay for everything safety net scheme.

It's a scam designed to make the rich even richer and that's about it. Now fair trade could work, but this free trade won't, and there is a huge difference. The already rich want free trade, because they are set no matter what, they aren't going to do without the necessary to pay their housing and food and transportation and such like, but YOU will face loss of all of that to go to make them richer. And those folks over there? Same deal, a few years of marginally better pay, until the globalistrs yank the rug out from under them and go elsewhere. It's already happened in north america, a lot of jobs got outsourced to mexico, then after a few years tons of them got moved out from there to asia, leaving those folks high and dry. Ignoring a living wage and letting agriculture get dependent on imported cheap serf labor resulted in millions of campesinos losing their own little places in mexico and broke up families.

I have no idea why so many white collar guys can't smell a rat, short memories I guess. globalization is the race to the bottom and a global two class society, 1% masters, the rest all low paid serfs. Wake up and smell the astroturfing from wall street. Do you remember that little video clip when the great decider was interviewing that lady who had to work three jobs to just stay afloat? THREE jobs? he said "how wonderful, only in america where you can have the opportunity to work three jobs" Uhh, she used to pay the bills with ONE job.

Re:Who cares ... (1)

chroot_james (833654) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483893)

Altruism is for the weak.

OS (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482473)

Open Source? Is that a new religion?

New? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483029)

It's been one of the major religions of Slashdot for years.

Re:OS (1)

PHPfanboy (841183) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483051)

Amen, brother, Amen.

You get what you pay for?!? (4, Insightful)

tf23 (27474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482489)

I was recently hired for a short spell to help someone develop a website. It appears they started the project (they're a US Company, based in NY) by hiring a developer from Africa at $10/hour. Now, I would presume for some parts of Africa $10/hr is good money, while others maybe not so much. However, here in Ohio (US), that's squat.

They got into a bind, their developer didn't know what he should know (or, rather, needed to know for this project, possibly not his fault) and ended up contacting me. First wanting my help/advise for free, because, well, the website is based on an open source project I participate in. At first a few questions here or there is fine, but after a while, finding out it's a for-profit venture, enough is enough. I balked at the continued "free help".

First they complained they're only making $10/hr. Later, they begrudgingly offered me half my going rate. Again, I baulked. Eventually they antied up the full rate, and I worked with them till they had a hardware disaster and gave up.

Moral of the story? Globalization of IT is difficult; The language barriers and the difference in time-zones can be frustrating and complex. The difference in pay can be astounding.

However, Globalization rather scares me more then not. Looking at what happened to me, the company seemingly purposefully went out and hired a developer, in Africa, just to save money so they didn't have to pay an American, who'd require more pay. My only saving grace was that this developer they hired didn't know as much as me (and especially didn't know as much related to the open source project's code they were using).

But one day, he may (or will)! Then what? Any US company can hire him, at a far lower wage then what I require (to feed/cloth my family as they currently are, etc etc). Where does that leave me? Scrambling for a job/career that has steady employment from which I can sustain this lifestyle.

I don't relate this experience to complain about the un-named company that hired me, nor the across the globe developer. I bring this up to tell my story of a project which was global in nature and which, after experiencing it, leaves me skeptical regarding IT's future in higher cost of living countries.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (5, Insightful)

RetlawST (997563) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482539)

The thing is, as he starts to learn more, he'll be worth more. We're learning that in India right now as more IT professionals are becoming competitive, threatening to take their knowledge elsewhere if companies don't pony up. While this is still considerably less than workers in the US, it just underlines the fact that knowledgeable people are a commodity and the more you know, the more you're worth.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (1)

xappax (876447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16486253)

people are a commodity and the more you know, the more you're worth

What this means is that all (say) DBAs with a certain level of proficiency, all over the world, are worth the same. This may seem neat and clean, but it's actually a real problem. Although multinational corps may see the world as one big market, the world is not a vast homogenous pool of workers/consumers. There are many differences between regions, both econonic and cultural, that restrict who can work where, and for how much.

