Skip to comments.Five Surprising Examples of Extreme Outsourcing
Posted on 08/20/2013 10:19:19 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
If you call the customer service line of a major business or corporation these days, theres a good chance youll end up talking to someone thousands of miles away (or to a computer, if the company is really trying to cut costs). If you go shopping for new clothes, its likely that some of shirts and dresses you try on were made by people who are also thousands of miles away, in shops far less glamorous than the ones in which the finished products end up.
Outsourcing is so commonplace in certain industries, we dont even think twice about it anymore. But over the past few years, the trend has spread to practices far beyond call centers and apparel manufacturing. In fact, you might be surprised at the industries that rely on outsourcing now.
We could all use personal assistants to return calls and emails, pay the bills, and shop for presents, but how many of us can afford to hire them? Thats why India-based companies like GetFriday and Brickwork offer a team of assistants who take care of the little tasks you dont have the time or energy forand do it for a much lower fee than what youd pay an in-person assistant. Writer A.J. Jacobs wrote about using Brickwork in a 2005 Esquire story and expressed much satisfaction with how his hired assistants, Honey and Asha, researched his stories, dealt with the phone company, and even honored bizarre requests, like emailing Michael Jackson jokes to him and intervening in a fight with his wife.
Drive-Through Order Taking
When you imagine the person taking your order at a fast-food drive-through, you probably assume he or she is behind the counter in the restaurant. But thats no longer the case in some establishments; instead, the people who take your order might be located in call centers in entirely different states. For example, a 2006 New York Times story reporting on the new practice found that an employee at a California-based McDonalds call center took orders from Hawaii, Mississippi, and Wyoming in just two minutes. The orders are then sent to the stores computers. Chains like Wendys and Jack in the Box also have been testing out this approach. The goal is to help other employees focus their attention on in-store matters and to keep the drive-through line moving as quickly as possible.
Drug Trial Testing
Drug makers have to host clinical trials for any new drugs they want to put out on the market to ensure that theyre safe. Increasingly, theyre moving these trials to lower-income countries and regions like India and parts of Eastern Europe. Researchers who published an article on the subject in a 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine found that the number of countries that are hosting trials outside of the United States doubled between 1995 and 2005, while the number of U.S.-based trials went down. Part of the reason for this has to do with decreased labor and testing-site costs at places outside of the United States; another factor might be a bigger pool of humans in these locales who are willing and able to be tested.
Unfortunately, its not always done with explicit permission. The BBC reported in 2006 about an experimental drug being tested in India on people with cancer without their consent. Because the tests are done abroad, language barriers and cultural differences might get in the way of the test subjects comprehending the risks or benefits. As S.P. Kalantri, a doctor who runs such trials in India, told Wired magazines Jennifer Kahn in 2006, Ninety percent of patients being recruited in India are poor Trials enroll very few patients who are rich, literate, and capable of asking awkward questions.
People generally fall into one of two opinion camps when it comes to video games: they either think theyre a waste of time and a contributor to childhood obesity, or they find them a fun and mentally stimulating way to spend ones leisure time. But both camps would probably look down on the fact that you can pay someone to play the lower levels of games like World of Warcraft so that you can effortlessly ascend to the more challenging stuff. There are also players (known in some circles as gold farmers) in Chinese gaming factories whose sole purpose is to accrue points and game currency so that others can buy it off of them with real money. The buyers then use that game money to buy weapons and other items necessary to play the game as successfully and lazily as possible.
Ever wonder how some power bloggers manage to update their pages so frequently and post new content throughout the day and night? Its possible they get a little help from organizations like Rent A Blogger, which hires people to do everything from set up blogs to research and write about new topics for them. Even Tweeters can pay others to send tweets throughout the day and find Twitter directories to join. Theres a lot of controversy in the online world as to whether this is ethical, since blogs and profiles are supposed to be personal, so many users keep the practice on the down-low. Theyre more open about outsourcing for things like page redesigns and traffic generation, though.
