Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Drifting Down

A few years after WWII Honda, a motorbike maker, began to compete re quality with American made bikes. The Datsun (later the Nissan) at first resembled what later became the Yugo. Then Toyota came to the fore; in 1964 friends of mine referred to it as the poor man's Mercedes. Steadily Japanese cars improved in quality, and the price was always right.

Meanwhile the overpriced products of Detroit deteriorated in value. Today their best hope for survival lies in their foreign investment.

In the early 80's outsourcing of call centers became prevalent, primarily in India. People were told their best chance for economic progress lay in improving their job skills. By 2000 India graduated x times America in engineers. Particularly in IT Indian engineers and programmers were in great demand in this country, and we also enjoy the skills of a fair number of Indian medical doctors. In this country people with improved skills were less hopeful.

The latest IT concerns, like Google, were becoming to a large degree Indian as well as American. American engineers and programmers were taking jobs at $10 an hour. Some of the smartest ones were taking jobs in cities like Bangalore, as per this.

Sheshabalaya quoted Paul Craig Roberts in the Washington Post: relocation is the "distribution of First World income and wealth to developing countries with excess labor supplies" (archive). India of course has a billion odd workers happy to do American type jobs at 20% of the wage level here.

The Indians have at least a few dozen educational institutions comparable to M.I.T. and/or Harvard (according to Shesh). Meanwhile our primary and secondary schools rank in quality near the bottom of the industrialized world.

We are drifting downward rapidly. Our military adventures probably accelerate that process to a considerable degree.

2 comments:

I_Wonder said...

From my perspective, this is good, normal and natural news. Species develop and become extinct; empires rise and fall; people are born and die; wealth gets redistributed and those on the bottom get a chance. As we drift down, others slowly rise to the top where they spend a season.

Larry said...

Right, Paul; we are of one mind re that.

But there's a possibility that more people might become aware of what's happening and take part in measures to soften the cataclysmic effect of these changes.

I can applaud those who are coming up and also do what I can to alleviate suffering, here as well as there.

Probably not much, but that impulse drives me.