If, for example, you're not a native english speaker, you have far less access to US jobs, even if you study english hard as an adult (you'll still have an accent and probably trouble with grammar). Or, if you live somewhere where there's a high cost of living, you'll have no access to jobs which pay third-world wages (which will be almost all of them). These boundaries restrict who an employee can work for, but not who a corporation can employ.

The bottom line is that globalization gives tremendous power to the CEOs and bosses of companies, while leaving employees both in the developing world and the first world to fight it out for their scraps.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482557)

Don't you mean 'lower cost of living countries'? It seems it's pretty clear... You get what you pay for. If you try to hire someone for a fraction of what it's worth (in your country), you get someone that doesn't know what they are doing and needs to be helped constantly. The same as if you'd hired someone locally for that price.

There are exceptions, I understand that.

But my company outsources some of it's programming work to India, and it's been nothing but headaches on anything larger than a simple script. It's gotten to the point that, like you saw, they ask me for help on their problems instead of trying to figure them out on their own.

I have to wonder, though... Did they REALLY have a 'hardware crash', or did they realize they had spent more on the project than they had earned, and saw no way to fix it? It's not that they are stupid, it's just that they try to do jobs they aren't qualified for because the pay is so good. The same thing happens here in the US, but the market is fairly stable, and they don't last long. IT is booming overseas, and there's many more jobs than qualified people to fill them.

I see this getting worse before it gets better.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (2, Insightful)

trojjan (994851) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482717)

IT is booming overseas, and there's many more jobs than qualified people to fill them.

I completely agree. Right now the situation in India is that the companies are almost hiring anyone that can read and write as 'programmers' because a lot of work is being outsourced to them. Although what you are being paid is quite low even by Indian standards(somewhere around Rs 200,000 i.e around $4.5K a year). I don't see how long can this continue, these people aren't magically going to turn super intelligent and I don't think the low quality of work is really acceptable.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (2, Interesting)

tf23 (27474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482881)

Don't you mean 'lower cost of living countries'?

Actually, no, I didn't. I'm skeptical about the future of IT labor in countries which are established and have a much higher cost of living. When a US company can hire someone (with equivalent skills, knowledge, experience) across the globe at half my rate, and they can only do this because this person's cost of living isn't even half that of mine, that scares me.

you get someone that doesn't know what they are doing and needs to be helped constantly. The same as if you'd hired someone locally for that price.

True, geographic location doesn't limit boneheaded hiring decisions :)

Did they REALLY have a 'hardware crash'

As far as I could tell, yes. It turns out they were _not_ using CVS, SVN (tho both were recommended), and weren't backing anything up. The drive died on their development server, p00f, all gone. Moral of the story, as usual: backup!

they don't last long. I IT is booming overseas, and there's many more jobs than qualified people to fill them.

Sounds like history repeating itself huh? Just a few years ago it was the same here. Thankfully there's been a lot of burn out of the "underqualified" who tried to jump the IT bandwagon and never had the aptitude to begin with.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483105)

Sounds like history repeating itself huh? Just a few years ago it was the same here. Thankfully there's been a lot of burn out of the "underqualified" who tried to jump the IT bandwagon and never had the aptitude to begin with.
Yeah thats my experience as well. You would be surprise how many people interview, and cannot write a piece of code to average an array of integers. Everybody else - the people that have aptitude - have no problems finding jobs despite all the brouhaha over outsourcing.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483937)

"When a US company can hire someone (with equivalent skills, knowledge, experience) across the globe at half my rate, and they can only do this because this person's cost of living isn't even half that of mine, that scares me."

Can they really, though? Reliably? I mean, it's -possible- to hire someone like that here in the US. It just isn't likely. I think the same is true there. For a while, the US managed to underpay overseas people for their work. They have now 'advertised' themselves by allowing themselves to be underpaid and are working on raising those rates. Maybe they aren't even doing it with that goal in mind, but as each one of them proves themselves worthy, they go find a better paying job... Just like here.

