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United States The Almighty Buck Businesses IT

Small Town USA Competing With India 496

William Hood writes "According to a news article at ABC, companies are sometimes opting to outsource to rural USA rather than foreign countries. Although it still achieves the same result of lowering the value of a job, I think the idea of moving to a larger house that costs less in a town with no traffic is a much better option than flying to Bangalore to train your replacement." From the article: "Sebeka is 14 miles from the closest traffic light, hours from the nearest Starbucks coffee shop and a far cry from the Chicago suburb he left. 'There is no traffic,' said technical consultant Clayton Seal, who also works in Sebeka. 'Anytime, day or night, you can cross Main Street -- almost don't have to look 'cause there's nobody there.' Seal also lost his job to outsourcing."
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Small Town USA Competing With India

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  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @03:42PM (#13417019)
    How exactly do you buy a larger house on a smaller salary? Chances are, if they move you to a more remote and cheaper part of the country, they're going to reduce your salary to an adjusted range for that region.

    So let me get this straight... you move away from your family and friends. You pull your children out of their school, away from their family and away from their friends. You go through the trouble of selling your house and moving to a new place and buying a new house on your reduced salary. You lose the conveniences and diversity of a big city.

    And what do you end up with? A job that could still always be outsourced if someone gets that bug up their ass. And what happens when that position is no longer there? Well, now you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and will probably have to move again because your new little podunk town isn't where all the jobs are - just your current one.

    But if you want to inconvenience your family and live like a nomad, at the beck, whim and call of your employer - go for it.

    For the record, my employer did this recently, too. But I refused to follow along unless they not only retained my previous salary dollar for dollar (not just salary GRADE), but gave me an increase. Most people, however, are not in a position to make such demands and will be in the "do it or we give your job to some guy in Russia" category.

    Even companies that are doing this then move on to the next step of outsourcing, because no matter how cheap they can find labor in America, it's cheaper elsewhere. There are places without OSHA. Places without the same expectation of benefits. Places without the same taxation requirements or insurance. Places with cheaper construction, electricity and maintenance costs. If you can hire an engineer for $4-$7/hr outside of this country, why would you ever waste your money hiring an American when they could make more than that at Burger King?

    To stay employable in the future in this country, you need to have highly marketable skills that are unlikely to be shipped overseas. Brush up on your ability to push a broom or ring up a cash register.

    Seriously, any and every job that can be outsourced, eventually will be. I can't think of many that could not be. Even surgery eventually (since we saw the story of a surgery taking place across the ocean, via a remote/robot). Management could be handled overseas. Product manufacturing can be done over seas. Taking orders at a fast food drive through can be done overseas. Gas pumping can be automated. Even cashier work will eventually be automated. I guess security guard work is probably a sure bet. Police work. Janitorial work. And, I suppose, hollywood/acting type of work. Maybe teaching?

    And yes, I'm a little bitter because I was too young to get into the game to enjoy the dot-com insanity and profit from it and now it feels less like a career every day and more like an 8-5 burger flipping job.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Hello this is HAL,
      How can I help you?
      Would you like cheese with that hamburger?
    • How exactly do you buy a larger house on a smaller salary? Chances are, if they move you to a more remote and cheaper part of the country, they're going to reduce your salary to an adjusted range for that region.

      I live in Fort Lauderdale Florida, I used to live in Fort Wayne Indiana. The same house in Fort Wayne would cost me 3-5x as much in Fort Lauderdale. Salaries here are higher, but not 3-5x higher.

      On the flip side though, things like groceries, cars, cable tv, computers and so on all cost the same in
      • You don't work as a Guidance Engineer for the Geek Squad- do you?
      • "On the flip side though, things like groceries, cars, cable tv, computers and so on all cost the same in this country no matter where you live."

        Cars and computers, maybe. Cable TV and Groceries? No way in hell. When I moved from rural Pennsylvania to the metro NY area, both my grocery and cable bills jumped 25%. Sure, I got a slightly better selection of food options and premium cable channels, but not enough to justify the cost difference. Of course, IT work pays almost double in this area, so it was stil
    • by Uhlek ( 71945 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:05PM (#13417153)
      Obviously written by someone with no knowledge of the housing market.

      Most large metropolitan areas are, and have been the last 5 years or so, in the middle of bubble markets. Some are worse than others, but in almost all cases, those that make the median incomes cannot afford the median home.

      Take where I live, Washington DC. We're in one of the worst bubbles in the history of the United States. People who make six-figure salaries cannot afford homes within 50 miles of the District. Even housing in far-flung communities like Fredericksburg VA, Waldorf MD, and even Martinsburg WV are skyrocketing.

      The reason is speculation. People are willing to purchase homes they cannot afford out of the concept that they will make massive returns on it later on. They're right -- up to a point. Eventually (many are saying within the next couple years) the price point will level off because there simply aren't enough people who can afford those prices, then once it levels off, the speculation will end, and prices will plummet. Personally, I think it's all a scam engineered by real estate investors, which is why I'm renting.

      Rural areas have been spared this. Making 100k a year, you can only afford to rent in and around DC. Making 50k in a rural area, you can afford a large home with acrage and still have enough left over for a very comfortable lifestyle. You won't be wearing the latest fashions and drinking at the finest clubs, but, you won't be expected, to, either.

      There's always other friends, and besides, children would probably be better served growing up in a rural area vice a city, with all the problems that they come with.

      It's all contingent on what's important to you.
      • by b0s0z0ku ( 752509 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:43PM (#13417636)
        There's always other friends, and besides, children would probably be better served growing up in a rural area vice a city, with all the problems that they come with.

