Bollywood Journalism Coming to a Newspaper Near You!


Looks like our neighbors in Kansas City are about to learn about outsourcing, as the Kansas City Star offshores its advertising department to Bangalore:

Now, as if this weren’t enough of a blow, the kicker is this: the employees will retain their employment until after their replacements – who are being flown in, and put up here in Kansas City – have been trained by the displaced employees.

Right now it’s just the advertising department, but offshoring other critical departments will follow. Those of us in Information Technology have been predicting it since our careers started being decimated a decade ago. We’ve seen our friends evicted, forced to take jobs making a quarter of what they were making before, lost healthcare, kids not able to go to college…and no one would listen…because the journalists still had their jobs so they didn’t see any reason to pay attention to us. Now it’s their turn.

Americans have a terrible tradition of “rugged individualism” that assumes we are individually responsible for our destinies rather than all in the same lifeboat together. To us, every man is an island and none is part of the main, and when the bell tolls, just shout “Fuck you, Jack, I got mine!” So when our neighbor is laid off, we assume it is just their own damn fault. There are no looming threats until we ourselves are at risk.

Well, now that those who write the newspapers may finally see their own families at risk, maybe they will start to listen.

Layoffs Up


From Financial Week:

Layoffs coming, and in large numbers, survey finds
January 28, 2008

Corporate executives are poised to start making substantial cutbacks in their staffing, according to a new forecast by employment consulting and legal firm Career Protection.

In fact, the firm is predicting a 37% increase in layoffs this year over last

On the other hand

Wipro to hire more freshers
19 Jan, 2008, 0000 hrs IST, TNN
BANGALORE: Continuing with its focus on recruiting more freshers, Wipro … has given out job offer letters to 14,000 rookies from engineering colleges for FY09. It is also stepping up focus on hiring non-engineering graduates and has made 3,500 offers to BSc graduates. …

“We have been inducting non-engineers for 10 years now in small batches but decided to ramp up the number last year. Last year, we gave offers to 1,500 BSc graduates, we have hiked the number to 3,500 for next fiscal.” These will be from the BSc Maths, Physics and Chemistry streams.

In Q3, Wipro made a gross addition of 4,900 people of whom about 2,500 were freshers. For the nine months till December 31, 2007, it has added 15,500 people including 8,000 freshers. Total head count now stands at 79,832 employees

Apparently, they need to lay us off over here so they won’t have to lay them off over there…

Desperate Shortages?


Every time corporations want to increase the quotas on guestworkers they repeat the same tired old lies about a supposed “desperate shortage” of workers in some field or other. Actually under capitalism there can never (by definition) be a labor shortage in any field. Any temporary shortage is quickly followed by a rise in wages and benefits until the shortage is alleviated. No wage increase, no shortage.

So should you send your kid to college to study science and math and engineering to alleviate the “desperate shortage” showed by current lowering enrollments in those fields? Hmm:

…the fact is that university enrollment in science programs has historically risen and fallen in almost perfect correlation to the opportunities in the job market.

…the U.S.-born scientist as a practical matter really only has access to the scientific job market in the United States, whereas his or her European counterpart has access to opportunities in the United States and the European Union.

…if there were indeed an undersupply of scientists, you?d see hyperinflation of salaries, which of course is simply not the case in any field of science. For example, a graduating Ph.D. in physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California currently receives a starting postdoctoral salary between $39,312 and $55,788. The other national laboratories and the National Institutes of Health offer similar salaries. According to the laws of labor economics, if there is no hyperinflation of salaries, then there can be no labor shortage. However, I do think that there is a shortage of U.S. citizens who are willing to spend 10 or more years to get a Ph.D. in physics for a starting salary of $39,312 a year.

…we were able to identify only 11 African American Ph.D.-level physicists with career positions in the major DOE-funded national laboratories. This was out of a total of 3200 Ph.D.-level physicists employed by the laboratories. Out of the top 20 physics departments, there are only two African Americans in tenure-track faculty positions. What we conclude from this analysis is that foreign nationals are preferred over African Americans in hiring at these facilities.

…the income of a foreign national with a J-1 visa, typically used for postdoctoral appointments, is not subject to U.S. income taxes. This puts the foreign national at a 15% salary advantage compared to the U.S. citizen in the same postdoctoral position.

My daughter went to a high school whose purpose was to persuade kids to major in science, math, and engineering. I’m glad she resisted the temptation. She’s better off.

“You Americans are too honest”


I was chatting with “Slim” a few desks down from me yesterday. A few months ago there were 90 of us contract programmers and analysts here in one room, and now there are only ten, and we will all soon be gone. The guestworkers from India are all calling around looking for new jobs.

My friend Slim was helping “Rajiv”, the guy who sits in the row in front of us, when Raj got a call from a recruiter, and Raj was claiming all sorts of skillsets that Slim knew he couldn’t do. So Slim asked Raj, “Why are you telling them that?” And Raj said, “You Americans are too honest. We lie to get the job, and when we get there, we help each other out. And if none of us there know how to do it, then we just move on to the next job.”

When I got to this gig, 90 of us came here in the course of a few weeks, and only two of us were Americans. Now, of the few who are left, most are Americans, because we didn’t lie about what we could do. But the “Powers That Be” had to try to hire at least two guestworkers who couldn’t do the job before they would break down and hire an American who could.

And that’s how the game works.