Flutterby™! : Re-employed

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2004-11-03 23:34:14.178019+00 by Dan Lyke 10 comments

I've accepted a job. I'm deliberately not going to say lots about it because, although no part of it is classified, a lot of things are labeled "for official use only". It promises to involve lots of working with cool technologies and large interesting databases. And I'll be doing a lot of work from home.

However, I will tell you that the Psychology of Intelligence Analysis has just made it on to my reading list.

[ related topics: Books Dan's Life Psychology, Psychiatry and Personality Work, productivity and environment Databases ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-03 23:44:00.594628+00 by: TC [edit history]

Congratulations! lets grab another beer while you still can? Lagunitas? Hang a left at timbuktoo?

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-04 00:00:05.79571+00 by: meuon

Congrats! - I like working with large interesting databases.. I've currently got a lot of M$-$QL db servers and databases, I hope yours are even better. Although playing with the Pensacola Property Tax DB is fun.. It reminded me of our playing with tapes of Chattanooga property tax data. So, are you following in your fathers footsteps a little?

I added my name to the website, so it's public: I am currently: PlugIt.com, an M$-Centric hosting/dev company. - And wishing I could work more from home. Although rdesktop on Linux works well. :)

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-04 00:17:57.654223+00 by: ziffle

if you see my cc number in your large interesting databases, please delete the record...

you know 'where attribute == flutterby contributor remove record'

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-04 15:28:26.820453+00 by: crasch

Woohoo! Congrats, Dan!

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-04 15:39:13.92756+00 by: Shawn

Congratulations! Looks/sounds like fun :-)

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-04 17:43:48.630715+00 by: jeff

Congratulations, Dano! Working from home sounds way cool, too!

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-04 18:31:26.758659+00 by: meuon

Dan's DB's probably have SSN, and affiliations of political parties you have received info from and what color and style of womens lingerie you prefer, for both the women in your life and yourself.

Ziffle: 111-22-6969, Socialist, Libertarian, Democratic, Republican, Zen, and any party with good Scotch bing served. Prefers black lacy underwear and garters/hose on women in his life, red silk for himself.

Meuon: 535-78-6969, Anarchist, Libertarian, Democratic, Republic, Friends of Larry Harvey and parties with good dancable music. Prefers black silky underwear, corsets and garters/hose on the woman in his life, thinks he looks best in silky earth tones, no thongs.

Dan: 333-555-6969, Society of Independant People, Libertarian, Green and parties with good conversations. Prefers red lacy underthings on women, white silk for himself.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-05 14:48:03.479433+00 by: jeff [edit history]

Dan--as a follow-up, glad to hear of your employment. Hold on to that job! If Bush continues his desire to outsource American technology jobs, there may not be many left in four years. The export of American jobs owes less to market forces than to political manuevering. (Link as reference; text provided below)


I strongly urge that you order the the June 21st back-issue of the American Conservative publication. Not only does the issue have an in-depth interview with Ralph Nader, but it also outlines in some amazing detail how the Bush administration has actively promoted a direct national policy of out-sourcing high-tech IT jobs to India. (read below).

Pass this reference to anyone who works in IT or other high technololgy fields, as the ongoing Bush policy will have a negative impact on their career in one form or another in the coming years. In addition, many view this administration's policy as a direct national security risk, by out-sourcing "intellectual capital" to foreign nations who can ultimately hold America hostage by controlling our information systems. It also has the long-term effect of "dumbing-down" the American society at large, since there is little incentive for Americans to study science, engineering, or information technology--all of which have grave long-term implications for our economy, society, and national defense.

Read, make your own decisions and judgements, and educate your fellow Americans about these trends.



A Passage to India By John B. Roberts II

The export of American jobs owes less to market forces than to political manuevering.

WHEN INDIA'S then-prime minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and President Bush met at the White House on Nov. 9, 2001, their agenda included a plan for high-tech trade that resulted in scores of thousands of American jobs moving offshore to India. The trade proposal was raised by Vajpayee and welcomed by Bush. Soon-to-be-unemployed American engineers and computer scientists were not told that their jobs were barter for India's allegiance in the new foreign policy Great Game that Bush is playing in Asia. But the president and his top advisers knew perfectly well what the consequences of their deal with Vajpayee would be.

Few journalists or politicians understand that more than market forces are driving high-tech jobs overseas. Outsourcing jobs to India is a deliberate White House strategy implemented and promoted' by the U.S. Department of Commerce. When Bush administration officials support outsourcing they are not just explaining the macroeconomic benefits of trade. They are defending Bush's policy of sacrificing American jobs to forge a "strategic partnership" with India.

The intellectual godfather of this policy is Deputy Assistant to the President Robert D. Blackwill. He was Bush's ambassador to India from late June 2001 until August 2003. A State Department official calls Blackwill "one of the Vulcans" for his role in forging Bush's foreign policy. Blackwill, who is now the National Security Council's Coordinator for Strategic Planning, has said publicly that the objective of outsourcing American jobs is to make India a more power ful militaiy ally for the United States.