        Not necessarily:
        * City magnet schools are some of the best, if your kid is smart and can get in
        * Rural areas have their social problems, too, often more so than cities (witness the recent problems with crystal meth in the Midwest and West)
        * Kids can actually *walk* in cities with less of a risk of being hit by a car (counterintuitive, but cities have sidewalks and traffic doesn't move that fast). Not to mention that there are interesting places to go to within walking distance. I see a lot more 10-12 y.o. kids out walking on their own in NYC than in any rural area
        * Gangs are still a problem in "rural" areas. Look at some parts of New Mexico for an example of this.
        * Don't think that rural areas aren't polluted. Pesticide runoff and industrial pollution (like from mining and coal burning powerplants) is more of a problem than one would like to think.


    • Well, now you're stuck in the middle of nowhere and will probably have to move again because your new little podunk town isn't where all the jobs are - just your current one.

      If the house out in the country is set on a farm, the land can be rented out to be farmed. There are many different ways to use the land bring in some income. Living out in the country is a different lifestyle and you have to be more resourceful since you have to work for it. It's not like living in the big city and expecting everyth
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:07PM (#13417156) Homepage Journal
      " How exactly do you buy a larger house on a smaller salary? Chances are, if they move you to a more remote and cheaper part of the country, they're going to reduce your salary to an adjusted range for that region."
      Easy they cut your salary by 20% and homes cost 1/5 what they do where your from.
      I am thinking of doing this with our current tech support center. The difference is that we are planning on paying the same as we currently do. We are in South FL and frankly we can not FIND anyone that will work for $12-$15 an hour to do tech support. Home prices have gone up over 100% in the last 4 years. The average home costs over 200k now. The schools are over crowded and traffic is out of control.
      Depending on what is important to you small towns can offer a better standard of living than a big city for a fraction of the cost.
      If you want.
      Clean air.
      Good primary schools
      little traffic.
      Outdoor activities like, cycling, hiking, camping, hunting, and fishing.
      Then a small town might just be perfect for you.
      If you want
      Chinese food that will melt your eyeballs at 2:00 am
      Art galleries.
      Live Theater.
      then yea a big city is a good choice.
      Yea you do sound bitter. My customers do not care that that a home is going to cost 300k here soon. They do not care that gas is almost $3 a gallon. They do not want to pay twice what they are paying now for technical support. I do care that the people that work for me can not afford a home and that the schools that they have to send their kids too suck.
      We will give them a choice. They can stay hear of move at the same pay.
      • by Hugonz ( 20064 ) <> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:26PM (#13417259) Homepage
        What if all I want is proper HTML, maybe some bullets here and there??? couldn't resist, sorry.
      • My customers do not care that that a home is going to cost 300k here soon. They do not care that gas is almost $3 a gallon. They do not want to pay twice what they are paying now for technical support.

        Then screw them. This is the crux of the issue. No one wants to pay. Well tough. Your custoomers didn't care about the 300k house and the $3 a gallon gas so forgive me if I could give a rat's ass about them having to pay for what people are worth. If they think it should be so bloody cheap then it should b
    • Don't you have any friends outside of major metropolitan areas? Mine laugh when I tell them what I pay and what I'm getting for what I pay. I live in San Diego and the prices here (like a lot of other places) put shoe-box sized pieces of property into ranges I'd call pretty high.

      Local economy, population density, there are a lot of things to take into account. So I don't think its so far off saying in a smaller part of the country, even with the reduced salary things like house-size will increase even as
    • How exactly do you buy a larger house on a smaller salary?

      Anyone who has watched "What You Get for the Money" on cable tv knows that what you get depends more on where you are than on what you make. Rural America is no different. In N. Dakota you can buy 300 acre farms for less than a studio apartment in San Francisco. But unless you are a damn good farmer (or semi-retired) you might not want to move there.

      However there are lots of places with most of the amenities of big cities without the high prices. In Moses Lake, Washington, for instance, you can buy a nice 3br, 2ba ranch house for under $100,000; often lots less. Or a condo on the water with dock for your jet-skiis for $129,000. And about 2.5 hours to Seattle or 1.5 hours to Spokane if you really *must* get to a big city.

      Want Internet? Moses Lake has DSL and cable Internet plus Fiber-to-the-home in many places (not all) at reasonable prices (under $50 per month for duplex 1mbps). And power rates that are among the lowest in the country at under 4 cents per kw/hour.

      Moses Lake has an entire former B-52 bomber base with a 13,000 foot runway and tons of room for construction of new buildings in case you don't like the old Air Force hangars.

      Recreation? The lake itself is great for water skiing, kayaking, sailing and jet-skiing. We have hundreds of acres of sand dunes south of town for 4-wheeling and off road motorcycling. Bird hunting in the fall, fishing in the summer and deer and elk close by if you really have to go kill something. We are 1.5 hours from ski resorts and x/c ski areas, Moses Lake has a *FREE* ice skating rink in the winter, bike trails, tennis courts, a dozen baseball fields, great parks, and friendly people.

      Ever want to learn to fly gliders? One of the finest locations for soaring flight is run by the Seattle Glider Council and located at a former WWII training base in Ephrata; only 20 miles away. This is where the Seattle pilots come to really learn to fly gliders.

      Top it off with free concerts in the park every Saturday during the summer, a Community College and affiliations with several 4-year universities, splendid weather featuring summers with rainy days you can count on the fingers one hand and friendly people.

      So not only can you buy a bigger house on a smaller salary but you get a better lifestyle too.
      • by CatGrep ( 707480 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @09:08PM (#13418700)
        My parents have lived in Moses Lake for the last 12 years. They're trying to sell their house and get out of there; unfortunately for them the housing market there is not as hot as it is other places. In fact they haven't had any bites in the last couple of months it's been on the market.

        You mention water skiing in Moses Lake - However whenever I have visited the lake is full of algae scum. It's a rather stagnant lake. Not anything I'd want to swim in.

        And the weather? It gets very cold in the Winter (down around 0 is not unusual) and very hot in the Summer (100 is not unusual this time of the year). And it's a desert landscape without much of anything interesting. There's a park nearby called the Potholes Park (sounds just lovely). Lots of farms around so you can get plenty of pesticide spray wafting your way (one of the reasons my parents want to move - it has become enough of a problem that it's effecting their health). Oh and then there's the Hanford Nuclear Reservation not an hour away - lot's of glow-in-the-dark fun to be had there!

