In response to an outsourcing article

"Outsourcing" and to a larger extent "globalization" is happening and even though people can view it from multiple points of views - an "appropriate work" standpoint (specialization as globalization), an economic disparity standpoint, a sympathetic humanist standpoint, etc. - I think that the trend is for more detachment, specialization, and thus ultimately more "outsourcing," based on the collision of three things:
1) a growing importance, developing in a global societies, of individualism/individual skills being pushed to their limits via competition (breaking down "everyman" societies in favor of specialist ones so that someone who is really good at doing some particular task will do it much better than anyone else - as opposed to having a society where a bunch of people can all do some task o.k. but not amazingly well)
2) technological advances in communication (you can get in touch with a lot of people all around the world relatively fast)
3) desires for efficiencies in production and life in general (profit-driven businesses tend to want to get as much done while paying the least possible amount of $ for it)

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In most big traditional companies, super-diverse people don't excel at doing anything technical in particular because they spent their time learning something about everything. I feel like they usually end up being managers or leaving their corporate jobs to do independent projects.

You can't get rid of the specialists unless the managers start to specialize, and you can't get rid of the managers unless the specialists step away from their craft.

But it's also very easy for people to spread themselves too thin and not be functionally skillful in anything -> i.e. see the stereotype of a typical liberal arts graduate that works at McDonald's or some call center and wonders why he/she went to college for 4-5 years.

Specialization can be seen as one extension of nature's randomness. People who are born with really big hands might just end up chopping wood all their lives, while people who are born with fast fingers might end up as software engineers for Google. Hey, maybe everyone should be able to contribute something different but useful, based on how their natural uniqueness?

Well, maybe everyone can contribute, but not equally (as deemed by society).

Domestic production is not viewed as equivalent to foreign production. On a global scale, many specialized tasks are now done by people or groups of people in other countries.

Of course, that might mean the call center job the liberal arts grad had in the stereotype now doesn't exist because some random cheap company based in India has taken all those jobs away. This is the fear. Why would domestic business support people in countries that you and I don't live in?

I couldn't tell you EXACTLY why but in my experience, many large, internationally-minded, profit-driven businesses have chosen to outsource. Oversimplifying this issue, I could say that profit-driven business definitely make more short-term profit when they do this. That's one reason why businesses support people and other profit-driven businesses in foreign places. In fact, it's not surprising that international resources often turn out to not only provide adequate services but also end up being the lowest bidders for many kinds of production or service requests. It's more efficient/cost-effective, partly because of more specialization in foreign countries, and partly (perhaps mostly?) because of economic inequality.

Another thought. When it comes to national sustainability, I think that people get concerned when facing global inter-connectivity as a "truth" - it implies that, as a nation, we are dependent on other nations to function, and that this "great country" can't just survive on its own.

But, I can't honestly think of too many people you could drop off at the top of Mt. McKinley or in the middle of the Sahara with no gear and expect them to live. I'm pretty sure that everyone depends on other people, to some degree, and that dependency actually helps people survive (as a collective population). By extension, collective world dependency could ideally make everyone's lives easier, right?

Hold on. Where does dependency come from? People become dependent on others because, as mentioned previously, some people are good at some things while other people are good at other things. One could argue that this comes from chaos in nature - who really knows when the next tsunami, earthquake, or asteroid comes to wipe out huge swaths of civilization?

Despite (or perhaps because of) this randomness and resultant natural human inequalities, some people are willing to help those less fortunate than them for some reason. There are thousands of people interested in making sick children healthier, fixing broken bones, and helping dying elders live longer. There are people who want to construct water treatment centers in the most disease-ridden places in Africa, develop legal systems to handle corruption in Southeast Asia, etc. One could view outsourcing as a way to support a global community by providing funding for people that probably could make use of $2 way more than local citizens.

For most people and populations as a whole, I think that over-specialization causes tunnel-vision, while over-generalization results in lack of focus. In my experience, people who are struggling to find structure in life usually are spending a lot of time generalizing, while people in orderly systems are often stubborn and rigid. I would guess that some amount of balance is appropriate to make things go.

A globally interconnected population requires balance to be sustainable. I am not an expert in these matters but I think societies are drifting towards more towards specialization.

The trend in my mind, based on the interplay between advancements in communication technology, a growing capitalist world economy, and the importance of self-expression/individualism is that people are going to be connected to more and more specialized people in increasingly tenuous ways. So if you think having 1000 Facebook friends around the Bay Area now is absurd, talk to your grandchildren in 50 years, when they might be "friends" with 50,000 people around the world... having exchanged less than three words with 99% of them.

Regardless of the increasing wave of individualism, personally I think that people, no matter where they are from or what they do, that aim to contribute something positive back to the society they are in will always find a way to get by in the world... especially in this country. Now, whether they properly identify what society (even on just a local level - as opposed to a global level) deems as positively functional is another thing... but I think that's also another topic on its own too - delving into people's perceptions of what they think is important to society and their ability to construct meaningful and understanding relationships with others - relevant skills for people looking to build stronger local networks and people looking to outsource to the lowest bidder...

About the article. If some high school kid wants to help fund a tech-savvy Indian kid, that's kind of cool to me. Honestly, it's great that the communication tools exist for that kind of exchange to happen. The more important question to me is this: that high school kid is going to be doing SOMETHING ELSE instead of that homework now - exactly what would that be? I think it's up to the parents, in this particular case, to determine what's up with their child.

Sorry if this is not clear in any way. Hopefully the summary works for you.

Back and forth: Apple doesn't make iPods in China because only China can make iPods. We can make them ourselves. Apple makes iPods in China because workers will work 80 hour weeks for low pay, minimum safety standards, and no benefits. Our increasing interconnectedness is an effect of the process of globalization, not a cause of it.

One possible end result of this is that China has a bunch of workers that are really good at making iPods, and the United States of America does not... hence specialization. The trend in my mind is that due to globalization, people are going to be more interconnected (although by thinner relationships).

Back and forth: It's underpinned by an exploitative attitude of, "hey, if slaves did everything it would be so much cheaper."

Outsourcing on its own does not carry such connotations. One is not necessarily bound to that kind of attitude when he or she seeks to internationally outsource something.

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