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Wiseacre
I liked the movie Outsourced (anyone seen it?) a lot. I saw it again last week and though it's a comedy it has message, it's about cultural understanding and communication more than it is about outsourcing, but the movie has made me think about outsourcing a lot. In general, I am a libertarian and I don't believe that borders should stop the free flow of money. On the other hand - I don' t feel that way about agriculture at all, all food should be grown locally, and I think there are limits to our human biology that the market cannot accomodate for. What are your thoughts and opinions on the matter? How do you feel about US and UK labor being outsourced to other countries?
Daria
For the sake of our economy, some things HAVE to be imported. At least for the moment. You can't suddenly stop imports and expect everyone to pay a higher price for the same product they were getting. Which ever way you look at it, there are always going to be richer people and poorer people. Just because it is better for the environment and for the farmers, you can't force poorer people to buy what could be higher priced good, just because they were grown in their country.
I believe that most produce should be grown in the country it will be consumed in, but obviously more "exotic" goods- coffee, pineapples, oranges, cocoa etc has to be imported because many places just don't have the climate for it. Other things such as cars, paper and card, electronics, clothes etc should most definitely be made in the country of use. People should get out of the idea that it is ok to buy a 5 dress from Primark, manufactured in Vietnam, that will break after wearing it a couple of times. They should be buying more expensive and better made clothes, and keeping them for longer.

Then again, hemp should be the staple fibre instead of cotton (less chemicals needed for growing, less water needed therefore better for the growers and the consumers), and people should care where their clothes come from.
As you can probably tell, this is a subject I feel pretty passionate about but unfortunately I have too many arguements and they come out in a jumbled mess!
Witless
I have many opinions on this topic also, but not enough time to essay them all out plus I don't have a writing style good enough to express it all. But still as always there exists books out there that have explained a lot about how I feel but written it better than I could ever hope to, It's called 'Collapse, How civilisations choose to survive or fall'.

Civilisations refusing to develop trade relations and learning from their neighbours technology and hunting techniques is one of the main causes of many civilisations collapses. In order from strongest, the most common reasons are, over population compared to resources available, then inability to adapt to a change in climate or natural disaster, war with the neighbours, and then inability to develop trade agreements with the neighbours.

I could go on about all 4 but that would drag me off topic so I'll just stick with the trade stuff.

Growing goods in your own country and manafacturing goods in your own country only works when you were always doing it in the first place. The very second you move on to trading then your pretty much stuck with it. Both you and your trade partner become dependent on it continuing. Take the cotten trade for example. I don't like cotton, it's bad in so many many ways. Even organically grown un-chemically treated cotton. The cotton plant is a supremely thirsty plant and as such it slowly destroys the lands ability to withhold water and thus local rivers flood like mad and destroy the lives of many many locals everytime the rains are too heavy. They would theoretically have more to gain from less cotton being grown than we ever have. We just want a mildly stronger economy, they (inland China) would like their houses not washed away. Yet from vast areas cotton continues to be the main export. So why do they do it?

Simple, what else would they sell if they didn't? They do it because they don't have much to offer anyone. Take an example for instance where lets say, everyone in all the consumer countries all suddenly switched over to Hemp clothes grown in their own country (we'll also have to assume we suddenly from no where get the man power and usable land to grow the amount of hemp we'd need (so assume that people give up on all the various things they've trained and studied to be to just fill holes in the job market)). What then happens to every nation in the world currently depending on cotton sales that they have converted large parts of their country and tolerated a lot of financial and economical damage to be able to support? They crash, quite severely. It's hard really to say who's to blame, but I can't really say it matters. Down on the level of the individual, your average Joe cotton farmer that was already only living by the skin of his teeth when his goods were selling now has nothing.

I think we're beyond the point were we can merely pull out of global trade to be honest. The UK's not over populated in the way a lot of the third world is. But we we're still in a situation were we'd take a knock to the way we're used to living without the support of other countries. But more to the point, we'd have it pretty good. At least we'd survive. Some countries would descend into a horrific state without the support from trade agreements.

I am biased however by the fact I don't believe in nationalism. I believe in the world as a whole. I'd rather the first world do a little worse and the rest of the world do a little better, rather than we all guard our little bit of ground with a shot gun and an angry face to ward off nearby folk.