Their rates won't reach as high as ours do because there are other factors to deal with, including a language barrier and a public perception that 'outsourcing is wrong'.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (4, Insightful)

dmayle (200765) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482703)

Any US company can hire him, at a far lower wage then what I require

I must admit, I see this attitude so often here on Slashdot, sometimes it really astounds me. I live in France, where we also have problems with this kind of attitude.

What do you do when no companies will hire you at a price you find reasonable??? There are a couple of options:

  • Whine and complain on Slashdot
  • Go on unemployment, and then get the media to be interested in your hard-luck case
  • Do something about it:
    • Move
    • Start your own company

Really, people, globalization is not the end of the world. Not only that, but people in open source are poised to reap the greatest advantages of globalization. People living in lesser economies simply can't afford the prices of proprietary software from G8 countries. This leaves them with three options: 1) Build it themselves, 2) Pirate it, 3) Open Source.

This means more users, more coders, and eventually, more money . It's quite simple, folks. If you wanna give out free advice, that's your choice, but until localized support is in place, it's up to them to learn from the source, at your rates.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (1)

trojjan (994851) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482749)

This leaves them with three options: 1) Build it themselves, 2) Pirate it, 3) Open Source.

1.Build it themselves, there aren't enough resources for doing that.
2.Open source, it is slowly gaining ground but its too slow to make an effect till now
3.Pirate it, thats what's happening, piracy is perhaps the biggest reason for computer usage here.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (1)

tf23 (27474) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482815)

this kind of attitude

There's no attitude in what I wrote - it was a statement of fact. His cost of living is far lower then mine.

Whine and complain on Slashdot

I'd say you're the one whining.

Do something about it: Move, Start your own company

Yes, both of those are doable, for most people. For me, moving isn't an option (kids, schools, sick parent). But I did do your 2nd suggestion there, a few years ago. It's of that where my story originates.

but until localized support is in place, it's up to them to learn from the source, at your rates.

I think that's part of the "debate". It used to be you wanted labor, you looked local to you (geographically). "Local" with globalization is becoming everywhere. Yet, with that there is no direct cost of living relationship.

And what happens once they've learned? There is now more competition for you - with which, at your income, at your tax level you may not be able to compete. If this were to continue on, you'd find quite a few jobless people. And jobless people cannot pay taxes. Yes, I'm generalizing, but hopefully you get the idea.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (2, Insightful)

Fire Dragon (146616) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483155)

And what happens once they've learned? There is now more competition for you - with which, at your income, at your tax level you may not be able to compete. If this were to continue on, you'd find quite a few jobless people. And jobless people cannot pay taxes. Yes, I'm generalizing, but hopefully you get the idea.

Usually what happens when people learn skill to do their job, their market value increases. They get more work that they can handle with their original rate. Usually smart people understand that they make the same by raising their rate and losing some customers for others working cheaper.

To get local jobs, you have to lower your rates until they start to be better deals for skills and services you provide for your local customer. Once the rates around the world start going up, you may also raise your rates. While waiting you better start to increase your skills to offer better service. Most customers know to look for quality/cost ration instead of cheapest price tag.

I used to be programmer, now I do maintenance and design for local customers and programming has gone to somewhere in India. There starts to be local programming jobs availeble after few silent years, customers are coming back to their local suppliers for the service they can provide for current rates.

Globalization has some bad effects if you happen to be too greedy. Due the globalization local rates have gone down, but so has the living cost, mainly thanks to cheap imported goods.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16488639)

"Once the rates around the world start going up, you may also raise your rates"

You just don't hold your breath till then. It will stand this way for *decades* and it well might not happen *ever*. Just look at the automotion market. It's a few decades Detroit lost his grip. Do you really expect Detroit to become competitive again on this field any time soon because "world automotion rates started going up"?

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16484195)

I'd say you're the one whining.

It's no surprise as the French are known for their whine. ;)

You're an idiot (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16497033)

If you start your own company you stand to be undermined by lower paid independent contractors, or corporations run by lower paid managers and CEOs.

