Fat and Outsourcing

On the issue of outsourcing, Mike says, “Let that overweight American middle class trim down their decadent ways and compete in the global economy rather than cry foul at the intellectual and professional emancipation of our third world.”

That annoys me, partly because I’m part of that American middle class, and I don’t like being painted with the broad brush of “overweight, burger-eating, SUV-owning American” any more than Filipinos enjoy being referred to as “little brown brothers.” I work long, hard hours earning just enough to live a simple apartment-dweller’s life here in Washington, and after all that, it riles me to be shunted along with other Americans into the grossly generalized straw man of the “whiny decadent Westerner,” simply because, yes, I too am concerned about my field of work being taken over by offshore workers. (Not to the extent, however, that I would support thinly veiled bigotry in the name of secure employment.)

Besides, I would hardly characterize outsourcing as an “intellectual and professional emancipation of the third world.” Are companies which outsource helping to improve the quality of life in the regions from which they hire offshore workers, or is Corporate America simply using long-distance technology to capitalize on the lower cost of living and cheap labor readily available through poorer countries? If it’s the latter, then that’s not emancipation, it’s abuse, and that’s an even worse travesty than the stereotypical perception of American decadence.

(That disagreement aside, do go check out Rush Hour Hell. Mike’s been a friend and colleague since we were little boys in school. He got me into PEX and recommended me to grad school. And he windsurfs.)


  1. Jason says:

    Companies that outsource do help to improve the quality of life in the regions from which they hire, AND they capitalize on the lower cost of living and availability of cheap labor. That’s not abuse; it’s a mutually-beneficial relationship.

  2. Mikoid says:

    Aba, patayan na!!! Well, it sure beats the Ateneo washroom brawls of our grade school youth. Haha, seriously… let me get some happily outsourced work done before I construct my reply.

  3. rowster says:

    A-WAY NA! A-WAY NA! :P

  4. Mikoid says:

    Just read something I wrote last September (http://www.rushhourhell.org/archives/00000059.shtml). I think that my strong opinion on the matter stems from the reaction of irate anti-outsourcing protesters that are moaning about losing cushy jobs that compensated them about 8-10 times what I make here annually.

  5. Paulo says:

    Salbahe kayo talaga. :D

    I’m not as irate about as the situation as it must sound on first read, since the issue isn’t all that much of a concern for me — I work for a nonprofit which requires local talent for a local cause, and I think I possess competitive skills which should be enough to qualify me over other folks, here, offshore, or otherwise.

    What got under my skin about Mike’s entries on outsourcing was the fact that the people who worry about outsourcing are regular workers, middle class Americans of all backgrounds and races who live normal lives and *can’t* afford the SUV-soccer-mom lifestyle, that upper-class stereotype which the rest of the anti-American world is so intent on hating.

    Meanwhile, can it be said that the PHB-ish upper management of big multinational companies are looking at potential profits and savings rather than at the welfare of workers, whether local or offshore? Shouldn’t that be the focus of the ire? This isn’t a rhetorical question either; I’m genuinely asking, because I’m neither economist nor businessman.

  6. Mikoid says:

    Replied back at Rush Hour Hell (www.rushhourhell.org).