The Indian Economy Blog

December 6, 2006

Anti-outsourcing Backlash – The Epitaph

Filed under: Human Capital,Labour market,Outsourcing,Politics — Nitin @ 11:41 am

Remember John Kerry’s Benedict Arnold speech, Lou Dobbs and his infamous rant on outsourcing and most of all, Scott Kirwin?

Well, Don Boudreaux of Cafe Hayek informs us of Scott’s current whereabouts:

Almost three years ago, Scott Kirwin was Wired’s pissed off programmer (“The New Face of the Silicon Age,” issue 12.02). Tossed from his job and raging against globalization, he had launched the Information Technology Professionals Association of America to lobby against offshored work and imported workers. These days, Kirwin still works with computers. He’s just less pissed: In June, he shuttered the ITPAA. “I don’t view outsourcing as the big threat it was,” he says. What changed? Well, Kirwin found better work as an analyst and software architect. And he noticed that the talents that make him valuable – open-mindedness, a willingness to take risks, flashes of ingenuity – couldn’t be reduced to a spec sheet and emailed to Hyderabad. If more Americans develop such abilities, Kirwin believes, the use of Indian programmers could even improve our economic outlook. Outsourcing isn’t going away, he says. “But in the end, America may be stronger for it.” [Daniel Pink/Wired]

As for those things that “couldn’t be reduced to a spec sheet and emailed to Hyderabad” all that can really be said is “well, at least not yet”.


  1. Hmmm,

    Judging by my deleted comment, I guess Kirwin was correct.

    Open-mindedness hasn not yet spread to Hyderabad…

    Comment by alphie — December 6, 2006 @ 5:30 pm

  2. I am just wondering, but I have heard many people on tech forums talk about the low quality of programmers/engineers to whom work is being outsourced to. Firstly, does anyone know how accurate these claims are?

    Comment by Gurbeer Singh — December 7, 2006 @ 2:31 am

  3. Oops, clicked ‘submit’ before I was done my comment.

    What exactly are companies like InfoSys doing to increase this quality?

    Comment by Gurbeer Singh — December 7, 2006 @ 2:33 am

  4. This reminds of me of the time, a few years back, when the founder of Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (better known by its acronym, M.A.D.D.) accepted a cushy job as a PR flack for the liquor industry. That – and Kirwin’s despicable turncoating – just proves that in the United States the almight dollar is all that counts in the end. And that’s just sad.

    Comment by Rob Anderson — December 7, 2006 @ 5:23 am

  5. Kirwin’s story is of a piece with the deflating of another urban legend about outsourcing, here

    Comment by Prashant — December 7, 2006 @ 6:12 pm

  6. India has far too less quality workers than it was initially assumed given the 1 billion population. Given the literacy is barely 60% and the number of quality workers are about 0.1% of the 1 billion, things are getting better for all thos panickers. Now, the people in West are starting to realize that for a small amount they can get that 0.1% & use it for their own growth and thus outsourcing is no longer a big deal, .

    Unless India modernizes its education system, no way India is a big threat to the white collar jobs, in a big way.

    Comment by Balaji Viswanathan — December 8, 2006 @ 4:43 am

  7. Run, Lola, run.

    Many people touched by globalization fail to comprehend the bigger forces driving changes around them. The best way to describe these changes are provided by Thomas Friedman in “The World is Flat.” Simply put, the playing field is being levelled.

    Comment by Abhishek Nair — December 9, 2006 @ 2:02 am

  8. Lou Dobbs speaks about productivity and tries to prove that companies are loosing by outsourcing. However, he cleverly and clearly ignores the labor cost in his conclusions.

    Don’t worry about outsourcing backlash. This is almost a dead topic now in United States. Now nobody talks about it.

    The quality problem exists in Indian work force due to lack of infrastructure.

    If companies in West wants to benefit by outsourcing, then they not only outsource work, but should also export experienced architects and managers to improve the quality and also meet the deadlines.
    This way the learning curve improves and quality improves.

    Comment by sridhar — December 10, 2006 @ 9:15 am

  9. What’s going to happen to your wonderful economic boom when there is no customer base in the states to justify your existence?

    Even Henry Ford said that he had to pay enough to his workers to buy his products. How many laptops and software do you think the bulk of the U.S. population are going to buy when the only job they can get is at Wal-Mart? when people can’t even afford basic necessities, they won’t be calling you for supporting the latest gadget gathering dust on the shelf.

    Oh and sridhar, keep whistling past the graveyard. I would suggest that you stay tuned. You ain’t seen nothing yet. I , and other U.S. workers, have something you don’t, a vote. Outsource that

    Comment by Christian — January 25, 2007 @ 2:34 am

  10. [...] “…In the end, America may be stronger for it.” Anti-offshoring lobbyist Scott Irwin shuts down his lobby group. (via) [...]

    Pingback by The Chaoszone Weblog » Quick Bits: Violence, English, Solar — January 28, 2007 @ 8:35 pm

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