Friday, January 23, 2004

The brain drain

Bob Cringley, with his usual insight, explains why he thinks offshore outsourcing is, in the grand scheme, not in U.S. national interests, and ultimately not even in the long term interest of the U.S. companies doing the outsourcing.
... while America remains a country of great technical capability, that capability is being compromised by a new kind of brain drain as we simply allow our local industries to fall apart. Send enough technical work to India or China, and what once was the engineering department ends up working down at Home Depot. The industries that are being particularly affected are information technology, telecommunications, and aerospace. These are also the only U.S. industries that in the 1990s produced substantial trade surpluses. We are shipping overseas the only manufacturing work that still makes money for America.

There are those who argue that the numbers involved are too small to worry about. What do a few thousand engineering jobs matter? These people simply don't know how thin the engineering talent is in many companies. Take 100 programmers out of any software company short of Microsoft or IBM ,and you've crippled some program and maybe the whole company. And the same is true for most of these other critical industries where big work is typically done by small teams.
Cringley thinks the issue is big enough to become an issue in the next presidential election.

Read Cringley's whole column.

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