About Rationally Speaking
Rationally Speaking is a blog maintained by Prof. Massimo Pigliucci, a philosopher at the City University of New York. The blog reflects the Enlightenment figure Marquis de Condorcet's idea of what a public intellectual (yes, we know, that's such a bad word) ought to be: someone who devotes himself to "the tracking down of prejudices in the hiding places where priests, the schools, the government, and all long-established institutions had gathered and protected them." You're welcome. Please notice that the contents of this blog can be reprinted under the standard Creative Commons license.
Friday, March 03, 2006
Who do these people think they are fooling?
Except, of course, that outsourcing to India (or China, or Mexico) doesn't have anything to do with the poor education of American workers. It has to do with the fact that Indian (and Chinese, and Mexican) workers are willing to do the same job for much less – with the difference being pocketed by the few people with large vested interests in the American companies who opt for outsourcing. Consider, just as one example among many, Travelocity, the Internet-based travel agency embedded in the Yahoo system. I use it often, and whenever I have to speak to a live operator (usually for a complaint), I am connected to somebody in India. I seriously doubt that the operators a couple of oceans away have a better education than comparable operators in the States (and, incidentally, I'm sorry to report that their English is frustratingly worse than the average US-based operator's), but I bet they simply can't demand the same salaries. Now, even from a pure consumer's viewpoint, why on earth should my money go outside of this country in order to get a lower-grade service? Because somebody at Travelocity is making a kill, and it ain't the Indian operators.
Also recently, Russian President Putin made the comment that he invited Hamas – the terrorist Palestinian organization that won the recent elections – for a visit to his country because he “respects the will of the Palestinian people” (though he did tell Hamas to be nice and behave). Really? And what about respecting the will of Russians, who are governed by a quasi-dictator who increasingly adopts old-Soviet style methods? Or, hmm, perhaps Putin could try to respect the people of Chechnya, who have been demanding similar that much from Russia for years, only to be continuously crashed by a combination of military force and institutionalized poverty -- just like Israel has been doing with the Palestinians?
The only astounding thing about all of this is that so many people – in Russia as in the US – apparently read these absurd declarations from their leaders and don't react by impeaching them. How many fools are out there, exactly?