Kudos to Fast Company (issue: April, 2004) for putting a human face on the complex and controversial issue of outsourcing.
And, jeers to Michael Mullarkey, CEO of Workstream, Inc., a Canadian-based tech company, for saying "I'm paying $65,000 Canadian for developers that were making $147,000 [in California], and they're smiling ear to ear. People are a dime a dozen." (Quoted in the same Fast Company article)
I highly doubt that anyone working for a CEO who views people as a commodity is truly "smiling ear to ear." Workstream's website bills it as a "full talent management solution" and "the business of people" and "targets the major stakeholders in building employment relationships." Hmmmm ... someone's not walking the talk.
Compare this leadership Neaderthal to Costco's CEO Jim Sinegal who refuses to ship his call center offshore because he doesn't think it would create the right image in the minds of his customers and employees.
As some economists have noted, offshoring stops making sense when everyone is doing it. Not only does the cost advantage go away, but so also do the customers who no longer have salaries and money to buy the products and services made by all the cheap labor.
In freshman economics, I learned the principle of ceteris paribus (defined as "With all other factors or things remaining the same.") However, the most important part of this principle is that it doesn't happen. All other things are never ever the same. You can't change one thing and hope that nothing else changes. All actions have reactions. And most of us are having the same corporate reaction these days: they (big corporations) just don't care about us as employees or as customers. Even Delta Airlines, once a paragon of service, is now rated #14!
The Fast Company article states that 1,000,000 Americans have had their jobs sent offshore. Think about the math. That probably turns into 5,000,000 close family members, 25,000,000 friends and relatives, and 100,000,000 friends, relatives, neighbors and working associates still sitting at their desks wondering when it's their turn. One contagious strategic decision is spreading a virus that affects one third of our population.
Are more cheap goods really worth this?