Unfortunately, having everything done out of eyesight has also created a great deal of unethical situations beyond the blogosphere, like the drug trials in India or the apparel sweatshops in Asian countries. Even McDonalds outsourcing was described as bizarre by one consumer interviewed in the 2006 New York Times story. What we gain in productivity and profit, we lose in personal touch and a feeling of connectedness. But as long as there are businesses interesting in saving money and potential employees willing to work for less, it will continue to be a major part of our economy and culture.
Without outsourcing our standard of living in the US would be drastically lower.
Do you? You think our standard of living would be lower if more Americans were working?
Have you ever met a millennial? Many of them are about as interested in working as I am in skydiving. Who is going to do the work? If we were talking about 1950’s or even 1970’s America, I could see your point. That place doesn’t exist any more.
You actually do think our standard of living is higher with the millennials not working?
We’ve outsourced the presidency, why not everything else...
Go ahead and try to twist my words.
Hmmm. That was your answer to my question:
You think our standard of living would be lower if more Americans were working?
That is to say you answered that question by explaining how we were better off with the millennials not working, simply because they weren’t interested.
I’m not sure how that wasn’t saying that you really do think we are better off?
Without outsourcing, the government could not spend like crazy and print money like crazy, then tell us cattle there's no inflation because of all the imported cheap stuff.
You will note that the price of any goods and services produced domestically has gone through the roof: education, groceries, energy, housing, medical care, insurance, legal help--the cost of everything you need to live and breathe is sky high.
But you let yourselves be bribed with cheap electronic gizmos and shoddy clothing from abroad.
We're being sold out.
In the end, the handful at the top who are gaming the system will have it all while the rest of us will have let ourselves be sold out.
So we are a wealthier country if we pay taxes to support millennials not working, and with our remaining funds purchase goods and services overseas (where that money is lost to the US) and pay illegal aliens under the table (no taxes) who then send money out of the country to their families?
I’m really having trouble understanding what you’re saying here.
Remember the original question was:
You think our standard of living would be lower if more Americans were working?
I’m not sure how what you said answers that question.
My xrays are read by a doctor in India, my insurance is processed in abroad, I could never afford dress leather shoes made in USA, my house is built with a ton of imported items including many power tools used by construction workers, my golf clubs are made in China.
I could go on but you get the point. My standard of living would take a nose dive if American unionized workers made all my stuff.
Yes, if all the stuff was made by unionized American workers. Which is why I like Wal-Mart, it is still non-union and I save money doing business with them. I buy groceries at Winco which is owned by workers, non-union, and whole bunch cheaper than unionized Safeway & Fred Meyers.
Since you have put yourself forward I may ask, who is paying you, and for what?
I worked for 23 years for a non-unionized machinery builder. Our machines were sold all over the world.
The millenials not working has very little to do with outsourcing. It has everything to do with anti-business policies of this administration, punishing the most productive and rewarding the most unproductive.
“The millenials not working has very little to do with outsourcing. It has everything to do with anti-business policies of this administration, punishing the most productive and rewarding the most unproductive.”
Yep. I’m just thankful that GWB didnt sell America down the river with outsourcing.... Oh wait....never mind. Lol
Nobody at the top, regardless of the letter after their name, gives even a little bit of a damn about the working class.
That’s not who pays them.
So! Mr. Moneybags. I know the feeling, and I’m feeling very vulnerable.
That depends. American workers are not automatically entitled to a living. Nor are any workers. Nor am I, and since no law protects my income against global competition, no law should protect anyone else's.
If American workers can produce something I want for less than foreign workers, then those workers are entitled to a living. I have no problem with that. That's what the market is for.
Otherwise, they need to be redeployed in such a way as to maximize output.
The globe's a big place. Deal with it.
(Wave of the future - New Media - Dontchano?)
“Have you ever met a millennial? Many of them are about as interested in working as I am in skydiving. Who is going to do the work? If we were talking about 1950s or even 1970s America, I could see your point. That place doesnt exist any more.”
Yeah, because Boomers destroyed it. Well done boomers.
The number one entitlement in America is social security. The folks who pay into social security are the millenials and Xers who are actually working.
Without this, the whole ponzi scheme would collapse. Right now, we just hit record highs of one person on social security for every 2 fulltime workers.
That’s the same as a 50 percent tax rate just to support workers who are retired. Then the said millenial has to sit down and try to support themselves on that 50 percent.