Every single last person working for IT's corporate America today - from the programmer to the CEO - can be outsourced and replaced by lower paid counterparts.

Every
single
last
person.

Then America will no longer have an IT workforce and our skillset will descend into 3rd world status.

That is, if we follow your advice.

Hugely simplified overview (1)

Shaper_pmp (825142) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483123)

Welcome to globalisation.

Globalisation can be a good or a bad thing - if you can hire from anywhere in the world, then everywhere in the world is competing for the same jobs.

Initially, thanks to the vast disparity in economies, engineers from the developing world can generally undercut their western equivalents. However, thanks to shared cultural values, better education, easier communication and easier contact/oversight western (well, in-country) engineers can generally offer better service and/or solutions.

Companies have to pay overseas contractors more than (say) local pig-herding does, or the well of third-world IT contractors will dry up. Eventually these increased wages will cause inflation in the local economy, prices will rise and eventually workers in the (previously-)third-world will expect similar wages, costs and lifestyle to westerners.

At this (idyllic) point it will cost the same to hire a village full of technonatives in the Ngoro Ngoro crater as it will be hire Ted and his consultancy team from down the road, everyone will compete solely on service and ability and command a comparable quality of life, and the cream will rise to the top.

However:

The less companies pay foreign workers the less effect their pay has on their local economy, so the slower the equalisation happens. This means the less companies pay their foreign contractors, the longer they carry on getting cheap service. Companies will therefore keep paying the bare minimum they have to, since it's in their best interests.

If companies fixate on price and ignore quality, western engineers may well find themselves effectively out of a job long before foreign workers are commanding comparable wages, or even (typically) offering comparable service. Amusingly enough, this also exports money from the western company's economy to the foreign worker's economy, meaning that the western companies are not only strangling western engineers, but also (mildly) the entire western country's economy.

If companies prioritise quality they'll (generally, currently) stay using western engineers, and will only start outsourcing when foreign engineers are trained to a similar pitch of education, service-giving and cultural understanding. This will slow the rate of money-loss to foreign economies, but will minimise disruption in the western country's economy.

Distressingly, any company with the usual PHB quotient seems to prioritise cost and pretty much ignore quality, so unless things change we can pretty much draw the line from here to the point where it's financially difficult to be a "western" engineer working in a western country. You already see this trend with the number of western engineers moving to India where they can get paid less but still make (comparatively) much more due to the lower costs.

The only hope for the western engineer is that the (currently, generally) worse service of foreign consultants influences western companies back away from outsourcing. Again, there are hints this could happen, for example with some UK banks and corporations very publically getting rid of their third-world call-centres and replacing them with domestic native speakers.

Which way could it go? Either way.

Which way will it go? You pays yer money and takes yer choice.

What should you think of outsourcing? Well, it depends whether you prioritise cost or quality, whether you're a western or foreign engineer, and whether you value gentle evolution towards equality or whether you're an "as fast as possible, screw the fallout" type of person.

The ultimate result of equalising affluence and quality-of-life between the west and the developing world is a noble and good one, and to any good engineer the idea of competing solely on merits should be attractive.

The trick is to get there without financially fucking western engineers, without causing too many meltdowns due to poor IT services, and without the problems souring companies on outsourcing forever.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (1)

savio13 (995182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483897)

The 'horror' stories about 'Indian programmers' are interesting because I wonder why Indian outsourcing providers like Infosys [yahoo.com] and Tata Consulting [tcs.com] are doing so well if 'Indian programmers' as a whole are not able to deliver what Western clients expect. Or why companies like IBM, Intel, Oracle and Microsoft are investing heavily in the region.

We had/have a team of engineers working in India on WAS CE and many of them also contributed to Apache Geronimo. I don't remember a situation that was caused by a lack of skill or experience on their part.

