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robertogreco : outsourcing   19

The Hypocrisy of ‘Helping’ the Poor - The New York Times
"EVERY so often, you hear grotesquely wealthy American chief executives announce in sanctimonious tones the intention to use their accumulated hundreds of millions, or billions, “to lift people out of poverty.” Sometimes they are referring to Africans, but sometimes they are referring to Americans. And here’s the funny thing about that: In most cases, they have made their fortunes by impoverishing whole American communities, having outsourced their manufacturing to China or India, Vietnam or Mexico.

Buried in a long story about corruption in China in The New York Times a couple of months ago was the astonishing fact that the era of “supercharged growth” over the past several decades had the effect of “lifting more than 600 million people out of poverty.” From handouts? From Habitat for Humanity? From the Clinton Global Initiative?

No, oddly enough, China has been enriched by American-supplied jobs, making most of the destined-for-the-dump merchandise you find on store shelves all over America, every piece of plastic you can name, as well as Apple products, Barbie dolls or Nike LeBron basketball shoes retailed in the United States for up to $320 a pair. “The uplifting of impoverished people” was one of the reasons Phil Knight, Nike’s co-founder, gave in 1998 for moving his factories out of the United States.

The Chinese success, helped by American investment, is perhaps not astonishing after all; it has coincided with a large number of Americans’ being put out of work and plunged into poverty.

In a wish to get to grips with local mystagogies and obfuscations I have spent the past three years traveling in the Deep South, usually on back roads, mainly in the smaller towns, in the same spirit of inquiry that vitalized me on journeys in China and Africa and elsewhere. Yes, I saw the magnolia blossoms, the battlefields of the Civil War, the antebellum mansions of superfluous amplitude; the catfish farms and the cotton fields and the blues bars; attended the gun shows and the church services and the football games.

But if there was one experience of the Deep South that stayed with me it was the sight of shutdown factories and towns with their hearts torn out of them, and few jobs. There are outsourcing stories all over America, but the effects are stark in the Deep South.

Take a Delta town such as Hollandale, Miss. Two years ago, the entire tax base of this community of around 3,500 was (so the now-deceased and much-mourned mayor Melvin Willis told me) less than $300,000. What the town had on hand to spend for police officers, firefighters, public works, outreach, welfare and town hall salaries was roughly the amount of a Bill or Hillary one-night-stand lecture fee; what Tim Cook, the chief executive of Apple, earns in a couple of days.

When Hollandale’s citizens lost their jobs in the cotton fields to mechanization they found work nearby, in Greenville and elsewhere, in factories that made clothes, bikes, tools and much else — for big brands like Fruit of the Loom and Schwinn.

They are gone now. Across the Mississippi River, Monticello, Ark., and other towns made carpets and furniture while Forrest City produced high-quality TV sets. The people I spoke to in the town of Wynne, known for its footwear, said they’d be happy to make Nikes if they were paid a living wage.

I found towns in South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas that looked like towns in Zimbabwe, just as overlooked and beleaguered. It’s globalization, people say. Everyone knows that, everyone moans about it. Big companies have always sought cheaper labor, moving from North to South in the United States, looking for the hungriest, the most desperate, the least organized, the most exploitable. It has been an American story. What had begun as domestic relocations went global, with such success that many C.E.O.s became self-conscious about their profits and their stupendous salaries.

To me, globalization is the search for a new plantation, and cheaper labor; globalization means that, by outsourcing, it is possible to impoverish an American community to the point where it is indistinguishable from a hard-up town in the dusty heartland of a third world country.

“I took an assistant Treasury secretary, Cyrus Amir-Mokri, down from Memphis,” William Bynum, the chief executive of the Hope Credit Union, told me in his office in Jackson, Miss. “We passed through Tunica, Mound Bayou and Clarksdale, and ended up in Utica. All through the Delta. He just sat and looked sad. He said he could not believe such conditions existed in the United States.”

Now the Delta is worse off, the bulk of its factories shut, the work sent overseas. Again, this is the same old story, but need it be so?

When Mr. Cook of Apple said he was going to hand over his entire fortune to charity, he was greatly praised by most people, but not by me. It so happened that at that time I was traveling up and down Tim Cook’s home state of Alabama, and all I saw were desolate towns and hollowed-out economies, where jobs had been lost to outsourcing, and education had been defunded by shortsighted politicians."