        No, Moses Lake is not the beauty spot you make it out to be. I actually find it to be one of the most depressing places I've ever visited - but maybe it's partly because I prefer the green side of the mountains.
    • And yes, I'm a little bitter because I was too young to get into the game to enjoy the dot-com insanity and profit from it and now it feels less like a career every day and more like an 8-5 burger flipping job.

      Why don't you do like I did when I lost my job and start your own business? Oh, that's right, it's easier to be bitter and argue that the world owes you a living.

    • by rpozz ( 249652 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:38PM (#13417312)
      Don't worry about it.

      Firstly, offshore outsourcing in computer science appears to be grinding to a halt, according to a few sources, mainly because overall it doesn't really save money. Slashdot won't report it because their parent company, VA Software actively supports outsourcing. OSTG has plenty of adverts on it (not here though obviously - two-faced bastards).

      Secondly, no manager wants to get too carried away with outsourcing, because inevitably their job is next, especially seeing as they will have an enormous salary.

      Finally, as even Slashdot will report, India is becoming too expensive(!!) for outsourcing. However, not many countries have as many English speakers as India, so it isn't as easy to achieve.

      There's a good joelonsoftare article on why it makes sense to hire programmers based on skill, rather than salary.
    • by renehollan ( 138013 ) <> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:03PM (#13417439) Homepage Journal
      At one point I left a $100k job in Chicago to take an $85k job in Dallas and bought a new house 50% bigger than the 20 year old one I had for around 80% of what my old one sold for, and had more money to save after living expenses.

      Of course, I didn't move to "Bumfuck, Noplace, U.S.A" -- I moved to a place which had a fair amount of local high tech biz taking advantage of the lower cost of living, not quite the rural extreme depicted dependent on a single remote employer.

      What tends to happen is that the high-tech people in a rural area with traditional low-tech employment opportunities tend to be the local "rich folk" that stimulate and reinvigurate the local economy.

    • And what do you end up with? A job that could still always be outsourced
      Yeah, but on 7 acres the guy can at least sustinence-farm until things pick up. Do that in a SF condo.
    • So let me get this straight... you move away from your family and friends. You pull your children out of their school, away from their family and away from their friends. You go through the trouble of selling your house and moving to a new place and buying a new house on your reduced salary. You lose the conveniences and diversity of a big city.

      Well that's funny, those of us who aren't from big cities, and who don't want to be, have been facing this exact proposition for years, but forced to move to the

    • by lost_n_confused ( 655941 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:57PM (#13417700)
      I moved to a rural area 9 years ago and I lost so many of those big city conveniences. I lost all the metal detectors to protect my kids. I lost the drug dealer on every corner. I lost all the street gangs. I lost all of the crime. I lost having to lock my doors. I lost having my car broken into. I lost the traffic. I lost $250k houses and replaced them with $50k to $100k houses that are bigger with land measured in acres. I lost having to pay $10 a person to see a movie (In the next town admission for 2 adults to a movie, a large popcorn, and 2 20 oz bottles of pop is $10). I lost crowded schools (my daughters high school graduating class will be 18.) I lost crowded state parks. I lost fighting for hours every weekend to put my boat in at the lake. I lost crowded camp grounds. I lost all the lovely air pollution. I lost 3 hour waits to renew my drivers license. I lost high priced doctor's office visits (a visit to the local hospital emergency room at 2 AM, x-rays, doctor's fee, cast, pain medication, and follow up for a broken hand was $409. The one local doctor who still make house calls for $35 moved into town 5 years ago.) I lost having to worry if my wife breaks down that the car load of 5 or 6 teens that pull up behind her are up to no good. I lost the shitty workers at local stores (they bag my groceries for free and ask which of my cars I was driving today so they can carry them out.) I lost the fear and distrust of the big city (the day I moved in I was at the local hardware store and forgot my check book they just asked me for my phone number and address and would send me a bill if I didn't make it back to the store.) Your right I lost all of those wonderful big city things.

      As for moving your kids so what, I know more then a dozen IT workers who moved over 500 miles to get a better position. Sorry you didn't get to enjoy the dot-com boom but I did and still had the life style of a rural area. I flew to either the west coast or east coast every week and loved it. At this point in my life I want to make a change and I am back in school full-time as is my wife something I would never be able to afford if I still lived back east.

      In rural areas of South Dakota you can buy houses for $7.5k - $20k that are the equivalent of the older homes that are rental property in most larger cities. Want a lake front home that is $150k to $350k. It is a small lake and you can only drive your jet ski for 60 miles one way and have to turn back.

      Spend the rest of your life trying to find a job where you can't be replaced is a dream. When you grow up and want to join the big boy's world come back and talk to the rest of us. You remind me of the whiners on my first job after I finished my engineering degree they pissed and moaned that I was paid a lot more then them. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices to achieve something. You want your cake and eat it to. Sometimes you have to make changes in life you don't want for the benefit of your family or career and relocating is one of them. You think you will ever find a position where you are indispensable you are nuts. Virtually anything and anyone can be outsourced over seas.

      The point of the article is that while you can hire a moron 10 time zones away that has no idea what a vertical producer of something does for $5 an hour you can also hire an American in a rural area $20 an hour who does understand your company and market. In a rural area that person can live better on $20 an hour then you can on $40 an hour in most big cities because of a lower cost of living. I am willing to bet a lot of IT workers are paid a bit below $40 an hour. The midwestern work ethic is something you most likely wouldn't understand either. If I was going to open any kind of manufacturing or high tech company it would be in a rural midwestern area because people out here tend to be less likely to job hop because of limited opportunities and they tend to stay with the same companies for many years because most people here never move away. Where did it say in TFA that they are tr
  • It wasn't HIS job (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Seal also lost his job to outsourcing

    Ah, yes. Them dang foreigners are stealin' our jobs.

