Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chickens Throw a Party for Colonel Sanders

The company where I work during the day is sending the person who has the desk next to me to India for a month to train people to do our jobs.

Kind of like getting the chickens to throw a party for Colonel Sanders isn't it?

Not a new wrinkle for this corporation, by any stretch. In fact, they are now one of the largest employers in India, while of course, reducing their work force in America and reducing the pay and benefits for those they still have here. While I have been working here, our pay has been cut and jobs sent to India. That was just after they congratulated us for doing a good job and letting us know that the client company renewed their contract for another three years.

What's the big attraction for corporations outsourcing to India? The fact that they have educated people who are happy to work for about $4 an hour. At the dawn of this millennium, this corporation used to pay people who live in Colorado $16 an hour to do that same job. Not any more. This is the New World Order that Daddy Bush announced.

A recent movie called Outsourced featured exactly this same scenario, where an American was sent to India to train people to replace Americans. The twist at the end is that after the American got the Indians trained and up to speed, the company moved the jobs from India to China because the people there would work even cheaper. As a side note, my employer not only outsources jobs to India, they also are busy in Argentina, Brazil, China and other places that have lots of people who will work cheaper than us.

I wish to make it abundantly clear that I like the people, the culture, the spirituality, the cuisine of India. I am all for them improving their economy.

So what is wrong with this picture? Well, if we know that Indians make a lot lower wage than Americans, do the corporations pass those savings on to consumers? No.

When the corporation I work for hires people in third world countries to do work for American client companies, do they quote the client a supercheap price for their services? No.

When I need to talk to someone about my credit card or my internet line, to name just two items, my call goes to someone in India. In the not so ancient past, when I called my credit card company or internet provider, I was actually talking to a person living and working in America. I have not seen the price of those services go down because they have employees working for less.

How much do you pay for an Iphone? It is assembled by people who make how much per hour? And in what country?

Even some of the famous name designer goods that come at premium prices that you think are made in Italy are really made in China by someone who makes how much?

When I go to the store to buy a new pair of shoes, does the price of a $100 pair of shoes actually reflect the phenomenally reduced labor cost companies enjoy from making them in some country where people are paid a buck an hour or whatever?

The other aspect to these developments is that while the magic of the marketplace is busy turning $16 an hour American jobs into $4 an hour Indian jobs, it gets harder for people in this country to afford things like health care.

So while a growing number of Americans are enjoying the pleasure of doing more work for less money while the corporate execs gorge themselves at the trough, we will continue to witness the irony of chickens being prompted to throw parties for Colonel Sanders.

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