I'm not discounting any of the bad experiences that people have had with overseas programmers. But the West has had a very big head start with computer science compared to Asia, and how long until the gap is narrowed? India already has a goal of shifting from a large consumer of open source technology to being a major contributor of OSS. Something that is already beginning to happen with Sri Lanka....
"Apache Axis2 is the first piece of middleware that has been largely created in Sri Lanka. This is not outsourcing- this is rock solid innovation all the way from the other side of the world. Apache Axis2 is not a brainded implementation of some JCP specs- in fact, we rejected the JCP specs and created our own way of doing things: not because of arrogance, but because those JCP specs don't quite cut it technically. It is innovation in its rawest form." Source: http://www.bloglines.com/blog/sanjiva?id=128 [bloglines.com]

Savio [wordpress.com]

Please don't feel sorry for yourself (1)

rve (4436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484161)

I'm sorry, but when the unskilled workers saw their jobs move overseas, did educated people such as you or me so anything more than shrug? If they had put in a little more effort in school, they wouldn't have been in that situation right? We basically told them not to whine and develop some new skills.

So today we, educated people, buy Chinese made affordable clothes, gadgets and doodads at very low prices, and we have an incredibly high standard of living as a result: our income buys us far more luxury than a simple techie could afford 50 years ago.

Now the tables are turned, and we discover that people in the 3rd world can actually do more than just unskilled labor. Should that surprise us? I say good for them. The happy time is over, we can either adapt to performing our magic for normal mediocre office drone wages, or learn some new skills. A software company in India may be able to write your software for us, but designing it is still best done here, in close contact with the customer, rather than a 12 hour flight and a half dozen timezones away.

Re:You get what you pay for?!? (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484351)

The difference in time zone can be complex, but it can also be wonderful. Leave for the day after having sent issues 1-10 to the manager in India, and come back at 8am the next day with issues 1-10 resolved. Like anything else, you have to know what you're doing to manage an outsourced project like this. If you're just doing it to cut $40/hr to $10/hr with no consideration for the extra overhead costs required, you're probably not ready to do this...

Cooperation more than competition (1)

m0llusk (789903) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482639)

People always compete with each other individually and in teams. What the global open source movement does is expand opportunity. Lowering barriers to entry is key to being able to quickly and effectively set up teams large and skilled enough to take on genuinely challenging objectives. There is a vast supply of business opportunities even if one restricts possible domains arbitrarily, for example to focus on humanitarian crises.

This is a case where slicing the pie differently causes it to grow, thereby stretching that analogy to its limits.

Re:Cooperation more than competition (1)

argoff (142580) | more than 7 years ago | (#16487503)

I'm glad you mentioned that, because while I keep hearing about this global outsourcing threat, I never seem to experience it. In fact, just a few decades ago, it used to cost over 100 million to roll out a competitive OS. Now I can roll my own OS in a matter of minutes from my desktop. When I was a kid, calls just 200 miles away would cost over 25 cents per minute, now they are less than 3 cents per minute using VOIP asterisk to the other side of the planet. CRM solutions that used to cost $30000 are now free. In many cases, by using open source my costs are minimal compaired to what people are used to.

When push comes to shove, companies don't hire people to provide software, they hire people to provide services. They are far more interested in things like "if my phone system crashes will I have someone on site to diagnose it immediately" then they are with things like "you cost this much per hour while a developer in india cost that much". They are far more interested in things like, "I need my computers to do this and that for me, tell me the costs, pros and cons" and me being right there to tell them in plain english immediately. With open source, I have millions of dollars worth of pre developed stuff that I can make working prototypes with in a matter of hours. That hyper producitivity more than offsets the competition 10 timezones away.

One more thing. Ths US dollar is overvalued and has too much debt attached to it. Eventually things, especially pay, will re-adjust with what they pay overseas. At which time the US is more than capable of competing against China and India head on because we have more infrastructure, more economic freedoms, and a culture more adjusted to free markets, the industrial revolution, and the information age. So how do we survive the transtition, simple, get out of debt no matter what and buy lots of silver and gold while your US dollars are still overvalued. A person who plays this right could bet rich from the transition, not get put out of a job.