    Wake up. It was never Seal's job in the first place. No-one owns a job or has a right to a job.

    • by Seumas ( 6865 ) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:04PM (#13417145)
      On the other hand, a company that gets massive tax breaks and general corporate welfare on the cost of american citizens should not be able to sell those same american citizens out for cheaper foreign labor that the citizens that helped get and keep the company running in the first place could not ever possibly compete with, simply because they had the misfortune of living in a top-society that values the Fortune 500 more than they value employing americans and keeping the economy strong?

      How is the economy going to work out when the only jobs in this country are service jobs and everything that is consumed is produced overseas? Including knowledge and intellectual property.

      No, nobody has a "right" to a job - but that doesn't mean anyone has the right to sell the entire country short, either. There is a serious difference between the freedom of the employer and the freedom of the employee in this country. You probably couldn't even live on the street for what they're paying in a lot of cases overseas. Are you suggesting that people in this country are just whiney and lazy because they can't compete with a position that requires 10 years of experience and a 4 year university degree on $6/hr?

      Wake up and stop buying the Fox News Channel business-line hook and sinker. Not everything big business does is glorious and representative of democracy and freedom. A lot of it is underhanded, backstabbing and unpatriotic. Like using offshoring as a forceful threat to induce Americans to accept lower wages and worse working conditions.
      • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:26PM (#13417554) Homepage
        While I agree that what is happening with American companies outsourcing is highly unethical at first sight. But the more I think about this and look back on history, the more I'm starting to see that America has been spoiled with a quality of life far beyond what should normally have been. This is in part to the tapping of cheap labor.

        Now fast forward today... We have international travel and instant communicans that it makes globalism that much closer to home. As such, the process of outsourcing (and insourcing too) is what happens when you reach a point of achieving Global-Economic-Equilibrium. As each country demands higher pay for the services they are selling, you simple re-outsource to Africa, Mexico, Asia...etc untill the cost of their services equals that of what can be bought in America.

        Now you might think this really *sucks*. But let me ask you something. Would you rather force to keep jobs in America so you can buy your next "X-Box"? Or, would you rather the jobs be offered to 10 people in your place that just wish to have clean water and shelter over their head? In retrospect, I now know what the ethical choice should be.

        Basically to sum things up, we Americans and Europeans are spoiled and don't realize just how good of a life we have it. Untill the rest of the world catches up in skills and industry and thus demand higher wages themselves, expect the 1st world to stagnate for some time. Keep in mind this will only be a temporary event that might last for 20+ years from now. However, the fostering of free enterprise does alow for democrocy at the same time which should make for a safer and more peaceful world.
        • by composer777 ( 175489 ) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:54PM (#13417683)
          Since when have markets EVER worked the way you describe? Your proposition reminds me of my vegetarian friends who don't eat meat because they think that if we consume less meat, it will help solve world hunger problems. That's NOT why people are hungry, we throw food away every day in this country. We have more than enough surplus to feed the entire world. It's because markets are inefficient. If all Americans decided to quit eating meat tomorrow, that still wouldn't change the fact that the reason people go hungry is because they don't have money, and without money, you don't get to eat in a market based economy.

          The same goes for your example of labor outsourcing. Corporations are not doing this to provide running water, etc. to third world countries. Only a small minority in India are benefitting from any of this outsourcing, the rest are just as poor as they ever were. It would be nice if corporations were actually installing infrastructure, but that's not reality. The reality is that they are doing the bare minimum, like making sure that the warehouses that the employees work in have electricity, and running water, but when those employees go home, they still live in the same 3rd world standards that they had before. Again, this is a small minority, the rest are living in poverty. The net effect of outsourcing has been to lower the standard of living, not to raise it. As soon as the standard of living gets to high, the corporations will move. The goal is to drive wages down to the lowest level. Small miniorities of rich people will benefit, both in the US and in the 3rd world, but everyone else will suffer.

          You keep describing this as a process of wealth redistribution to the 3rd world, when the reality is that the wealth is being distributed to the rich. The way markets have worked, and the way that they have always worked, is that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer. The net effect of free trade is not redistribution of wealth to 3rd world countries, but is in fact to redistribute wealth out of the hands of the middle class and in to the hands of the upper class. I would quit thinking about this in terms of nationality, that only confuses the issue. Free trade's goal is not the redistribution of wealth between nations, but is in fact a policy that redistributes wealth between class. Making "India" or "China" richer means absolutely nothing. Nationalism no longer has meaning in this world of globalization. The proper way to view this and to gain understanding into why free trade proponents love it so much, is to view it in terms of class. When one does a class based analysis, and looks at what this policy is doing to each class (middle vs upper vs lower), it becomes obvious that around the world, free trade has taken money away from the middle and lower classes, and put it in the hands of the upper classes. The rich in India, China, US, etc. have gotten quite a bit richer treating and trading middle class labor as if they were commodities, and the poor have gotten quite a bit poorer as a result.
          • by smallpaul ( 65919 )

            You keep describing this as a process of wealth redistribution to the 3rd world, when the reality is that the wealth is being distributed to the rich. The way markets have worked, and the way that they have always worked, is that the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

            This seems to be the key sentence in your post. According to this view, market-driven countries like America, Britain and the rest of Western Europe have seen their poor grow poorer over the last 300 years of capitalism. And yet, by a

    • Only on /. would an anonymous post be mod'ed up to +4 for semantically parsing the words "his job".

      If it wasn't his job, why was he getting paid by his employer for doing it?
    • by mdwh2 ( 535323 )
      By the same reasoning, no one owns an employee, but we still have everything from overexcessive "we own everything you think" IP contracts, to no-compete contracts.

      That's the thing I don't understand - by all means have a laissez-faire approach if you really think that works better, but that should work both ways, in the employee's favour as well and not just the employer's.
    • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:05PM (#13417452) Homepage Journal
      Wake up. It was never Seal's job in the first place. No-one owns a job or has a right to a job.

