This article just pisses me off!
The second – which plagues me to this day – is that I didn’t see how the outsourcing and offshoring trend in the technology sector where I spent the ‘80s and ‘90s would ultimately affect our economy.
I wasn’t personally responsible for sending manufacturing jobs overseas, but like many executives, I had myself fooled into believing that America’s future was all about intellectual capital, knowledge workers, and the new economy. We all know how that turned out. We lost our manufacturing muscle and all the jobs that went with it.
As former Intel chairman Andy Grove so aptly put it, “You could say, as many do, that shipping jobs overseas is no big deal because the high-value work — and much of the profits — remain in the U.S. That may well be so. But what kind of a society are we going to have if it consists of highly paid people doing high-value-added work — and masses of unemployed?”
Yes, that’s all correct. But the one thing he left out, who’s going to buy all that high-tech candy if no one has a decent job? I used to make a damn good income (thankfully I put most of it away or I’d be in deep shit now.) and I used to spend freely on clothes, movies, restaurants and travel. Now, I don’t spend a dime I don’t have to anymore. And the same is true for a lot of my friends and former co-workers. Is there any blue collar workers still spending money in this country other than the Union/Government workers?
And that’s the way it remained until four factors began to converge that, together, could bring “Made in America” back in a big way – if we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot and squander the opportunity.
The pendulum swung back to vertical integration. Technology companies from Apple (AAPL) and IBM (IBM) to Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT) have seen the light – and the value in controlling virtually ever aspect of their ever-more complex products. Apple, for example, does everything in-house but manufacturing – and it controls that very closely.
China’s bad behavior. From stealing our intellectual property and illegally copying our products to hacking our companies and disrupting our economy, China has managed to flip from an enormous opportunity to an even bigger threat. Granted, it’s both, but the tide has been turning toward the latter for some time.
The backlash against offshore call-centers. Consumers have been repeatedly frustrated and confounded by offshore customer service and technical support agents that are as clueless and useless as they are polite. And that’s come back to haunt companies trying to improve their bottom line by shipping customer support overseas.
A blessing in disguise: the financial crisis. Granted, it would not be my or anyone else’s choice, but the lasting effects of the 2008 financial meltdown – a sluggish economy and high unemployment – have, if nothing else, been a resounding wakeup call to the perilous state of our nation’s job market and manufacturing base.
Two of his examples, China’s bad behavior and Offshore call-centers, directly contributed to my unemployed/forced retirement state. I built call-centers, for banks, for hospitals, for telemarketers (yes, guilty). I saw all of them sent to India (previous cute story) or somewhere just as cheap.
Also, I was an expert in Nortel products (formerly Northern Telecomm), over a thirty year period I installed, serviced and programmed Nortel designed phone systems; for Marriott Hotels, Brighams and Women’s Hospital, Liberty Mutual, and Metropolitan, Mass Electric and Gas, plus hundreds of other law firms, car dealerships and anything else you care to name. There was a time when if you were driving on Route 128, the beltway around Boston, and you threw a nickel out the window it would probably hit one of our customers. Well, the fucking Chinese stole the crown jewels from Nortel (story here) and that along with stunningly bad management quickly killed the company and the market for their products. (I should have specialized in NEC phone systems, the Japs knew better than to trust the chinks.)
So forgive me if I’m not impressed that this idiot is finally realizing what the consequences of his and other BIG IMPORTANT EXECUTIVES stupid decisions were. Asshole.