Monday, July 19, 2004

Silicon Valley study:: "Don't bother to oppose outsourcing, workers. You're screwed."

No use opposing offshoring
I first spotted this "it's inevitable, just accept it" attitude toward offshoring in PC magazine. There is a concerted effort to get people to think that there is no government solution to help with the devastation caused by rampant outsourcing and unrestrained "free trade". 
Notice the narrative theme of this study. The goal is to persuade individuals or groups of individuals from doing anything rash, specifically -- demanding some relief from the government or requirements that business follow even minimum guidelines when moving jobs offshore or out of the country.  If government wants to get involved it suggests that it should fund more high level education (no surprise with Standford as a funder of the study).  

The study said legislation designed to slow or stop offshoring would ultimately hurt the region. "This is a train that's long left the station," Ciacchella said. "If we restrict companies from being able to use a tool that's really required for playing at a global level, they're going to lose the game, and that's a loss for everybody."

Think about who is selling this study, what is their agenda?

First you have to ask:
1) Who sponsored the study?
Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network, the Bay Area Economic Forum and the Stanford Project on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
2) Who pays their bills and funded the study?
Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network--Top investors:
HP, Sun, Therma (mechanical engineering) The James Irvine Foundation
Corporations that benefit from outsourcing, companies that most likely won't easily have their work out sourced and a foundation that funds higher-education.  Note: the Irving Foundation started as a tax dodge and recently the CEO was caught benefiting himself first.) 
You say, "But a  union was involved!" Sure, the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association, Bay Area Chapter. They are a fourth tier partner and not likely to worry too much about outsourcing.  Is there any software developers union? Technical support calls union? Manufacturer workers union? Nope.
But with SMACCNA's involvement they can say they are a " public-private partnership of business, government, university, labor and community leaders."  
Bay Area Economic Forum

  • Fleishman Hillard (PR firm, they'll promote whoever has the bucks, corporate shills) 
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (They provide national security so think they are safe)
  • McKinsey & Company (sleazy consulting firm. Former biggest client? Enron.)
  • NASA Ames Research Center (see Lawrence Livermore)
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Company  (behind the disastrous de-regulation of energy, need I say more)

    Stanford Project on Regions of Innovation and Entrepreneurship:
    Lead by the Herbert Hoover Professor of Public and Private Management Emeritus, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.   (You remember, the conservative Hoover Foundation)

3) Who will be hurt, who will win based on the conclusion of the study? 
  -- Areas of Bay Area job erosion: manufacturing, back-office and product enhancement.
-- Areas of Bay Area job growth:
    high-level research, strategic marketing, global business and headquarters-management.

What a surprise. You have a study commissioned by business and hirer education and the results are, "Don't restrict business and spend more money on higher education."  The jobs of the people outsourcing jobs are safe! Only those poor suckers who aren't part of the outsourcing plan are in trouble.

There will be no equivalent study from the point of view of the workers. The media will not cover the individuals until there are so many they finally can't ignore.  How many lives will be ruined as companies chase cheap labor around the globe?

Because of the organizations like the WTO, corporations have been granted unprecedented powers to sue the government in closed trade courts anytime laws designed to protect workers or the environment are deemed to infringe on corporate "rights."

Look at what ten years of NAFTA has done to American's

This embracing of outsourcing and unrestricted free trade as a matter of unexamined policy is simply wrong. People need to educate themselves. We can't stand on the sidelines and accept this.  We don't have to accept growing outsourcing as inevitable.

As Dennis Kucinich said:

We need a new start. We must begin from scratch with decent, bilaterally negotiated trade agreements between this country and each other country we trade with, agreements that are based from the start on the needs of people and communities.


Joseph Dunphy said...

Good post and good point.

11:48 PM  
spocko said...

Thank you! Have I told you that some of my favorite people are mathematicians?

9:03 AM  

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