The courtship of India has helped drive unemployment rates for American computer scientists and electrical engineers to their highest levels in 20 years. Despite the resumption of economic growth last year, the unemployment rate for electrical engineers actually rose from 4.2 percent in 2002 to 6.2 percent in 2003, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate in Seattle, a high-tech hub, is 6.6 percent. In 2003, 5.2 percent of computer scientists were unemployed. By contrast, in past recessions the unemployment rate for high-tech workers rarely rose above 2 percent.

The job outlook for American high tech workers is dire. According to Forrester Research, a high-technology consulting group, as many as 450,000 more computer industry jobs will go overseas by 2016. That represents 8 percent of all computer jobs. The next stage of Bush's high-tech trade initiative with India calls for the Commerce Department to ease national-security restrictions on the export of supercomputers and software. When the new rules come out this summer, even more jobs will go abroad.

The story began when Bush was governor of Texas and Condoleezza Rice was preparing him for the 2000 presidential race. She proposed refocusing American foreign policy on Great Power relationships, specifically with Russia, China, and growing regional powers including India. To help develop policy ideas, she tapped the expertise of career Foreign Service Officer Robert Blackwill, who was then the Belfer Lecturer in International Security at Harvard University. Rice and BlackwiU shared the view that a nuclear-armed India could be a strategic partner for the U.S. and a regional buffer against China.

When Blackwill first met with Bush in Austin, Texas in early 1999, the relationship between India and the U.S. was strained. Trade restrictions had been placed on India after its 1998 Pokhran-ll nuclear bomb tests. The sanctions affected 159 Indian and Israeli companies the U.S. deemed involved in developing India's weapons of mass destruction.

As Blackwill recalled the Austin meeting, Bush shared his enthusiasm for a "radically new big idea about U.S.-India relations." The new idea was based on the premise that far from being a backward, overpopulated, and underdeveloped nation, India was on the path to becoming a world power. As Blackwill put it in 2003, "India's large and talented labor pool makes it possible for it to become yet another Asian Miracle." After a tense relationship during the Cold War, the time had come for the U.S. to embrace India.

Dr. Rice began reorienting U.S. policy toward India shortly after becoming national security adviser in January 2001. That spring, India's foreign minister was surprised when, during a White House meeting with Rice, President Bush joined them for 20 minutes. "It isn't often, you know, that a foreign minister meets with a president," a State Department official told me to underscore the drop-in's significance. Bush's presence signaled that the new policy had his backing.

That summer, the Bush administration began a review of companies on the "entities list" of businesses and institutions suspected of developing India's weapons of mass destruction programs and therefore undertrade restrictions; the goal was to pare down the list as an overture to India. The review was almost complete when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and Pentagon on Sept. II, 2001. After 9/11, Bush proceeded to slash the list from 159 entities to just two entities and 14 companies. According to BlackwiU, Bush told Vajpayee on Sept. 12, "human resources and intellectual capital are India's greatest asset."

Removing the licensing restrictions set the stage for the Bush-Vajpayee November 2001 White House summit. The agenda ranged from lifting export controls on dual-use technology and cooperation in the war on terrorism to promoting high-tech trade. Prime Minister Vajpayee suggested creating what became known as the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group. "It's important to them," a State Department official told me in an interview for this article. "It's a mechanism to make their views known. They can reach into the Department of Commerce, and it's also a way of involving private companies in India and the U.S."

November 2002, the two governments formalized the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group. The group is no low-level bureaucratic undertaking. Until the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party in India's elections last month, the senior Indian representative to the group was Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal. Commerce Department Undersecretary for Industry and Security Kenneth I. Juster and Undersecretary for Technology Phillip J. Bond jointly represent the United States.

The U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group accelerates outsourcing by bringing together American and Indian high-tech executives to form business relationships. The outsourcing of information-technology jobs, pharmaceutical research, and aerospace and defense research has been explicitly promoted at group forums sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

As recently as January 2004, Bush promised India more high-tech trade in the future. Clearly, India's national interests are served by the Bush initiative. But why is it in America's interest to send some of its best middle-class jobs to India?

Blackwill provided an answer in a January 2003 speech to alumni of the Indian Institute of Technology, the MIGHT of the subcontinent. With candor that is rare for the Bush administration, Blackwill acknowledged that the White House views the tradeoff of job loss to India in strategic and military terms. "You might ask, why should Washington policymakers care about... the future of the Indian economy?" said Blackwill. "As I used to teach my students at Harvard University, national economic strength is a prerequisite for sustained diplomatic influence and military muscle. ... I openly admit, therefore, that there is a certain amount of American self-interest at work ... an India that takes full advantage of its extraordinary human capital to boost its economy would be a more effective strategic partner of the U.S. over the next decades... "

Blackwill called this the central point of his speech. His remarks serve to illustrate that it is not just abstract market forces that move American jobs to India; our self-described War President is doing so deliberately, to secure India as a military ally in case the U.S. needs to confront China in the future.

