Chicago Blues

This blog is an online repertoire of my columns that run in the Indian Express, North American edition. Here I rave and rant about life, mostly as seen from the large vistas of my little world.

Location: Chicago, United States

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Inside Story on In-sourcing.

After months of speculation, and much fuss about it, the term “outsourcing” seems finally to have found its perfect antithesis - no, not “reverse-outsourcing,” as an archaic indigenous version may have you believe, but “insourcing,” is what they’re now calling it in Yanksville.

But given the current rate at which India’s economy is growing, and given that nearly four-fifths of its annual revenue is generated from IT industry exports, with the US making close to half the mark among the top players, it would be interesting to see how the mounting white-collar salaries in India would balance out in order for the rupee to continue to appreciate and stabilize. Especially given the big “insourcing” hoopla, which seems to be gaining impetus in light of the looming elections.

How, you might wonder, could this affect the middle-ground-H1B holders, and Green-Card-aspirants? Or even just how much this would impact the life of any NRI. Well, if the plunging dollar doesn’t seem to concern Indian investors in the US, and if all this insourcing were indeed to create more jobs for Americans than “outsourcing” were to cart off, in order to help unassuming BPO workers in India, where does that leave the hoi polloi H-1Bs? If software jobs are moving back to America and benefiting American techies and enriching the lives of well-heeled CEOs of Indian IT giants, will the middle-grounders be forced to move back to India and strive to find decent jobs again? And to even begin to imagine the effect this would trigger off on the lives of the general NRI lot is a mighty task. Then again, if the dollar continues to sink, gas prices continue to escalate, cost-of-living indices remain status quo, and long commutes, stiff working hours, and diminishing savings continue to cause stress and distress, the lives of ordinary NRIs may just continue to crumble, leaving little to no scope for revival.

As the election hungama heats up, more and more Indian software corporations are signing new-fangled lobbyists up to help them downplay the relentless, episodic tittle-tattle that not only goes on about how outsourcing has been costing America jobs, but also derides the English-speaking fancy of modest call center workers in India.

In fact, according to an article in the New York Times, a certain Washington lobbyist revealed recently that information on Indian corporations’ investments in the US was being collated in order to advocate Congressmen and lawmakers from the districts that the investments have generated jobs, and explain to them just how much the “insourcing” is benefiting Americans.

While Obama may not be the best person to go to with this, Hillary would certainly have a word or two to say on the topic. But would this really help promote the expanding Indian middle class as a positive streak to an American middle class that’s currently battling fiscal uncertainties? And whether or not the outsourcing versus insourcing battle continues, the pressure is building up not only for Presidential candidates, but also NRIs. The point in question is not to be or not to be, but whether to be in-source-side or out.

On a lighter note, perhaps, like the Simpsons say, outsourcing is yet the best form of sourcing, at least till insourcing helps the “common man,” to use an Indianism. And wonder what Lou Dobbs would have to say out-and-out on this one. Or should that be inside out?


Post a Comment

<< Home