Outsourcing anecdotes come in different flavors

The pro-outsourcing arguments advanced by economist Daniel Drezner, writing in Foreign Affairs, break no new ground. I was struck, though, by this comment about anecdotal evidence:

When forced to choose between statistical evidence showing that trade is good for the economy and anecdotal evidence of job losses due to import competition, Americans go with the anecdotes. [ForeignAffairs.org, via Dan Gillmor]
I just want to point out that anecdotes come in all flavors. Here's one that you probably haven't heard. Last week, an Indian who runs an outsourcing business in Texas wrote to tell me that somebody threw stones through his office window.

He says he can't prove this attack was motivated by anti-outsourcing sentiment, but thinks so based on the fact that his website was also recently defaced with messages like "*&*&&** you have taken our jobs!"


Most of the reactions to my recent column on outsourcing, in which I interviewed MAPICS CEO Dick Cook, were favorable. To the minority of critics, I wrote back and asked: "How do you propose to deal with the situation?" No answers yet.

Meanwhile, an issue that was never abstract to me has become even more concrete. CNET's Builder.com will be outsourcing some of its "content production" to an editorial firm in India. The CNET spokesperson cited in news coverage of this story is senior editor Rex Baldazo, who worked for me at BYTE years ago.

I keep coming back to the exchange between Daniel Pink and Shirley Turner. "We've done it before," says Pink, "going from farm to factory, from factory to knowledge work, and from knowledge work to whatever's next." To which Turner responds: "I'd like to know where you go from knowledge."

Not, let's hope, to rock-throwing.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/03/29.html#a956