The new Great Game, however, could backfire, especially if the job loss erodes America's lead in high technology and no new innovative industry replaces it. IEEE-USA (formerly called the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) represents 225,000 U.S. computer, electrical, electronic, and software engineers. Ron Hira, chair of the IEEE-USA's career and workforce policy committee, is concerned that the loss of U.S. high-tech jobs will compromise innovation in high-technology industries and harm national security. When I interviewed Hira for this article, he was unaware of the specific work of the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group. But Hira knew something had catalyzed outsourcing in 2003.

"The major upsurge was in the summer of 2003," Hira told me, "Something happened between March and June. The multinationals picked up on outsourcing in a big way." That "something" was the promotion of outsourcing by the U.S. and Indian governments. It began in February 2003, when India's then-Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal and U.S. Commerce Under Secretary Juster issued a joint statement of principles promoting high-technology trade. The statement was publicized by the Commerce Department and acted as a green light to multinational corporations about to establish or expand business in India.

In June 2003, the Commerce Department invited high-tech industry executives to the first meeting of the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group. More than 100 American and Indian industry representatives attended the day-long forum at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. Among them was Bharat Wakhiu, president of Tata Inc., India's biggest software company, as well as a broad cross section of executives from India's high-tech, biotechnology, and nanotechnology sectors.

Commerce Department officials explain away the forum as a dialogue designed to ease trade barriers and promote U.S. exports. This conflicts with the department's written summary of the day's discussions that says outsourcing U.S. jobs was a major topic.

One of Commerce's featured panelists was P.C. Chatterjee, Chairman of the Chatterjee Group, which has an outsourcing joint venture with United Airlines. In his panel discussion, Chatterjee urged U.S. pharmaceutical companies to begin "outsourcing research and development in India" to reduce costs. Rajat Gupta, an outsourcing advocate who is a managing director of McKinsey Worldwide, was another fea- tured speaker. Gupta told the panelists that "in the 1990s India consciously focused on outsourcing knowledge" and outlined steps for the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group to promote more outsourcing and offshore production of high-technology goods.

Commerce Department Undersecretary Ken Juster also promoted outsourcing. Juster, the Commerce summary says, "expressed the hope that the Forum would allow those in the high-technology industry to share ideas, create connections, and become invigorated to propel U.S.-Indian high technology cooperation forward on their own."

Juster's hopes were realized. As a result of outsourcing, Indian technology firms set new growth records in 2003. Infosys Technologies increased annual sales 30 percent over its previous fiscal year and topped $1 billion for the first time. Two-thirds of the company's revenue comes from the United States. Satyam Computer Systems is close behind with record/revenues near $1 billion.

Headlines from India's press underscore that 2003 was exceptional. "US revival Triggers IT hiring spree" blares a December 2003 banner from the Times ' of India. Another headline trumpets "2003 puts India on the Cover." In the body of the article, the writer asserts, "for the first time in many years, India's IT industry has threatened to outperform the fabled software fortresses of California." American media concur. Forbes named Kiran Karnik, president of India's premier high-tech and software trade association, NASSCOM, as "Forbes' Face of the Year." Fortune named Azim Premji of Wipro, one of India's largest software companies, as number 17 among the 25 most powerful foreign business executives.

Forrester Research estimates that 3.3 million U.S. high-tech jobs will be outsourced to India, China, and other countries between now and 2015. Ron Hira, who describes the IEEE-USA's members as "very concerned" about outsourcing, worries that the Forrester study understates the problem. Hira notes that the study was done in November 2002— well before the current surge in outsourcing.

"In India, I can hire a taxi and a driver all day for $10," Hira said, "I can buy a tomato for 2 cents. The overall cost of living is so much lower that a person making $70,000 here in the U.S. would be as equivalently well-off in India on just $14,000."

"In the IT services sector what you're doing is reselling labor," Hira said in our interview, "Labor is the biggest cost factor."

This differential in the cost of living explains why recent Indian college graduates who can program in the computer language Java can be hired for $5,000 a year, compared to $60,000 for the same graduate in the United States. It also helps explain why the atmosphere in engineering schools on American college campuses is one of pervasive gloom regarding job and career prospects.

"The Indian government has an industrial policy targeting Information Technology," Hira says, "We should err on the side of caution. There's not good data. We need to do something like in the 1980s, identify a critical technologies list, and protect it."

John B. Roberts II is a writer and television producer who worked in the Reagan White House. He is the author of Rating the First Ladies: The Women Who Influenced the Presidency.

June 21, 2004 The American Conservative

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-05 16:04:16.109703+00 by: TC

Wow Jeff! thats a mouth full but two points.

#1 The Bush re-election will give Dan more job stability in this case

#2 American Auto Workers. Evolve or die, stay ahead of the curve and life is not fair.

#Comment Re: made: 2004-11-05 17:21:29.495646+00 by: jeff

Todd--I wish IT was that simple, but IT's not.

I'm very HAPPY for Dan, but not happy for other displaced IT workers and the fact that the Bush regime is PUSHING outsourcing (it's not just a free-market trade).

And I'm not only concerned about the short-term effects on the American middle class, but the long-term strategic benefits and disadvantages to American society as a whole (mostly the latter). The American auto industry is a rather narrow example; IT spans many, many industries.