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BPO Backlash
GE in talks to sell Indian call centres for up to US$1b
<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Feb 10 2004, 05:01 AM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Feb 10 2004, 05:01 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Rajesh: I had posted a response by a good friend to a columnist yesterday in IT thread. Link here

BPO is driven by economics and not by politics. The backlash against it, however, is driven by ignorance. The average American can't tell the difference between India and Botswana or Niger, say, and often thinks of India as an Arab country populated by sheiks and their harems and millions of poor people. These people are naturally shocked and alarmed that INDIA! is taking jobs away.

The backlash is not against outsourcing - which has been going on for over a century - the backlash is against India. BUT - the companies who send jobs to India ARE aware of the real India and of its capabilities. Therefore, they want to continue doing business in India. As more and more companies lear about the quality and cost advantages of India, BPO will become unstoppable.

Regarding India's lead vs. China, history shows that once you develop a strong lead over your rivals in business, your lead tends to become wider. This is because growth is exponential - you grow faster as you become bigger. Therefore China will follow India, but it can never catch up.

Regarding the political hue and cry about outsourcing in the US, remember that the government plays a very very small role in the US economy outside defence, where outsourcing is already banned. The politicians know this - they use the outsourcing issue to get votes (it's emotionally charged) but they also know that their actions will not significantly hurt US business or consumers.

The bottom line, India needs to focus on IT education, quality, infratsructure, business development and industry organization, and just march ahead wthout hesitation. The Indian goverment should learn from Japan and South Korea in this regard - where the government was a very well organized and highly effective cheerleader for business, always aligned with business interests.
While the opposition to BPO might not be tenable within the current paradigms, I suspect the next front will be opened by such high-funda-sounding folks . This one will be more subtle and far more dangerous. Lets keep an eye on these folks.. <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Rethinking free trade

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->WHEN PAUL Samuelson, the dean of American economists, begins questioning the benefits of free trade, it is a bit like the pope having doubts about the virgin birth. But Samuelson, a Nobel laureate and the author of America's best-known economics textbook, has reopened a debate on the most settled issue in economics. He's done it with a stunner of an article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives that has created immense controversy -- and an opportunity for Americans to rethink previously unchallenged assumptions.

Until now, any politician who questioned the universal benefits of free trade was ridiculed as a flat-earth type or a stooge for some declining industry or overpaid union whose work was best performed by lower-wage workers overseas so other US consumers could benefit. This foreclosed a whole range of policy questions from debate.

Ever since the economist David Ricardo offered the basic theory in 1817, economic scripture has taught that open trade, free of tariffs, quotas, subsidies, or other government distortions, improves the well-being of both parties. US policy has implemented this doctrine with a vengeance, and opponents are seen as self-serving losers.

Why is free trade said to be universally beneficial? The answer is a doctrine called "comparative advantage."

Here's a simple analogy. If a surgeon is highly skilled both at doing operations and performing routine blood tests, it's more efficient for the surgeon to concentrate on the surgery and pay a less efficient technician to do the tests, since that allows the surgeon to make the most efficient use of her own time.

By extension, even if the United States is efficient both at inventing advanced biotechnologies and at the routine manufacture of medicines, it makes sense for the United States to let the production work migrate to countries that can make the stuff more cheaply. We get the benefit of the cheaper products and get to spend our resources on even more valuable pursuits.

That, anyway, has always been the premise. But here Samuelson dissents. What if the lower-wage country also captures the advanced industry?

If enough higher-paying jobs are lost by American workers to outsourcing, he calculates, then the gain from the cheaper prices may not compensate for the loss in US purchasing power. In other words, the low wages at Wal-Mart do not necessarily make up for their bargain prices.

"Free trade is not always a win-win situation," Samuelson concludes. It is particularly a problem, he says, in a world where large countries with far lower wages, such as India and China, are increasingly able to make almost any product or offer almost any service performed in the United States.

If we trade freely with them, then the powerful drag of their far lower wages will begin dragging down our average wages. Our economy may still grow, he calculates, but at a lower rate than it otherwise would have.

Please indulge me in a moment of belated satisfaction. As a youngish economics writer in 1983, when worries about outsourcing first surfaced, I wrote a cover article for The New Republic, called "The Free Trade Fallacy," making some of the same arguments, though not with Samuelson's care. I was widely denounced. It's not news when some pup, without even a PhD in economics, offers a heterodox theory. But when Paul Samuelson, no less, challenges the whole paradigm, he can't be ignored.

Samuelson stops short of spelling out remedies. However, his blowing open of this debate has done a profound service.

But what, then, should Americans do to defend their living standard in the face of the ability of India and China to make almost anything we make at a fraction of the wage?

First, we might insist that everyone plays by the rules, which China emphatically doesn't. China both subsidizes and protects.

Second, we might try to get them to raise their domestic wages in proportion to their rising productivity and thus produce for a more affluent domestic market (which also might buy more of our products).

On the home front, the government could invest more in the creation of high-wage service jobs that America needs and that can't be exported -- like better-paid preschool teachers and nursing home workers -- and to raise the wages of all low-paid workers through higher minimum wage laws and enforcement of the right to unionize. We could also invest in advanced technologies that create lots of good domestic jobs and export winners, like universal broadband cable and energy independence.

At 89, Samuelson is more lucid and sensible than many economist colleagues half his age. Well done!

Robert Kuttner is co-editor of The American Prospect. His column appears regularly in the Globe<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Bangalored: The new verbal abuse

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bangalore may have become only the second modern city in the world to be turned into a verb after Shanghaied - a word that broadly means to force thanks to the outsourcing controversy.

