One look at the Facebook groups devoted to globalization and outsourcing will tell you that the question 'Is it happening?' has undeniably shifted to 'Is it good?'
Free From Corporate America:
Facts and Links about the Globalization of the White Collar Worker: Online Resources
In Free From Corporate America, the globalization of the white collar worker is treated as a basic assumption. In chapters like “The Real Risk is Working 9 to 5″, Free From Corporate America treats the globalization of the white collar worker as a philosophical starting point. The rest of the book is a response to this circumstance. However, there was a time when the impact of the global labor pool was hotly debated. The book intentionally avoids a “footnotes and research” tone, so this section of our web site provides more context for the issue of outsourcing and also points readers towards places online where they can continue this conversation.
The research for this section revealed that most articles on globalization and offshoring written in the past few years no longer cite hard evidence to convince readers of this trend in business practices: the fact that U.S. companies are outsourcing not only blue collar manufacturing jobs but also white collar “skilled labor” jobs is globally acknowledged. The hot topics now pertain to its advantages and disadvantages for American and foreign economies; if and how to create regulations for these practices; and how companies and individuals can learn to compete with a global perspective. One look at the Facebook groups devoted to globalization and outsourcing will tell you that the question “Is it happening?” has undeniably shifted to “Is it good?” (read more below).
Section 1 is a list of online resources with some of the evidence you may want if you’re not yet convinced. You’ll read employment statistics, quotes from the heads of international companies, and reports on U.S. layoffs from companies with overseas branches. In Section 2, you’ll find discussion threads and videos posted by individuals debating the merits and consequences of this trend; whether for or against, the arguments are often heated and draw out the best and worst of global relations. One of the most thought-provoking offshoots of this discussion is where the U.S. can start in order to ensure Americans will stay ahead of the game: our children (see “Did You Know 2.0″ video below).
Editor’s Note: We have also created a separate resources page for books that explore the themes of globalization.
1. Online Resources:
Sourcingmag.com’s “What is Offshoring?” - For an easy read to start you out on the topic of offshoring, try this brief history, beginning with the 70s and covering some newer terms, such as “nearshoring.”
Economic Policy Institute Guide to Offshoring by EPI economist L. Josh Bivens (May 2006) – Now that you have a good lay of the land, you’re ready for a little hard evidence. This guide offers information on the causes, consequences, impact and implications of the U.S.’s offshoring practices; you’ll find FAQs, statistics on employment rates and other relevant figures, web resources and further reading.
New York Times article, “I.B.M. Explores Shift of White-Collar Jobs Overseas” by Steven Greenhouse (July 22, 2003) – Prompted by a recorded conference call between top I.B.M. officials in March 2003, in which they projected three million service jobs would go overseas by 2015, this article provides an early look into the fears of U.S. white-collar workers and the responses by companies like I.B.M. to an increasing global talent pool, an attractive wage gap, and round-the-clock service and development potential.
BusinessWeek.com Special Report, “The Future of Outsourcing” by Pete Engardio, with Michael Arndt in Green Bay, Wis., and Dean Foust in Charlotte, N.C. (January 30, 2006) – According to this report, futurists have been predicting “hollow” corporations since the 80s, and it’s been over a decade since engineering jobs have gone overseas. Here you’ll find a discussion on the wage gap between U.S. workers and offshore workers, and company motivations beyond just saving some cash. There are also a few comments to browse at the bottom, a great example of the strong opinions the topic draws out.
From InformationWeek on management trends:
- “Nearly Half Of U.S. Tech Companies Outsource Offshore” by Marianne Kolbasuk McGee (March 3, 2008) covers the results of a telephone survey by accounting and consulting firm BDO Seidman, LLP, with 100 chief financial officers of U.S. technology companies making $100 million to $15 billion per year. The article reveals what percentage of these companies offshore work, the nature of the work being offshored, and what the CFOs’ biggest worries are as they look forward.
- “InformationWeek 500 Trends: Web 2.0, Globalization, Virtualization, And More” by Chris Murphy (September 16, 2008) gives readers the lowdown on buzzwords and IT trends. Of particular interest is the second section, Globalization: Something Happening Here, which shows offshoring markedly on the rise over the past several years, according to stats collected on InformationWeek 500 companies.
- “Down to Business: Core Businesses Are Changing: Are You Ready?” by Rob Preston (August 16, 2008) describes how companies are shifting their practices to succeed under the changing pressures of global competition. Preston offers links to recent books on the topic and the rather eye-opening example of GM’s old rubber plantations.
International Herald Tribune article, “In India, Outsourcing Moves to the Top Floor” by Anand Giridhadas (April 3, 2007), published on the Global Policy Forum online – Hear it from the company leaders themselves: this article includes interviews with heads of IBM, Cisco, and Infosys among others, and gives an excellent overview on where we stand now in the process of moving technology (traditionally “white collar”) jobs abroad, specifically to India.
From The Wall Street Journal online, “Outsourcing Looks Closer to Home” by Beckey Bright (July 7, 2008) – Bright cites the Black Book of Outsourcing by Scott Wilson and Doug Brown, a survey of 5,000 businesses’ outsourcing practices, focusing on results that reveal offshore businesses opening up new U.S. offices. It is a move attributed mostly to desiring better communication and may be an emerging trend in outsourcing practices.2. Online Discussion Threads and Videos:
On Facebook, there are over 500 groups pertaining to globalization as people from around the globe weigh in on the topic. The two most populated groups are one for and one against: “Against Globalization” with 418 members, and “A Celebration of Globalization” with 356 members. Then there’s the neutral stance of the group “Defining Globalization – What does it mean for the world we live in?” with 266 members and a host of links to related news articles. The most populated outsourcing group is “The Outsourcing Experts Group” with 1,909 members and 1,015 posted discussion topics. Second is “Create laws to control Outsourcing” with 755 members and 10 posted discussion topics; the group’s picture is a cartoon spoof of President Bush announcing a “no job left behind” initiative. (Note: a Facebook login may be required to access these groups.)
“Did You Know 2.0″ by Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod - This video provides enlightening facts on education worldwide, specifically how globalization affects our education systems. If you started to take technology for granted, this video will remind you how amazing our advancements and social tools have become.
“The Other Side of Outsourcing” with Thomas Friedman (Discovery Channel special program) – Especially halfway through (27 minutes), this video gets into exactly what’s being outsourced to India and gives an interesting look into Indians’ thoughts on outsourcing American jobs. Even more significant is the argument back and forth in the 338 viewer comments.
“Future of Outsourcing and Offshoring” with Patrick Dixon – The video itself is on outsourcing from the EU, particularly regarding the wage inflations in China and India. But of more interest is the discussion in the comments section: from different global perspectives, and without holding back, these folks share thoughts on the pros and cons of outsourcing.
“Cheap Foreign Labor”, news report by Lou Dobbs and Bill Tucker on CNN, 6/19/2008 – Watch this report on the number of H-1B visas (non-immigrant visas for foreign guest workers) that were issued between 2003-2005, compared with the number of new computer jobs created in that timeframe. Clicking on “more info” at the top right corner will give you links related to this report, including a study by John Miano of the Center for Immigration Studies, quoted in this report, which finds that these visas show no relationship to economic need.
“America‘s Bogus Skilled Labor Shortage” - Linked from Facebook’s “Create laws to control Outsourcing” group, you’ll see an ironic animation of an American worker training an Indian worker to take her job because he’ll work for less. Over the top? Yes. But it aptly reflects the bitterness of many Americans toward outsourcing, especially those who have lost their jobs to outsourced labor.
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