This guy seems to make several unreal assumptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16482677)

First and foremost he seems to assume that there are a cadre of talented programmers who will work on any piece of open source software you put out. That isn't true, there are a lot of talented developers out there, but they tend to work on stuff they are either a) interested in or b) paid to do.

Secondly, he seems to assume that the community will always support you. You don't have to poke around sourceforge very long till you find out there are tons of projects that haven't been updated in years. Community support can and does wane(of course the most popular projects are somewhat immune to this, but those are a small percentage of the total). Your random app for your business probably won't soar into the most popular category. So what do you do when the community decides they are no longer interested in you?

Finally, what happens when the community realizes you are just using them to get free IT work out of them?

Re:This guy seems to make several unreal assumptio (1)

PHPfanboy (841183) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483073)

Yes. The big assumption comes at the end of the article:

"the leading open source object database db4o"

db4o is the database which the least amount of people have heard of. We lead in small market share!
It's great to lead and I love it when engineers try marketing :-P

Globalization in IT is the 'better' Globalization (1)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482779)

Globalization in IT is the 'better' Globalization - because it levels faster. A guy in india that has reliable broadband, a working development pipeline, good planning skills and team good enough to compensate for the spacial and timezone distance will ask about as much as I do (living in germany). The cost to maintain his infrastructure in india, is a about as much as mine here, allthough distributed differently.
It's like I said earlier this year: I wouldn't panic to much. Globalisation is allmost once around the globe by now. It only takes so long for countries to arrive at a simular level as others. Especially when both are racing for the true bottom line. The ones from the top and the others from the bottom. Ten years ago Taiwan was the lowest bidder in the bicyce business. Now their luxury and the bikes are built in vietnam. Not before long Gary Fisher will have a team welding somewhere in the US again.

With IT and OSS it's all the same. Only does it happen a tad faster than everything else.

Globalization is generally bad (1)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482891)

because it drives prices here in the U.S. down. While it may be nice and beneficial for 3rd world and developing nations, they should build up their own economies without tearing down mine. That's not a troll or flamebait, but being a US citizen, I am primarily concerned with how things affect the US. I'm sure the citizens of India put India's welfare at the top of their list, and they probably see globalization as a good thing. Many of the world's economies are in trouble because they want to be. France for example, had riots in the street not too long ago because the government wanted to allow employers to be able to fire employees without going to court for approval (and only during the first two years of employment). They can switch to a free(er) market economy any time they want to. They like entitlements. The line in the article about "global opportunities" is nice, but the reality is most of those opportunities are in the U.S. already. The net result is a definite negative when you have some many other people entering that market, and not enough "opportunities" to maintain the balance.

not why open source works... (1)

Daytona955i (448665) | more than 7 years ago | (#16482939)

Open source works because people who are passionate about developing software can work on software projects that interest them. The internet helps connect people with similar interests, no matter where they may live.

While I'm sure most of these people would love to get paid to do what they do for free, there are a lot of bad coders out there who just code for the money. (Yes, I'm sure there are also good programmers who just code for money as well but that's not my point.)

Now third world countries will be drawn to this because to them it will be a lot of money, other countries, who are better educated, will balk at the wages offered.

Keep Rollin out the shit - good for me :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16483043)

LOL I would like a dollar for every horror story I have heard from people Hiring Indian "programmers"... It is good for me cause they get a taste of how crap Indian programmers are and soon return to "real" pro's (with money in hand) mwwwwhaaaaahahahahahaha!

What about immigration? (1, Insightful)

plopez (54068) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483689)

What if someone wants to move to a place with lower wages but much lower cost of living? Are we going to address this? There can be no true free labor and job market until labor can freely migrate after jobs. That is where the inequities are. Borders must be open otherwise true globalization can never happen.

Re:What about immigration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16487251)

That is the dumbest idea I've seen so far in this discussion.
You're either a teen or a communist, aren't you? Same magnitude of IQ...

Three letters. (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483813)

Do you see the corporations you are familiar with embracing or fighting this concept?
Three letters.


I
B
M

I think you just described about a third their corporate vision.