      Remarkably, people tend to work better if they have some reasonable expectation that their jobs are their jobs, and good employers understand this. Attitudes like the one you express, while all too common, are ultimately destructive to employers and employees alike.
  • by FireFlie ( 850716 ) * on Saturday August 27, 2005 @03:43PM (#13417026)

    Although it still achieves the same result of lowering the value of a job

    We are still a capitalist society. If someone is willing to do a job just as well (or better) than the guy currently doing it, and for less money, what do you think will happen?

    For the guy that is accepting the job out in the country this may be an good thing idea because the cost of living is often much less out in the country than in the burbs or in a big city. I'm sure there are also people out there that like both working with computers and living on farms, all with the added benefit of having little to no commute to worry about.

    Another good side effect of this would be bringing money into smaller, rural communities without bringing in Walmart (I live in Kentucky and there are many such areas neighboring the town that I live).

    Regardless, I agree with Hood, I would very much prefer to hear that jobs are being outsourced more and more to Americans rather than being sent overseas to India.

    • Except the reason that people are now in the position of being willing to do the job for this pay and these circumstances is only because the alternative is for those jobs to go completely away thanks to globalization. I'm all for capitalism, but while my employer has a global work force to choose from, I do not have a global pool of employers to choose from.

      This isn't a good thing. If we weren't so lax about allowing offshoring like there was no tomorrow, people would not be accepting these jobs for pennie
      • Of course you have a global pool of employers to choose from. You just have to accept whatever wages they'll offer you. If it can be done on a computer, it can be done by Americans for foreign companies.
      • by BackInIraq ( 862952 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:39PM (#13417323)
        All of our money will (and already is) going out... and not coming back in... We are reducing our own country's value for the same of a few lame ass CEOs and a small echelon of the investor-class.

        But I would think that this can't go on forever. Once all the jobs are outsourced, we'll hit the point where we can't consume the products India and China are exporting, at any price. Then it will be a wake-up call for them, because it sucks to be a business when your biggest customer is gone. Eventually we'll see Indian and Chinese companies outsourcing to the US, because we're so poor we're willing to work for less.

        But in the long run what I see happening, the final effect of the global economy, will be a sort of equalizing effect when it comes to wealth across the world. Indians and Afghanis and Mexicans become more wealthy, and Americans less. The humanitarian in me cannot help but see that as a good thing. Of course, the American in me thinks it freakin' sucks.

        That, and it wouldn't happen overnight, and the process wouldn't be pretty. I'm talking "Gee, doesn't the Great Depression look like it might have been a fun thing to live through" not pretty.
        • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @05:31PM (#13417572)
          But I would think that this can't go on forever. Once all the jobs are outsourced, we'll hit the point where we can't consume the products India and China are exporting, at any price.

          This point will come when oil stops being traded in US dollars. Right now your currency is grossly overvalued because anyone who wants to buy oi has to pay in greenbacks. This creates an artificial demand for US dollars. If it weren't for that US dollar would carry little more respect than a peso.

          Now, your govt isn't stupid and knows this prety well, so they invaded Iraq as soon as Saddam announced that they'd trade Iraqi oil in Euros. Now, that Iran is trying to do the same thing (and even start their own oil Bourse traded in Euros) your president is throwing a hissy fit. Except this time he's way too weak to do anything about it.

          Soon enough the chinese plasticware at Walmart is going to get verrry expensive for ya.

          • No (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cameldrv ( 53081 )
            This argument is constantly floating around, but it makes no sense. Oil being traded in dollars makes almost no difference. It's the goods that are purchased that is the issue. Suppose I am a Chinese oil company. I have yuan to buy oil with. I go to the currency market, and exchange my yuan for dollars and pay the dollars to Saudi Aramco. Now suppose the Saudis want to buy some of those $29 DVD players. They go back to the FX market, convert the dollars back to yuan, and buy the DVD players. The onl
            • Re:No (Score:3, Insightful)

              by MSBob ( 307239 )
              We could be butting heads on this one all the time. First it matters enormously because even if both parties of your example hold dollars for even a split second their M1 is controlled by by Greenspan. That's an enormous amount of power right there. Also you forget that oil is a fungible commodity. Most contracts are signed on international exchange markets with the vast majority of them on NYMEX.

              Secondly because the dollar is pegged to oil, which is the real currency of the modern world, you need dollars

          • Do you know why the US dollar got off the gold standard? Voters who were debtors were in favor of a currency that could inflate; if a dollar was worth less, so were the dollars they owed to the bank.

            Fast forward a century, and we now have the government that is deeply indebted, and while both parties like to gloss over it, it's still an albatross around the federal government's collective neck. The easiest way to pay off this debt? Devalue the dollars that debt is measured in.

            This is why the US governme
      • This is nothing more than the result of corporate strong-arming.

        No. This is the result of decentralization. It didn't used to be possible for a company to have a tiny office in BFE that could provide useful contributions to the mother ship. The result of offshoring is that low-cost tools for permitting such collaboration have been created.

        It isn't a sin to live in the stix. Some people actually like it! Myself, I will stick to living in San Francisco, but for those who want to live in BFE... go for i
      • I'm all for capitalism, but while my employer has a global work force to choose from, I do not have a global pool of employers to choose from.

        Why not? Do you think that there are no employees of Japanese companies in America? IIRC, Honda just opened a big plant in my old home town. And I know people in America who work for German software companies (e.g. SAP).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 27, 2005 @03:49PM (#13417049)
    Debronsky said the town's isolation will help guarantee workers will stick around. "There's no other work within two, three hundred miles," Debronsky said with a smile.

    Translation: "We can treat these people like complete shit if we choose, and most of them will just roll over and take it due to the hassle of relocating to find alternate employment."
  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @03:57PM (#13417101)
    Living in the city is important to some people, but not to all. I lived in Seattle for a dozen years. My wife comes from a small town in eastern Washington state (we met in college in Seattle). Every time we go back to visit her folks, I always end up thinking "this is such a wonderful place - too bad there aren't any jobs".