Interesting note: There's currently only one place in the world where things are continuing to get worse for the people living there for reasons other than war, and that's Africa.
China, India and all the other nations in that Asian power ring are all steadily improving for the people. Many people (myself included) believe that world power will eventually shift east. It will be interesting to see what happens here in the west after that. Newer technologies will be far more affordable to them than us then. Plus they'll be able to afford to be more environmentally friendly with all the money to put themselves in a position to be more 'green' as people seem to call it now (being green costs a lot of money in research and the switch over). Wonder if we'll be so eager for richer countries to not buy from the not so rich to help keep them float when the rich countries are the not us and the not so rich are us.
sirdudly
Outsourcing helps the economy in the big picture, but I didn't pay enough attention during economics class to post a really confidant answer for why it is beneficial. I'll have to hit the books and get back to this one.
Wiseacre
QUOTE (Witless @ Oct 29 2007, 11:22 AM) *
Many people (myself included) believe that world power will eventually shift east. It will be interesting to see what happens here in the west after that. Newer technologies will be far more affordable to them than us then. Plus they'll be able to afford to be more environmentally friendly with all the money to put themselves in a position to be more 'green' as people seem to call it now (being green costs a lot of money in research and the switch over). Wonder if we'll be so eager for richer countries to not buy from the not so rich to help keep them float when the rich countries are the not us and the not so rich are us.


I agree that power will shift east, but for sort of racist reasons. I think that the Christian world forced all of their talent and intellect into the clergy where they couldn't breed for 1500 years, and that in the modern age of technology selecting for brawn doesn't make sense anymore, so there's no doubt that the Western world will fold against a well rounded people that bred for a different type of smarts. Let's just hope that breeding catches up with culture. smile.gif I'd be interested in what you thought of the movie "Outsourced" since you have so much to say about outsourcing.
Witless
Woo.. took me a while to get back to this...

Anyway, not seen the movie Outsourced to be honest, but on the subject of outsourcing, it's hard to satisfy people on that topic. I speak as someone who once worked in technical support on the phones, it was HORRIBLE.

Mini off-topic rant:
I never understood this thing where people claim to not want to speak to automated answering, but then proceed to treat real people as robots.
Lets say you were walking down the street and someone asked you for the time. You looked at your watch and mis read the time as 4.30pm, then told them that. A second later you realise your mistake and correct yourself and inform them correctly that it is infact 5.30pm. Does the person then proceed to flail and sigh in your face and then demand to speak to a more qualified watch operator because the one they have found obviously seems to be a dullard and not know what they're doing?

Even when you bend over backwards to be civil and try to help them they get angry with you when they broke their own PC in the first place. *twitch*

I swear what they were really after is super robot folks that just hear problems and vomit up solutions. Oh right.. yes, that would be an automated answering service.

Anyways.. rant over.

Put simply, people want cheap services.. to do that business cut corners. If they don't people won't buy there. Not many people in the UK can happily buy everything more expensively. The cheaper alternatives often involve buying in from foreign countries. IT companies outsource because it's cheaper. It they're not outsourcing on the phones, they're doing it somewhere, or they're cutting corners somewhere or the other. Either that or they're just plain not that cheap a company to deal with.

Tis' called capitalism and capitalism is a pain, but it works.. though if you're like me, you'll believe it can't work indefinately. Then we'll all descend into war and most of us will die to bombs/nuclear radiation.
The survivors will be mutants living like savages and the few that have supplies inside underground bunkers. We'll need practical skills to live in that world... wait.. why am I studying Animation again? *changes degree to 'Boar hunting'*.
selina
i live in a third world asian country. im not really very knowledgeable on this subject but i have to agree with witless. a lot of "outsourced" countries rely heavily on the revenues outsourcing can generate. I live in the philippines and while outsourcing is not as prevalent here as it is in China and India. There was a time when it became an booming industry here. nearly everyone i know knows someone who works in a US call center, training them to sound american so that people overseas won't notice that they are talking to people overseas. It even got to a point where even trained professionals, and even some professors who have earned their tenures give up their jobs for a call center career because US companies pay better. Its sad to see your country having to depend on other countries for their mere economic betterment.