Opposites (1)

YetAnotherBob (988800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16483917)

Open Source requires transparency, corporations require secrecy. Not until corporations realize that software is a cost center, not a profit center for them will they embrace free software. The large profits to be made are more in use of the product than in marketing it.

Open Source is just a path to Free Software (libre).

Like major shifts in science, this will be generational. Expect it to take a couple of lifetimes.

Globalization - Short Term Pain, Long Term Gain (2, Insightful)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484007)

Sound like a management mantra, but it's true. Globalization sucks for the people caught in the middle today (the high-tech workers who actually directly drove up the price of tech workers during the dot-com boom) and will continue to. There are two sides to the story, though and that is that in losing a little in the "first-world countries" we are actually pulling the "third-world countries" up to our level.

However, there are problems that I think people are only now beginning to see. For a start in India in general now that a small percentage of the populous has suddenly become relatively well paid, the cost of items in the economy is going up. This either forces the majority of the population to get increases in pay relative to the increasing cost or they run the risk of destroying the economy of their own country. Increase in wealth must be managed or it risks the entire economy. India is starting to learn this.

Now, so long as it's all managed properly then India will be bought up to the level of the US in terms of quality of life, cost of living and so forth (well, maybe a little lower), then their jobs will all be offshored to some other country and so the cycle begins again. Over time this will have a generally levelling effect and will result in a world that is better placed to actually improve the lives of those living on the Earth rather than in-fighting and bickering. This is generally a good thing.

The utopia envisioned by science fiction writers for years will not come about without a great deal of pain. There's going to be a great wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the economies of the first world countries will crumble. The high-horse that the West has ridden for centuries has finally run itself out, and we're all going to feel the pinch.

There are ways to make sure you survive through this; be flexible. Be ready to work where and doing whatever it takes to make ends meet and support your own families. Don't get too attached to the "everything on credit" lifestyle to which we in the West have become accustomed, that lifestyle is going to end in a huge and extremely ugly crash. The foundation of this crash was founded in the early 1970's when the dollar value was seperated from gold. Then with the additional weight of the effect of networking and decentralization on top of that it will lead to a complete crash of our lifestyle. I don't know if it will happen in our lifetimes, but I really believe it will happen.

We're in a new market now where our jobs can be done anywhere. This is going to lead to a short term situation where jobs will migrate away from the West. We can't prevent it. We can complain about it, and we can whine about it but the best we're going to do is delay it and in doing so make the crash that much worse when it comes.

Yes, I've been hit by globalization myself but even I have to realize that the future is going to change radically. Many are going to hate it, I don't claim to like the short term picture myself... but I have to accept it. In fact, as one of the drivers in the dot-com boom and the decentralization projects of large companies I also have to claim a certain amount of responsibility. Many of us on Slash do. We wanted this brave new world where the Internet made things possible like improving the lot of others in the world. Well, now our visions are becoming a reality... but the utopian vision we had has a down side that we're all feeling.

Get used to it, or complain about it... but we can't prevent it. Not now. Not ever.

Consulting (1)

mattwarden (699984) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484285)

I work for a large consulting firm, and we do it all the time, but only in areas where we have "US" offices. For example, we might have an Indian wing of the firm, but we only deal with the US wing's office in India. We send US consultants over there to manage developers we hire into that office. We also send developers to US.

Engineers do NOT like globalization (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484353)

To me, as an engineer, globalization means shoddy parts made by a fly-by-night shop in the darkest reaches of whichever backwater corner has the lowest wages. Long lead times, shoddy workmanship, and low levels of accountability. This applies to hard parts and "soft goods" like drafting, analysis, etc.


Ohhhhh. He meant programmers like globalization. Yeah. Thats different. I guess it's possible.

I'll say it so you don't have to: (1)

TheGrapeApe (833505) | more than 7 years ago | (#16484587)

I am constantly astounded by the vigor with which some seemingly otherwise intelligent programmers pick up the Open Source banner and run with it.