    Personally I'd take this sort of job in a short second. Friendlier people, a real sense of community, no commute, an amazingly lower cost of living... sure sounds good to me. Plus it'd make my wife happy - she's still a small-town girl at heart.

  • by Infinityis ( 807294 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @03:58PM (#13417107) Homepage
    Some positive things I can personally attest to about living in a rural area:

    Your kids can graduate as Valedictorian or top 10% with relative ease

    You can turn your TV/music way up and no neighbor cares.

    Because it takes longer to get from A to B, you get a lot less visitors, particularly annoying visitors.

    You actually take grass for granted (note: When I went to college, people were surprised at how I would cut across a grassy area without even thinking about it--apparently grass was respected if it was next to a sidewalk).

    More space for personal projects.

    Less traffic (as pointed out in the article).

    No "Homeowners Association"...if you want to do home improvements or park cars in the yard, have at it.

    An excellent view of the night sky.

    Those are just a few of the things I miss about living in a rural area...
  • While it's probably a better cost cutting measure than outsourcing because lower cost of living - the whole bad thing about being in a super rural place is that you are miles from nowhere - and travel is getting more expensive and a PITA (to fly).

    The other problem - even with the internet - is that you are isolated from the action - only so much business (to business) can be conducted over email/websites (talking about more major deals). Many clients still feel more comfortable with someone they can meet f
  • The catch ? (Score:2, Informative)

    by rkt ( 9943 )
    There is no problem doing this in a small US town.

    The problem is that u need to find very well trained people who are willing to live there and work from there and still be happy with what they get paid.

    Its a funny thing that u guys think there are no traffic lights in india. The cities where these outsourcing companies work from are not 14 miles away from traffic lights and not 50 miles from a starbucks like coffee shop. Its hard to see how a computer savy group can live without computer shops around, with
    • Its hard to see how a computer savy group can live without computer shops around, without the modern amenities and most importantly without coffee !!

      You can order computer equipment from Newegg []. As for coffee, get yourself an expresso machine and make your own. :P
  • USA Companies always say that they support the USA. How do you support our country if you're sending our jobs overseas? How can you support America by giving jobs we need to other places overseas? Some companies say they're patriotic - how does taking a job from an american and giving it to someone 5k+ miles away make a company patriotic?

    Outsourcing of our jobs should be made illegal. You're doing nothing more than hurting your fellow countrymen..

    Oh, hell, what am I saying. It's not like *ANY* big compa
    • Market economics will eventually take care of outsourcing.

      If all of our high-paying jobs are going elsewhere (say, manufacturing to China) then US residents will be working for much lower wages in service industries. We won't be able to afford the very goods that we USED to make, causing US companies to fail, cycling us into a depression, until we become the cheap labor again. In the long term, outsourcing hurts corporations as much as us lowly workers.

      That being said, we need to stop corporate tax breaks f
    • Outlawing outsourcing would be a restraint of trade. Thats not very capitalistic. You see, what people who understand economics can see is that globalization is not going to bring about the end of the Western world. There will be some uncomfortable shocks to be sure but we'll be alright. In the process the rest of the world will be brought up and everyone will be better for it. Its a good thing people like you are being ignored.
  • by [cx] ( 181186 )
    If someone is going to do the same job as you for less money and arguably as well, or even better, not many people are going to keep you on the job just because of the fact you live in the same country as them.

    In a capitalist country, how could you justify it as a citizen to keep your job when someone else is willing to do it for cheaper?

    That's how the game is played, the harder you work and less you complain the more likely you will have a job. This whining about outsourcing is just a bunch of over-privile
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:09PM (#13417171) Journal
    I can code anything you can imagine, and work with any software program. I live in nowheresville PA :P Nothing to do here but bum on the internet 24/7 and wait for Dungeons and Dragons Online to be released.
  • by Chaos Engine ( 54555 ) <[wag3slav3] [at] []> on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:10PM (#13417178)
    I lived in Sebeka in 1990, it was a really nice little town. Good school, nice people, a public pool and ice rink. It even has a little river running through it.

    I don't remember it being THAT small tho. I wouldn't want to live there now, but if I ever wanted to raise a family I could think of worse places.

    How can you go wrong living in a place less than 10 miles from Nimrod, MN??
  • Protectionism (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MrSteveSD ( 801820 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:12PM (#13417186)
    My boss is always looking to outsource our jobs to India, China or Poland. Fortunately they are so paranoid about people stealing our business ideas, they never go through with their plans.

    You will notice a distinct lack of protectionism when it comes to outsourcing jobs. When our industries are being undermined by cheaper foreign imports, the government starts introducing tariff barriers and/or quotas. This is because the rich people at the top of the chain are being affected. In contrast, job outsourcing benefits these same rich people, so there is no reason for the government to introduce protective measures. The government only protects its direct paymasters, not the little fish.
    • Sure, off-shoring the workers saves money for the people at the top ... but someone has to manage those workers and that means they will start to learn your business.

      Eventually, they will be able to take your business away from you. After all, all of their people will be working for 1/10th the cost (even the CEO's) and how will your business be able to compete at that rate?

      I believe the goal for most of the companies doing the off-shoring is to make big profits, quickly, and retire before the real bill come
  • I went to school in a place called Cookeville. It was only about an hour and a half away from the city of Chattanooga where I grew up, and before I knew it, I totally hated the small town feel. Cookeville was a place where old people went to die and it drained the life out of everyone there.

    If you're thinking about going to Tennessee Tech, don't! It's the worst school in Tennessee; probably the entire south.

    While there a lot of my friends got jobs in call centers for SunTrust Bank. There was even a data cen
  • Interesting (Score:5, Funny)

    by digitalgimpus ( 468277 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:19PM (#13417219) Homepage
    Sometimes I wonder if it's harder to understand tech support outsourced to India, or southern US.
  • by UpLateDrinkingCoffee ( 605179 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:20PM (#13417226)
    What surprises me is that firms seem more than willing to outsource entire projects to another country or to some out of the way rural place, but as soon as the subject of current employees working from home comes up, it immediately get's dismissed for reasons usually related to "making sure the work is getting done".
    • Paul Graham had something interesting to say about [] that at OSCON this year. Here's a snippet:

      "To me the most demoralizing aspect of the traditional office is that you're supposed to be there at certain times. There are usually a few people in a company who really have to, but the reason most employees work fixed hours is that the company can't measure their productivity.