Though im not a filipino and im also not very nationalistic(i also believe in the global community) i sometimes think 3rd world countries like the philippines should adopt a more protectionist economic policy because i think what makes free trade thing work is that most western countries like UK already had a stable industry. They had already concentrated on an industry and they have built on it,working to make it best and is able to compete with the whole global industry, even before the advent of free trade. So when they open their economy to world, they have something to offer that is globally competent and through that they are able to maintain their economy despite the fact that they would have to rely on our countries for certain things, like oil, for example.

3rd world countries, however, were only introduced to the global market after World War II and many Asian countries were devastated by the wars and had to recuperate and start over. So when the free trade movement became the a norm, many of these countries entered economically unprepared, and the industry that many 3rd world countries specializes is agriculture, which you can't not really mass produce, unlike most western countries that pioneered cars, computers and which doesn't take much time to produce and their products are final( cars are readily bought and used , while leather has to go through clothing or fashion companies to be processed into a shoe, or a purse and the final profit from these products is gain by the fashion industry not the industry that produced the leather).

Since 3rd world country's car couldn't compete with a german car, there is no point in putting up those massive industries. They cannot rely on primitive industries either since food (like rice, or corn) can easily be grown and be absolutely substituted by other country's food. They'd have to rely on manpower and services to generate money for the country. that's why outsourcing is a good industry in many 3rd world countries, though it will not benefit the country in the long run.

so how did Japan and arguably, China become developed countries? Because both of them had a time when their country adopted a protectionist economy and were practically closed from foreign trade. They had to rely on the industries within their country and so these industries were given time and enough market to grow. Japan weren't the best in electronics and technology until the 20th century with the rise of Sony, and other technologically driven industries like Nissan. China adopted communist government and restricted free trade until about 2000s(though i dont really know what industry China specializes in since they're known for having cheap quality goods at low low price, but i think its piracy=)).

another problem in the 3rd world countries like Philippines is that the best professionals from our country is being absorbed the other countries like US and Canada because they pay so much better and these countries can offer more career benefits and securities. So most of the ones left in the country are those so-so professionals whose skills and talents couldn't afford them to get a job overseas.

about the power shifting to the east, there is certainly that possibility in the near future and well, im happy for it since im asian (chinese actually) and its quite a natural tendency for me to be a bit eastern-biased. lol. also,i find the world to be very west-centered. Most ideas were built from the western philosophy and ideals and while i do not, in any way, disapprove of it (im very western for a native asian, and i like western culture better), I just think its time for the east to experience some form of dominance in the course of world history. It'll also be interesting as i can't really imagine what the world would be if the the power shifts to the east. im a wee bit cynical about it though. I do not intended to offend anyone of any race, background, country or culture, but i find that Western countries are very good at manipulating powers. but i think its all just political instinct, or is it? i dont know

If you think about it, isn't it ironic that majority of the world population are Asians yet Caucasian people dominate the world.
Wiseacre
QUOTE (selina @ Nov 13 2007, 04:59 PM) *
about the power shifting to the east, there is certainly that possibility in the near future and well, im happy for it since im asian (chinese actually) and its quite a natural tendency for me to be a bit eastern-biased. lol. also,i find the world to be very west-centered. Most ideas were built from the western philosophy and ideals and while i do not, in any way, disapprove of it (im very western for a native asian, and i like western culture better), I just think its time for the east to experience some form of dominance in the course of world history.


I wonder if this new age of globalization will erase the boundaries between east and west? I agree that ideas and philosophy of western culture are what run the world now, in fact, those of us born in the west are for the most part completely unaware that our philosophies and ideas are based on anything, we just have them as so. This is how it is. We are ignorant of our own makeup and history (back to Outsourced, this is one of the main tenets of the movie, that the Westerners are not aware that their way of doing things is Western, yet the Easterners are very aware of their culture, history, and placement within the global idea system). I also see people from the east adopting Western ways of being, and people from the west reaching out for zen, Buddhism, feng-shui... so I think eventually we will recreate the dynamic of ideas to something a little less polar, or at least I hope so.
selina
QUOTE (Wiseacre @ Nov 27 2007, 08:10 PM) *
so I think eventually we will recreate the dynamic of ideas to something a little less polar, or at least I hope so.


i think that will be a much better end, complementing rather than competing. i do hope so too.
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