An online anti-outsourcing website is marketing a T-shirt sporting the legend 'Don't Get Bangalored', suggesting the loss of one's job to outsourcing. The T-shirts, available in two designs, are priced at $15.99<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But Americans are being ribbed even while trying to make a few bucks of the outsourcing controversy. On one website, an Indian named Harish joked that $15.99 was too high a price for a T-shirt and suggested the manufacture be outsourced.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--> <!--emo&:lol:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/laugh.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='laugh.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->But Americans are being ribbed even while trying to make a few bucks of the outsourcing controversy. On one website, an Indian named Harish joked that $15.99 was too high a price for a T-shirt and suggested the manufacture be outsourced.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

Mercy !!! Mercy !!!
<b>US plans to increase H1B visas for Indians</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The United States is actively considering increasing the number of H1B visas for Indian workers, an Assocham statement said in New Delhi, quoting US Deputy Chief of Mission Robert O Blake.    

Blake was quoted as saying that outsourcing to India was 'unavoidable' as the latter had earned its place as the world's knowledge capital in the business process outsourcing sector.

"Several appeals were made by the US citizens to put a stop to outsourcing to India but were outright rejected as the US felt that outsourcing to India, the knowledge capital of the world in BPO sector, was unavoidable," he said.

Speaking at an interactive session organised by the industry body, he said the US was now thinking about increasing the number of H1B visas to Indian professionals.

"This decision is based on the fact that the US recognises India's contribution in the fields like accounts, software, engineering and law," he said.

Inviting closer cooperation between the small- and medium- sized companies of the US and India, he said, "Such technological advancements will be of great use to Indian small scale sector."

He said the fact that the US was sending several senators to India next week proves that the country was serious in boosting economic cooperation with India.

"This will give India an opportunity to showcase itself to an important legislative arm of the US government," he said.

India's imports from the US stood at $5 billion in 2003, while the exports to the US were valued at over $13 billion, it added. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

To increase quota it will take atleast one year, only if bill get passed in Senate. To my knowledge no such bill is drafted yet
<b>US RJs threaten Indian BPO worker</b><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Star, whose real name is Troi Torain, initiated the call under the pretext of inquiring into an order he had placed for a product known as 'Quick Beads', hair beads marketed primarily to girls outside the black community (Star and Bucwild are black). Midway through the call, Star became aggressive with the call centre representative, Steena.

Star: This call has been outsourced to India?

Steena: That's right.

Star: Well, ma'am, what the eff would you know about an American white girl's - uh, uh - hair, and quick beads?

Steena: Just to inform you, ma'am, we're a national chain services company. And we're just taking calls on the opposite.

Star: Listen, bitch! Don't get slick with the mouth! Don't you get slick with me, bitch!

Steena: Now if you continue to speak this language, I will disconnect the call.

Star: Listen to me, you dirty rat eater. I'll come out there and choke the eff out of you (laughter).

Star: You're a filthy rat eater. I'm calling about my American six-year-old white girl. How dare you outsource my call? Get off the line, bitch (laughter, applause, end of call).

This is not the first time the RJ's have provoked listeners. In 2001, after the death of the R&B singer Aaliyah, their show attempted to make light of the tragedy by playing the sound effect of a plane crashing, along with the sound of a woman screaming
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Although the station pulled the segment from their website, one blogger posted the audio file on his own website: http://www.sideangleside.com/cgi-bin/redir...ll_to_india.mp3

Another blogger posted the full transcript: http://www.edrants.com/reluctant/001697.html

In a form letter sent to some protesters, the station's general manager, Richard Lewis, said the station did not condone the use of offensive language<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->[
Glad to see this racist hate talk against Indians. Many Indians have a false view that white folk are only good people. This kind of personal interaction in call centers will wake them up.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Jan 11 2005, 11:35 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Jan 11 2005, 11:35 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> US RJs threaten Indian BPO worker <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Heard in another private group that some lawyers are filing federal suit against this and are also taking this up with FCC.
<b>Radio hosts suspended for abusing Indian</b>
Another H-1B battle coming?
Accents To Cost Indian Call Center Jobs

This is leally lich. Has anybody leceived a call from mid-west call center ? They say they ale going to move the center to othal asian contliez. Wondel whele they ale goin tu du dat ?
Promise of India loses luster for Sykes

More on the Sykes story.
Racism from home shocks Britons working at call centre in India
Girls working in call centers gets sexually abused on phone all the time from America and Europe <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:thumbdown--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='thumbsdownsmileyanim.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo-->

Are the employers take necessary steps to improve the enviornment of this workplace or they too busy to be bothered about things other than profit margins. <!--emo&:angry:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/mad.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='mad.gif' /><!--endemo--> As for the scums abusing those call center workers, they'll be scums and there are more than one ways to skin that cat. Think this article should spread around to the likes of Lou Dobbs of CNN? <!--emo&<_<--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/dry.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='dry.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Did anyone see the news report on CNN regarding TATA'a impending aquisition of tyco telecom? Couldn't find much recent info on the web. The report was titled something like "Is India looting Americas telecom infrastructure". Apparently tyco is in trouble and TATA is buying it (along with the undersea cables) for a song.

OK, here is the backlash.
Note that the link is a couple of months old. So why is CNN coming out with this report now?

In CNN eyes, India is always a bad boys. No surpise here. US media did same with Japanese companies in late 80s and early 90s.
I noticed no such coverage on Fox. Also the report some days ago about young Indian programmers comparing very poorly against the rest of the world on CNN but not on Fox. The tyco-TATA report in particular suggests it is coming from the left end of the political spectrum which seems to have no option these days but to move toward the centre. This report appeals both to the left and right of the polity being anti-business as well as anti-forirgn.

Folks will remember that Dell had pulled out of India before based on some 'accent related complaints'. They're back..
Dell to step up hires in India, Europe

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