"The strategy of getting rich on cheap labor in foreign countries while offering a sop to America’s poor with charity seems to me a wicked form of indirection. If these wealthy chief executives are such visionaries, why don’t they understand the simple fact that what people want is not a handout along with the uplift ditty but a decent job?

Some companies have brought manufacturing jobs back to the United States, a move called “reshoring,” but so far this is little more than a gesture. It seems obvious that executives of American companies should invest in the Deep South as they did in China. If this modest proposal seems an outrageous suggestion, to make products for Nike, Apple, Microsoft and others in the South, it is only because the American workers would have to be paid fairly. Perhaps some chief executives won’t end up multibillionaires as a result, but neither will they have to provide charity to lift Americans out of poverty."
philanthropy  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  exploitation  2015  paultheroux  inequality  indulgences  capitalism  hypocrisy  policy  economics  systemsthinking  globalization  outsourcing  charity  timcook  offshoring  labor  work  us  poverty  reshoring  south  nike  apple  southcarolina  mississippi  alabama  arkansas  charitableindustrialcomplex  power  control 
october 2015 by robertogreco
rant of the day - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"Fantastic rant this morning from Maciej Ceglowski, creator of the invaluable Pinboard, about this new service:

“Hello Alfred Raises $10.5M To Automate Your Chores”. Part of the white-hot trend in scriptable people.
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) April 14, 2015

“Customers are assigned their own home manager, also called an Alfred, and those nameless managers take care of the work”
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) April 14, 2015

I’ve seen luxury apartments with a built-in “servant call” button resembling a doorbell, but I never expected the world wide web to get one
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) April 14, 2015

A nameless, fungible class of domestic workers is antithetical to a democratic society. That’s what undocumented immigrants are for
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) April 14, 2015

Next up: on-demand service that offshores your guilt about creating, enabling and participating in a new Gilded Age
— Pinboard (@Pinboard) April 14, 2015

The chief reason I keep arguing with Ned O'Gorman about whether things can want — latest installment here — is that I think the blurring of lines between the agency of animals (especially people) and the agency of made objects contributes to just this kind of thing: if we can script the Internet of Things why not script people too? Once they're scripted they want what they've been scripted to do. (Obviously O'Gorman doesn't want to see that happen any more than I do: our debate is about the tendencies of terms, not about substantive ethical and political questions.)"
alanjacobs  nedo'gorman  maciejceglowski  labor  inequality  iot  internetofthings  2015  helloalfred  alfred  servants  gildedage  siliconvalley  californianideology  domesticworkers  distancing  othering  taskrabbit  sharingeconomy  outsourcing  chores  homemaking  domesticwork  ethics  agency  capitalism  latecapitalism  maciejcegłowski 
april 2015 by robertogreco
Chris Hedges: As a Socialist, I Have No Voice in the Mainstream - Pt 6 of 7
"I think we’re in this kind of strange period when the language we use to describe our economic and political system no longer matches the reality. I mean, laissez-faire capitalism—we don’t live in a system of laissez-faire capitalism when the federal government bails out these institutions to the tunes of trillions of dollars and then keeps pumping out free money from the Fed and handing it to—that’s not laissez-faire capitalism. And yet I’m sure that if you went to Wharton or Harvard Business School, they would still be teaching this fictional system. And we haven’t yet moved into a period where the vocabulary we use to describe our reality matches that reality. And that’s always a revolutionary period, because there’s a disconnect between the way we speak about ourselves and the way we actually function. And that’s where we are. And so we in many ways are searching for the words to describe what’s happening to us and then to articulate another vision of where we want to go. And we haven’t gotten there yet."

[via: http://scudmissile.tumblr.com/post/56796659481/i-think-were-in-this-kind-of-strange-period-when ]

[The rest in the series at The Real News website with transcripts:
part 1 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10441
part 2 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10449
part 3 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10456
part 4 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10461
part 5 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10468
part 7 http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=10486