Open Source is better for the world-at-large. Make no mistake about it. The world-at-large is more productive for getting software for free. They can spend the money they would have spent on software on other things.

But how could you think that this is better for *programmers*? I *always* ask this of my fellow IT professionals and they *always* respond with some vague argument about how participating in Open Source projects will get you "recognized"...Well, in the sarcastic wrods of Homer Simpson "Look at me: I'm making people _happy_".

Someone please enlighten me. Explain to me how we, as programmers, are better off when the fruits of our labor are surrendered for free. I'm not saying it doesn't make the economy-at-large more productive...clearly it benefits all the people with "business" and "creative" degrees, and since there are more of them than us, it clearly benefits the "larger group", so to speak. But how does it make *us* better off? I'm not so engrossed in matrerialism that I think how much I make is the only thing that matters...but I find the idea that my reward for being part of a highly successful OS project might be getting "recognized" and maybe if I'm lucky getting hired on as a code monkey for some "creative" people that used what I worked so hard on for free very distasteful.

I really tried to embrace the idea of the OS movement, but because no one could answer those questions I have come to regard it, at best, an idea for a perfect society (one where *everyone*, not just programmers, works for the common good) that is tragically ahead of its time and at worst a pox on the profession of programming.

Re:I'll say it so you don't have to: (1)

bnenning (58349) | more than 7 years ago | (#16489909)

But how could you think that this is better for *programmers*?

In many cases, software and programmers are complements, not substitutes. What would the demand for web developers be if Apache and PHP cost $1000 per server?

How "open source" benefits me... (1)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 7 years ago | (#16509051)

I don't know how old you are, but once upon a time, one of the main ways a dedicated computer hobbyiest learned to program was by typing in code into the machine from a magazine - or by getting a floppy/tape of the code and loading it. At all steps (with the exception of some ML programs), you had the code, you could learn from it. In the business world it was similar: a lot of code was "passed around" (some legal, some not) on tapes (magnetic and paper), floppies, printouts and trade journals, for users to use and learn from.


Now, more often than not, this code was only "open source" in the fact that anyone could read and type it in. It was shareable. It wasn't, however, something you could typically make money off of, because if it wasn't copyrighted by the author, it was by the publisher (the magazine or book publisher). Still, it formed a corpus of knowledge that many other people could draw upon to help their business grow, or to learn to write their own (and then contribute it back, sometimes).

I look at open source as the evolution of this - a vast repository of code to help others, whether it is professionally, recreationally, or just to learn from. We don't have magazines anymore (Is Dr. Dobbs Journal still around?) to educate the next generation of programmers who may or may not be in school for the purpose, so the modern concept of Open Source fills that niche. I look upon writing open source as giving of myself to the next generation of software developers, for whatever my code is worth to them to learn from, just as I benefitted from the "open source" code in magazines of the past, which was a stepping stone on the way to where I am today. My open source is a method of "paying it forward", which while it doesn't help me directly, may in fact help someone I don't know - someone who may not even be born yet.

I can't say "thank you" to the past, so I might as well say it to the future...

Altruism..... really? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#16485565)

I have a slightly cynical view of the corporate world. In my experience, corporate powermongers are most likely to do what is simply the best for their bottom line. The backlash on outsourcing is happening as we speak, without regard to your opinions on the subject. India is outsourcing to China, and the chain of events just gets more complex. Globalization will simply be the final effect of managers chasing ever last bit of 'value for money' that they can find. While finance institutions may not want to share their software with others, those 'others' will build systems that are then bought by finance companies, and viola! software is shared.

The problem of driving wages up or down, and creating competitions for jobs is a rather complex equation. As a manager, do you want to hire a team (at 1/2 the cost of USA counterparts) then spend 80% of the savings trying to communicate, or simply spend the full cost of local workers and get to market faster? That, being the simplification of the issue, is further complicated because the 50% savings rarely remains that high. Soon after the outsourcing contract, those cheap workers will want higher wages, more benefits, etc.

There is not much room for altruism, it will be those chasing the almighty dollar that causes globalization.
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?