Monday, August 22, 2011
Forget what you read in the papers, hear on the news or watch on TV. Most of it is bullsh*t (I know, I used to work in the media) designed largely to hold onto an image we have of ourselves. America the beautiful, the fair, the justly governed, the America of 10th grade history books, a nation of stalwarts whose actions benefit the nation first and themselves second.
That America is pretty much gone. Now we are the America or profits first, national interests second, and even the companies and men we’ve come to admire in this new millennium are more interested in the bottom line than in improving the country’s lot.
Officially, nearly 14 million Americans are out of work, and another six million are scraping by with part-time employment. Officially, unemployment is close to nine percent, but if you were to count part-timers and those who have simply given up looking for work, that number soars to 16 percent. That’s a lot of people, folks.
Meanwhile, some of the key industries are steadily getting rid of their US workers so they can move their productions overseas where life and costs are cheaper. According to today’s Washington Post (OK, this number I believe) American multinational corporations cut 2.6 million US-based jobs between 2000 and 2009. They added 2.4 million workers in their overseas plants in that same period. That’s an awful lot of people out of work in this country, and an employment boom for the developing nations hosting US businesses.
The companies don’t like numbers like these to be made public. In 2000, for example, GE had 54 percent of its workers in the States. In 2009, that number diminished to about 46 percent. Apple (this should make you think twice about your iPhone and iPad) refuses to divulge its numbers which should tell you something, and IBM has more employees in India than it does in the fifty states. Procter & Gamble has only 35,000 employees in North America out of a workforce counting 127,000 worldwide.
According to Investors.com, “More than 1.3 million additional Western jobs will vanish by 2014 due to ‘the accelerated movement of work to India and other offshore locations.’"
But here’s what’s really interesting. The companies that outsource are not necessarily happy with the folks they outsource to. An article in Outsource Blog claims, "There is research that proves that many companies that outsource either domestically or internationally don’t perform as well as before the outsourcing. In a study, the average user satisfaction deficit was 13 percent. Other criteria, like value for money and company perception by customers, showed similar drops. One has to ask oneself if it’s really worth it."
Further, says ComputerWorld UK, "[C]ompanies expressed frustration with the quality of work being provided, according to a survey, but most businesses still said they chose the cheapest outsourcing option instead of the best quality. Nearly all businesses—94 percent—admitted that the focus on cost was increasing the likelihood of their projects failing."
This ain’t good, folks. Think about it: you’re buying products to enrich the companies that do everything in their powers to raise unemployment here. Then, if you want service on these products, you call someone in Jakarta or Mumbai. The likelihood is that you’ll be dissatisfied with the encounter, but the mother companies don’t seem to care that much about your level of satisfaction. Do you really want that?