      "The basic idea behind office hours is that if you can't make people work, you can at least prevent them from having fun. If employees

  • God, I love it when people talk about all the horrors of moving to scary, unconnected "rural" America.

    A few data points from Plattsburg, Missouri (pop. 2,375), where I call home... based on what I can tell (and I've lived in Chicago and SoCal, as well as other rural areas) these data points could be duplicated in many areas:

    • Wages are lower, but the variance in housing prices and other cost-of-living items far outstrips the wage differential. The wage thing doesn't faze me because I'm self employed and, before that, I drove into Kansas City (higher wages) for work. Still, it shows up in a lot of small ways, like the fact that it's cheaper to get your car fixed or your air conditioning unit installed. Housing, on the other hand, is a shocker for anyone who isn't used to these sorts of prices. I paid $145k for a fully restored Victorian painted lady; there are small-but-cute houses in town for about $80-90k and I think the nicest Victorian on the market right now is about $225k. Compare that with the metro market of your choice.
    • "Rural" doesn't mean "no access to a major metro area. I'm 35 miles (and 35 minutes - there is no traffic) from the Kansas City metro area.
    • No crime and good schools. 'Nuff said.
    • Yes, Virginia, there is connectivity in the boonies. You just have to shop for it. We had to have DSL and we had to have it with a provider that wouldn't get its corporate panties in a twist if we wanted to run mail and web servers. It wasn't that hard to find.
    • One downside: The housing market isn't very liquid. A house put on the market in my town will take about six months to sell. That number is trending down as people discover the area, but it's still a far cry from the sell-it-in-a-weekend character of a hot metro market.
    • Another downside: Less access to fast food. We don't have any fast food in town -- the closest is about 13 miles (and 13 minutes!) away. On the upside, I've dropped 20 lbs. since I moved there. ;)
    • Sounds like you live in the kind of rural area I'd like to live in. However, when most people think of "rural" areas, they are thinking of the other 85 to 90 percent of the US west of the Mississippi. The portion of the country without reasonable access to a major metro area (the nearest for me is a 6-8 hour drive or so, depending on what you define as "major.")

      There are really 3 main environments in my mind. Urban, rural-near-a-city, and rural-not-near-a-city. I've always found the second one to be
  • by ShatteredDream ( 636520 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:26PM (#13417258) Homepage
    I live in Harrisonburg, a college town in VA where $35,000 would actually be a pretty good starting salary for a programmer since the cost of living is $17,000 a year. I'd rather be paid $40-45,000 a year here starting out than $60,000 in Fairfax, VA which is a pretty large IT area in the US, because the money would go farther here.

    Seriously, these companies are abysmally stupid. They can always hire an English-speaking CS or CIS student and start a new branch in bumblefuck USA for much less than going to India. The best part about it for the management is that it's all domestic and if they do it right, they can drive out that day and talk to the team in person.

    Like many CS students here, I'd rather work in this town for $45,000 because it's close enough to bigger areas that it's not a struggle to get out on the weekend, but it's small enough to make an entry level salary really attractive. I can honestly say that I'd be very happy making that same salary around here for 4-5 years because barring VA's tax rate going through the roof (yeah, fuck you Gov. Warner!) it'd be easy to really save and invest A LOT out here on that kind of salary.

    Outsource to bumblefuck USA, not Bangalore India. That should be our new anti-offshoring slogan :-D
  • I've heard from a tech company based in the US that it now costs the about same to manufacture a Silicon wafer in Asia as it does in the US. Not sure if we're talking bare Si, or an IC, or both. Also not sure if the reason is due to increased salary demands, or rising shipping costs or whatever, but I found it interesting.

  • by Safe Sex Goddess ( 910415 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:27PM (#13417263) Homepage Journal
    During the Democratic presidential primary I heard one candidate talk about the need to stop giving welfare money to large corporations but instead give tax breaks and incentives to small businesses. The rationale is that small businesses keep jobs here in America rather than outsource them. I like the idear not only because it keeps jobs in America, but it fits in well with the American Dream. Giving people the opportunities of making a good living while being your own boss.
  • From the blurb (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by deepestblue ( 206649 )
    ... moving to a larger house that costs less in a town with no traffic is a much better option than flying to Bangalore to train your replacement ...

    If moving to a smaller town is an option, why isn't moving to Bangalore? Oh, I know - "irreconcilable cultural differences". Somehow, when immigrants to the US encounter the same culture shock, it's all right because they're getting "a better life". Talk of being spoilt.

    Disclaimer: I'm an alien in the US. From India, at that.

  • because they know we can't f*cking kill them!

    Many scumbag corporations, especially utility companies hide in concrete and brick towers without windows and when you call about a problem with service or billing a computer decides if it should route your call to India or Pakistan. And when the idiot on the other end just doesn't get it, and you are at the point of killing them if you could, they just grin and hang up on you knowing that you have no power what-so-ever, that they control you and the situation 1
  • Bribery (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MrSteveSD ( 801820 )
    This is slightly off-topic but I was thinking about why governments do not protect workers from outsourcing and I had an idea... The Government makes decisions that favour big business, since big business is the government's paymaster. Sometimes these decisions involve sending us to war and getting us killed just so they can get more bribes and directorships from companies like Halliburton. I have a radical proposal. Why don't we just bribe the government directly? Imagine if everyone in the country gave
    • here in America we already do that... and I'm sure they do it in England as well... they are called Lobbies.