And people wonder why the standard of living is dropping? Taking money from poorer young people who are trying to earn the money and giving it to folks who have many assets is wrong. It’s unsustainable.
This boomer here is still working after 40 years. If you millenials don’t like the social security then why did you vote for your guy Obama to continue the scheme and run it even further in the ground? There are a hell of a lot of you millenials sitting around with your hand out waiting for someone to do something for you.
You boomer bashers really take the cake. It’s always someone else’s fault.
“If you millenials dont like the social security then why did you vote for your guy Obama”
So you’re perfectly ok with stealing from young folks because you’ve already got yours?
“vote for your guy Obama to continue the scheme and run it even further in the ground?”
Our guy? 3/4ths of this most corrupt administration are boomers. Boomers are the ones at the helm of the Fed, making the decisions right now. It’s about time they stepped up and starting owning this economic disaster.
I don’t want a handout. I just want to be left ALONE. No obamacare, none of this doubling down on my taxes.
I pay for all my bills - I just need boomers to leave me alone so that I can get ahead. Deal? No social security ponzi and I’ll be more than happy enough to pay my own way.
I’ve already “got mine” because I’ve been working 40 years. How long have you worked? I’m not trying to “take” anything from you. This boomer bashing usually comes about because of pure jealousy. After you have worked hard for 40 years, then you tell me how much of your money you want to give away to some younger jealous loafers with their hand out.
The globe doesn't pay the income taxes required to fund the military for the U.S. defend foreign goods and services.
“Im not trying to take anything from you.”
So long as you favor continuing the social security program, you are in fact stealing from each and every paycheck.
That’s how the system works. It takes from the young folks working and they pay the folks who are retired. The system is breaking down because:
1, there’s not enough young folks to pay for your benefits.
2, we don’t make enough.
You couldn’t live on what I make a year. Full stop. However, I don’t get to opt out of the same chunk of payroll that you take out even though I don’t make all that much.
‘then you tell me how much of your money you want to give away to some younger jealous loafers with their hand out.”
Which is why you’re picking my pocket? I don’t want your money. I want to hang onto my own.
If our deficit was under control, we would have full employment, like in the Reagan years, and even under Clinton. We even had full employment under Bush, with all of his spending.
Many people around here really don’t like it when someone holds that mirror up in front of them. Lots of talk about how socialism and redistribution of wealth are horrible...until you start talking about social security or government school sports and clubs. Then all of a sudden you’re a heartless, selfish bastard if you’re against those things.
The people who will do the work are the same people who are serving in our military...Millennials.
I’m a boomer and if you go back in time to when we were the age of millenials, you will find that the previous generation said the same things about us.
I strongly disagree.
For an entire generation we have sold off US factories, and sent those jobs (millions of them) to other countries.
Many to China.
A couple months ago, it turned out that China according to some reports, now exports more than America and is growing.
We need to bring back US manufacturing.
Can we have a business environment that enables business (including manufacturing) to thrive on OUR shores? Can we finally elect some folks are not brain dead to such a critical need?
Second, can I have a customer service telephone number answered in English?! And dammit, NO, I don’t want to press 1 for English.
I've been working for going on 44 years ... paying in the max for the last 19 of those.. and haven't taken out a dime yet.
No social security ponzi and Ill be more than happy enough to pay my own way.
Fine, give me mine back and then you can have yours.
“I’ve been working for going on 44 years ... paying in the max for the last 19 of those.. and haven’t taken out a dime yet.”
There’s no lockbock. The money was stolen from you, and if you collect, you’ll be stealing money from young people. It’s a ponzi scheme.
The choices are, boomers take the hit now, or the system collapses and nobody gets anything.
“Fine, give me mine back and then you can have yours.”
You have no right to steal from me because others robbed you. Not my problem. Get it back from the folks who took it from you.
“Many people around here really dont like it when someone holds that mirror up in front of them. Lots of talk about how socialism and redistribution of wealth are horrible...until you start talking about social security or government school sports and clubs. Then all of a sudden youre a heartless, selfish bastard if youre against those things.”
