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One of Salon’s more talented writers, Katherine Mieszkowski (Miss-cow-ski) has filed the first of her Out-of-India outsourcing stories for the beleaguered website.
Salon, home of Democratic Party Pit Bull Sidney Blumenthal, doesn’t always hit the right notes when it goes after political hot-buttons like outsourcing. Too often it toes the party line and rants about liars and lying which is boring.

But Mieszkowski stays pretty much out of all that in her piece, the cover on today’s site, “How India is Saving Capitalism. She spent three weeks there so there will be more, more, more but the point of today’s story – that high tech workforces will be split between here and India for a bunch of reasons – is thoughtful and well done. It doesn’t ignore the cultural differences between India and the U.S., nor does it brush over the tremendous wage differences. It’s a nice contrast to what’s been served up locally as the folks over at Blame India Watch have noted.
The networks – CollabNet employees in Mieszkowski’s piece use phone lines that run over the ‘net between their offices in Brisbane and Chennai (aka Madras) — created by the tech boom, are with us to stay. This, more than anything else, is why so many people in the valley take exception to the Democratic Party’s attitude toward out-sourcing.
The outrage, so far, has been driven by the unions. And tech folks hate unions. They also don’t see the factory and manufacturing abuses that are often a part of outsourcing. And so very many people here – particularly venture capitalists who run the place – see lower costs as necessarily better because they improve the value of an investment. Like newspapers — ‘blogs even — the highest cost in tech is people and if you can get ‘em cheap, it’s good.
There’s a possibility – one Mieszkowski hints at – that outsourcing could work, some changes along what has always been tech’s hidden worker/owner fault line. It’s plastered over for years by high wages, option-driven windfalls and a tolerance for screw the-man posturing, particularly among engineers. Geeks, apolitical to their core, are long used to thinking of business mores and models as forces for good, and of themselves as the gifted but privileged benefactors of their own magnificently designed social change machine. But that’s because the companies that hire them have been good to them – sometimes fabulously so. Faced with the fact that their technology has made them and their fat pay checks obsolete – combined with the double-whammy that stock options will no longer be as easy or as cheap as they once were – the smarty pants back in the code room might start taking a harder look at the world around them. For many, the Dean campaign was the first toe in the water. The full plunge could be – oh forgive me – a big splash.

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