And on Youtube:
part 1 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1JF94vovww
part 2 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XR0oGJ2yrmc
part 3 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vWcyetC3CI
part 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GCjMdOo7KkY
part 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ff-G0DPkBv8
part 6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OX6n861Gu6Q
part 7 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNm_GAIXOWw ]
change  revolution  chrishedges  socialism  economics  language  capitalism  corporatism  environment  sustainability  2013  ows  occupywallstreet  politics  bailouts  corporatesocialism  businessschools  corruption  society  reality  transition  disconnect  nationalization  coldwar  neoliberalism  activism  socialunrest  socialactivism  movements  barackobama  trends  pauljay  elites  elitism  liberalelite  justice  gender  multiculturalism  identitypolitics  workingclass  nafta  outsourcing  stagnation  labor  wallstreet  finance  power  us  history  poverty  journalism  radicalism  radicalization  class  nytimes  socialjustice  goldmansachs  moralimperative  ralphnader  alternative  christiananarchism  anarchism  anarchy  richardnixon 
july 2013 by robertogreco
The Tijuana Connection, a Template for Growth - NYTimes.com
"Shuttling between the two factories — in San Diego, where we engineer our drones, and in TJ, where we assemble them — I’m reminded of a similar experience I had a decade earlier. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I lived in Hong Kong (working for The Economist) and saw how that city was paired with the “special economic zone” of Shenzhen across the border on the Chinese mainland in Guangdong Province. Together, the two created a world-beating manufacturing hub: business, design and finance in Hong Kong, manufacturing in Shenzhen. The clear division of labor between the two became a model for modern China."
manufacturing  mexico  outsourcing  tijuana  sandiego  2013  drones  maquiladoras  labor  electronics 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Outsourced Life - NYTimes.com
"As we outsource more of our private lives, we find it increasingly possible to outsource emotional attachment…

Focusing attention on the destination, we detach ourselves from the small — potentially meaningful — aspects of experience. Confining our sense of achievement to results, to the moment of purchase, so to speak, we unwittingly lose the pleasure of accomplishment, the joy of connecting to others and possibly, in the process, our faith in ourselves.

There is much public conversation about the balance of power between the branches of government, but we badly need to confront the larger and looming imbalance between the market and everything else.

A society in which comfort, care, companionship, “perfect” birthday parties and so much else is available to those who can pay for it?"

[via: http://randallszott.org/2012/05/06/why-relying-on-professional-artists-is-a-bad-idea-outsourcing-creativity/ ]
life  attachment  conversation  process  mindfulness  meaningmaking  meaning  leisurearts  diy  money  class  outsourcing  psychology  sociology  markets  arlierussellhochschild  2012  relationships  patience  impatience  desire  capitalism  time  slow  lifestyle  emotion  artleisure 
may 2012 by robertogreco
My Summer at an Indian Call Center | Mother Jones
"Call-center employees gain their financial independence at the risk of an identity crisis. A BPO salary is contingent on worker's ability to de-Indianize: to adopt a Western name & accent &, to some extent, attitude. Aping Western culture has long been fashionable; in the call-center classroom, it's company policy. Agents know that their jobs only exist because of the low value the world market ascribes to Indian labor. The more they embrace the logic of global capitalism, the more they must confront the notion that they are worth less."

"In a sense, Arjuna is too westernized to be happy in India. He speaks with an American accent, listens to American rock music, & suffers from American-style malaise. In his more candid moments, he admits that life would have been easier if he had hewn to the traditional Indian path. "I spent my youth searching for the real me. Sometimes I feel that now I've destroyed anything that is the real me, that I am floating somewhere in between.""
culture  economics  work  india  outsourcing  callcenters  identity  thirdculture  independence  freedom  tradeoffs  unintendedconsequences  money  motivation  2011  tradition  westernization 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Deinstitutionalizing education
"In 'Is What's Good for Corporate America Still Good For America?' Bruce Nussbaum ran though # of reasons why people are losing faith in corporations in US.…his list…has a wider applicability to institutions in general, including…governmental agencies, schools & universities.

People today are beginning to realize that solution of problem of institutional excess does not lie in creation of more institutions…solution to problem of corruption of mass movements does not lie in creation of yet another mass movement…solution to problems of greed & entitlement in our leaders & elites does not lie in creation of more leaders & elites…way to end war is to cease waging war; way to free us of our chains is to cease forging chains. We secure our own right in society by securing right of each & every member of society, by working not as in a bond, but by virtue of free association, of cooperative exchange of mutual value, with natural limits to the right to own, & possess, & control."