Personally I would be happy if Boomers just stopped digging the damn hole. But no. It’s like Ebeneezer Scrooge - except that the heavy burdens of the dead are being laid, chain by chain, on us. And the Boomers are adding more and more to it’s ponderous length.
Working at the level of jobs that get outsourced?
I didn't like the rules any more than you do .. I played by them because, same as you, I'm not part of the ruling class and didn't have a choice.
So, for now, I'll just take the checks until things break and the rules have to change ... it's the only choice I have and to do otherwise would be foolish.
Not pretty, but if you've got a better plan, let me know.
I will grant you one thing ... it sucks to be you.
“it’s the only choice I have and to do otherwise would be foolish.”
So you’re ok with robbing me because it would be ‘foolish’ to do otherwise. I see.
“I will grant you one thing ... it sucks to be you.”
Heh, since everyone has the same attitude - what happens when the checks stop?
I’ve gone Galt a long time ago. :)
Like you said, every man for himself, right?
There are laws on the books that actively seek to destroy mine. Successfully, I might add.
In part. There's also minimum wage laws that remove the first few rungs from the success ladder, and excessive child labor laws, together they help prevent a growing youth from developing a work ethic.
There's the H-1B, L-1, J-1 and related visa programs that exclude some Americans from jobs and depress the wages of those lucky enough to find one.
And if the wage and indentured servitude provisions of the worker visa programs aren't enough the visa workers are exempt from ObamaCare expenses!
Then there is the vast thicket of regulations where no detail of a business is too petty, no penalty too great...
Ultimately the system will will collapse.
The question is whether it will be a smoking crater, or a very hard landing.
We need a transition system that doesn't cheat the people who have paid their entire lives and planned their retirement around the certainty of getting back what they put in, while assuring the current payers that they will be getting back what they are currently putting in.
I'm not wise enough to solve the problem here, but perhaps the portion of your social security you pay that goes to a personal account vs to the current recipients varies with time? This year, status quo, next year, 2%/98%, the year after, 4%/96%, etc. By the time a 20 year old gets to retirement everything in his account is actually his (plus interest!).
And we need to keep a future JFK from raiding it!
“We need a transition system that doesn’t cheat the people who have paid their entire lives and planned their retirement around the certainty of getting back what they put in, while assuring the current payers that they will be getting back what they are currently putting in.”
There’s no way to do this without stealing money from current workers.
Like I said. There are two options - boomers take the hit now or the system collapses. A ‘middle ground’ that fully funds boomers while locking their kids out is what some pensions have done. It’s not fair, but it’s probably what will happen because it gives the Boomers what they want (money), at the expense of not boomers and best of all ‘fixes’ the problem.
In Illinois. Resigned from my greatly rewarding job there because I pioneered use of computers in manufacturing and engineering in that outfit. I was offered a cushy job by a government funded outfit with very cushy benefits and I could not resist. It was boring, not challenging, no pioneering accomplishments there, but was a good way to slide into retirement :-)
Those H1B visa people are for most part programmers from India. There are 50 million programmers floating around in the world. Do not expect high wages in that field.
Nor are a majority programers. They have moved into every facet of manufacturing, semiconductor processing, biotech, energy, and elsewhere.
Employers love 'em. They work for significantly less than their American counterparts (Yeah, I know the law requires they be paid the prevailing wage. Guess who sets the prevailing wage.) They live in mortal terror that they will lose their job and be sent back to whatever 3rd word cesspit they hale from, and therefore can easily be abused both on a personal level and on a business level. They can be fired and deported if they even look for a better job. What's not to love?
Sidebar, one H-1B I worked with was deported the day after he got laid off. They shipped him of back to the Ayatollah's Iran. No one has heard from him since. No one.On my last paid job I was replaced by three H-1Bs. One Chinese, one Vietnamese, and one Indian. The Indian and the Vietnamese are still there. The employer is challenging to work for. I doubt anyone who could find other employment would have lasted as long.
We are a wealthier country if the poor stay on welfare, than we would be if they were doing a menial job, like programming, or engineering, or sweeping floors, or flipping burgers, or customer support, or data entry.
Maybe we can outsource the taxes needed to fund EBT cards and Section 8 as well?
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