Author Says Offshoring 'Real WMD' for U.S.: Page 2

The author of the new book Rising Elephant says offshoring IT jobs ultimately will threaten the U.S.'s position in the world, and it will create a new superpower -- India.


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Q: What do you see happening to the U.S. economy because of offshoring?
Never before in history have high-end jobs moved out. The biggest risk for the U.S. is that it gets caught by surprise in being a renter economy. The U.S. could end up doing the final branding and packaging for the world market, while the work is actually be done elsewhere. You cannot have an economy that does not have a skills base of its own...
The worry for me is that... nobody is clearly putting across what comes after these high skill jobs leave. Try to explain what will replace these high-skill sets. The U.S. has long been the place where everything happens. It was a place for discoveries. If these skills go someplace else... there could be a very big snapping of elasticity of the way it held everything together.

Q: Won't high-level IT jobs need to remain here in the U.S.? Won't companies need project managers and architects within the company's walls?
People who are facing the customers, facing the decision makers in large corporations are going to be required. They need to actively redefine their roles. Over the next 40 years, there will be a very big drift... Those roles will start shifting outside the United States. When that happens, I'd say the process will accelerate very quickly.

Q: Are you saying that U.S. IT workers will end up moving to India to find work?
For me, that is very much an undercurrent that has not been looked at realistically. It's the only thing that carries its own solution. There is no reason why high-skilled workers can't move to India where the work will be done. There will be a high-level physical transfer. They will be connecting with the Indian high-tech machine. In the next five years, it will happen virtually. Americans will be working for an Indian company but still will be based in the United States. Later on, the choice may be for American IT people with a high-level of familiarity of the American market to actually go to India.

Q: But if companies are largely sending work to India because it's cheaper there, wouldn't U.S. workers going to India expect a huge pay cut?
There will be a lot of upward leveling of pay in India. There also will be an encouragement for people to take lower wages but benefit from lower taxes. And they would benefit much more by working in India than in having no job.

Q: Do you think the U.S. government could be, or should be, doing more about this situation?
Definitely. This is one of my biggest complaints. Someone should have been explaining what is going on so people aren't side swiped. The government is pretending there is no problem or that they can block the problem out of existence with legislation. Not allowing job insurance for the IT profession is a problem. There is an absolute need for that. If this wave is accepted as being inevitable, then it's important to try to ride the wave... They need to give incentives to Indian companies to hire people in the U.S. and that's just not happening.

Q: In your book, you say U.S. students will stop majoring in computer science when they see that there are fewer jobs available to them here. Is the U.S. moving toward a time when offshoring isn't a choice but a necessity because we no longer have trained people who can do the job here?
If students stop studying IT, there will be no choice but to go even faster into India. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Students should not be looking just at jobs here in the U.S. Why don't they look beyond the U.S.? There are a lot of jobs -- they just might not be here.

Q: It sounds like you're predicting that the United States is moving into what will be a difficult time.
Oh, definitely. There is no question about that... Somebody needs to start talking about what is in the next stage. There obviously is a kind of numbing about what is happening here. There is a profound structural crisis coming. What must be figured out is how this can be proactively handled.

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