[Referring to: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/10/is_whats_good_for_corporate_am.html ]
stephendownes  brucenussbaum  organizations  institutions  learning  education  deschooling  unschooling  outsourcing  business  trust  greed  corruption  anarchism  democracy  ingratitude  freeassociation  cooperation  society  government  deinstitutionalization 
november 2010 by robertogreco
Are the American people obsolete? - U.S. Economy - Salon.com
"Have American people outlived their usefulness to rich minority in the US? A number of trends suggest the answer may be yes.

In every industrial democracy since end of WWII, there has been a social contract btwn the few & many. In return for receiving disproportionate amount of gains from economic growth in capitalist economy, rich paid disproportionate % of taxes needed for public goods & safety net for majority.

In N America & Europe, economic elite agreed to this bargain because they needed ordinary people as consumers & soldiers. W/out mass consumption, factories in which rich invested would grind to halt. W/out universal conscription in world wars, & selective conscription during Cold War, US & its allies might have failed to defeat totalitarian empires that would have created a world order hostile to market economy.

Globalization eliminated 1st reason for rich to continue supporting this bargain at nation-state level, while privatization of military threatens other…"
northamerica  globalization  economy  economics  future  outsourcing  rich  money  capitalism  immigration  politics  history  michaellind  class  disparity  emmigration  labor  war  military  privitazation  elite  socialdemocracy  taxes  society  poverty  international  capital 
august 2010 by robertogreco
Futurist Richard Watson's predictions for 2010 - Speakers Corner
"Constant partial stupidity ... Digital isolation ... Hunger for shared experiences ... Flight to the physical ... Expecting less ... Conspicuous non-consumption ... Unsupervised adults ... Localism ... Re-sourcing ... Fear fatigue" + "Ten things on the way out: Dining rooms, Letter writing on paper, Paper statements and bills, Optimism about the future, Individual responsibility, Intimacy, Humility, Concentration, Retirement, Privacy"
future  libraries  predictions  2010  richardwatson  fear  human  multitasking  conspicuousconsumption  consumption  frugality  outsourcing  localism  isolation  social  twitter  sharedexperience  physical  books  distraction  attention  non-consumption  postconsumerism  re-sourcing  paper  optimism  responsibility  safety  health  comfort  greed  loneliness  via:TheLibrarianEdge 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Chile Wants Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses, Your Tech Entrepreneurs
"Are you an immigrant who is fed up with waiting for years for a green card which you may never get? Or a tech entrepreneur looking to dramatically cut costs? I’ve got a suggestion for you. Move South. No, I don’t mean to Los Angeles or San Diego, I’m taking about way down South in Chile. They’ll welcome you with open arms and offer you incentives which will cut your burn rate more than half. And you’ll get to live in a land which makes even California look drab."
chile  startups  incentives  entrepreneurship  government  business  outsourcing  techcrunch  technology 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Cool Tool: Uclue Answers
"Many of the free-lance researches from Google Answers moved to...Uclue...offers a similar service. You ask a question, announce a price you think an answer is worth, and if a top-notch researcher thinks your fee is fair, they will research your question.
freelance  information  knowledge  outsourcing  answers  tools  search  web  internet  online 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Outsourcing Your Life - WSJ.com
"Sending work offshore has transformed the U.S. economy. Now, some families are tapping the same approach for personal tasks, getting them done for a fraction of what they'd cost at home. Taking your to-do list global."
outsourcing  society  economics  tutoring  education  online  internet  landscape  architecture  illustration  webdesign  design  learning  globalization  global  international  world  webdev 
june 2007 by robertogreco
adaptive path » blog » blog archive » 21st Century Professions
"21st century work is going to have to be much more synthetic, mixed-up, and uncertain, largely because of the forces that Weinberger points to in his book."
work  future  davidweinberger  outsourcing  organizations  information 
may 2007 by robertogreco
The Totally Outsourced Hedge Fund Manager - Gawker
"a subtle jab at the way many New York-area businesspeople let other people perform more and more of the basic tasks involved in childrearing, dressed up as a service piece"
outsourcing  parenting  humor  society  children  wealth 
december 2006 by robertogreco
A College Education Without Job Prospects - New York Times
"But as graduates complain about a lack of jobs, companies across India see a lack of skilled applicants. The contradiction is explained, experts say, by the poor quality of undergraduate education."
education  universities  colleges  india  asia  outsourcing  competition  jobs  quality  learning 
december 2006 by robertogreco

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