      The problems come when the administrators of the Lobby fund decide that they know how to spend the money better than their contributors and/or they get corrupted by the system they are trying to change.

      ie: one group of contributors starts giving more and becomes a major 'stockholder' in the lobby... the admins end up being influenced by this minority group over the wishes of the majority so they can '
  • by MSBob ( 307239 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:51PM (#13417386)
    I live and work in a small town in Eastern Canada. Now, there are some benefits to living in a semi-rural environment such as less traffic and cheaper housing. At the same time, rural areas of North America tend to be pockets of some dire poverty so it's not exactly the most heartening experience to live like a king on top of a garbage heap.

    Rural America is quite different from rural Europe in that it typically consists of very marginalized societies that live in their own communities governed by their own rules and frequently exist outside the main judiciary system. Yes I'm talking rednecks with shotguns here.

    Rural America, unlike rural Europe does not benefit from equalization funds similar to Europe and resembles Bangalore India much more than it resembles villages in coastal France or northern Scotland.

    When you move to rural areas you also give up a lot that is taken for granted in urban environments, that is selection of foods and products, access to culture and amenities and the ability to mingle with like-minded people. There simply is just a lack of everything.

    Now, the housing cost compensates a little bit especially if you intend to have more than a couple of kids. What you have to offset this against is the real possibility that even if you manage to hold on to your job your spouse may not find gainful employment in a rural or semi-rural area. This is frequently a problem for my co-workers who have well educated but frequently underemployed spouses and girlfriends.

    Rural areas may get hit hard by the impending energy crisis. There is nothing for public transport in where I live and no real chance of seeing any. Having a car is an absolute necessity to even stay fed and clothed. Driving distances tend to be enormous. My work place is 60 miles from my house while the nearest grocery shop is at least 5 miles away.

    As a European I can't get over that I have to travel that far for milk and bread with no walkable community. And I'm actually in the main town's subdivision!

    Having ended up where I am I'm seriously reconsidering returning to Europe. You can make a little more money working here vs Europe but you have to sacrifice sooo much more!

    • Rural areas run the gamut, just like neighborhoods in a big city run the gamut. Some are great, some are terrible. Just as you choose a neighborhood to live in in a city, you have to use some choice about where you live in rural areas.

      You paint a pretty bleak picture compared to what I've seen living in rural areas of the US for 40 odd years. I'm in a town of 1200 and have better cable modem throughput than a lot of people in cities.

      One thing I notice about rural areas, is that what poverty there is is less
  • Oklahoma! (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ranger ( 1783 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @04:59PM (#13417419) Homepage
    If I've said it once I've said it a half-dozen times: "Outsource to Oklahoma. It's like a third world country!"

    We have pockets of high tech surrounded by wasteland. People work hard and the wages are low. So is the cost of living. The roads are bad. You need an off road SUV to drive on city streets. People do have a high school edumacation. And the speak Engrish better than some non-natives. It's a great place to live but you wouldn't want to visit here. Tulsa itself is a mecca for low cost call centers. We have over 70. It's one saving grace is that folks here are pretty friendly.

    "Ignorance is bliss" isn't just our motto. It's a way of life. Oh, and if you ask someone from Oklahoma City what the natural color of dirt is. They'll tell you it's red. Try it.
  • Come join me! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by GweeDo ( 127172 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @06:38PM (#13417897) Homepage
    I live in a great town of just over 2000 people. It is very different from when I lived in the Kansas City area, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I work as a software engineer for a small/medium size company that has a great work environment. I just bought a 1603 sq ft house four months ago for $45k. So lets see...
    1) work in the IT world (check)
    2) have a great house for little money (check)
    3) have 3MB DSL to my house (check)
    4) 3 minute commute to work...on my bike (check)

    Yup...I love it here. Outsource to these regions would be a very nice alternative.

    Got any questions about rural America and IT works? Feel free to ask.

    ( I an info-mercial?)
    • Come join me! (Score:3, Insightful)

      I live in a great town of just over 8000000 people. It is very different from when I lived in the Podunk, Nowhereville are, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I work as a software engineer for a Fortune 100 company that has a great work environment. I just bought a 400 sq ft flat four months ago for $396k. So lets see...
      1) work in the IT world (check)
      2) Have a great place in a vibrant area (check)
      3) have 3MB DSL to my house (check)
      4) 20 minute commute to work...walking (check)
      5) Classical music concert
  • Success by failure (Score:3, Interesting)

    by heroine ( 1220 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @06:43PM (#13417935) Homepage
    Sooner or later you have to make money. Holding up in the most remote location you can find so you'll get hired for the least money can keep you alive but around the age of 30 you'll realize you can't work forever and you'll need to start accumulating massive amounts of money if you want to partake of modern medicine.

    You'll die young because you wanted to stay in software, but whether dying young was necessary or not, a lot of people are going to still be around after you pass away. You'll have achieved nothing but miss out, and no-one's going to care why you missed out.

    The other thing you'll realize is that Indians are buying bigger houses. Chinese are buying bigger cars. Your college buddies are moving to more extravagent neighborhoods. But you're in the same situation you were in 10 years ago.

    Most humans want to be in a better situation than they were in 5 minutes ago. Whether you feel a poorer situation is mandated by the decline in software jobs or not, the world is going to be richer tomorrow than it is today.

    Meanwhile you're degrading your situation and making sacrifices to stay in software. You know, no-one else cares.

  • Dave La Reau (Score:3, Interesting)

    by $exyNerdie ( 683214 ) on Saturday August 27, 2005 @06:49PM (#13417966) Homepage Journal
    This is the first time on slashdot, I can comment from my first hand experience as this company is where we outsourced outr work and I met Dave La Reau about a month ago in person. What they won't tell you is that they took a 3 month project last one year and it is still not complete!! His company hired people and sent them to our site as experts when they barely had any knowledge of the platform/technology. They were learning on the job while charging over $40 an hour rate. It is shocking to see them trying to get publicity on ABC news when they provide such crappy skills that mediocre offshore contracting firms can provide much better!!

If you want to put yourself on the map, publish your own map.