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Corporate greed

(16 posts)
  • Started 6 years ago by ScottW
  • Latest reply from ScottW
  • Topic Viewed 2628 times

ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

This topic came up in a help forum thread and I wanted to pursue the non-technical ramifications. A poster commented that he no longer does business with Dell because of all of the outsourcing they have done leading to many lost jobs in the US. The poster concluded that this was done out of greed without sympathy to the people whose personal finances would be damaged or worse.

So, this is going to be a tricky topic, trying to avoid too much political discussion and concentrating on the corporate greed angle. If this thread does not survive, I won't be surprised. Let's all be careful -- don't be hating!

My response to the original assertion was to point out that IBM also did a disservice to their employees and to the US economy by selling their PC business to Lenovo. In fact, Dell is still incorporated in the US but Lenovo, and all of IBM's former PC assets with them, are incorporated in Hong Kong. Do corporations have a responsibility to the country they do business in? Does a multinational even have a country, or are they beholden only to the "almighty dollar" (or euro, or any other currency)?

Posted 6 years ago
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InDiSent
InDiSent
Posts: 1084

You're right Scott. This is kind of a tricky topic. On one hand it sucks that so many people loose their jobs and the corporations don't care. On the other hand, they are a multinational corporation and do business all over the world. Where is there world headquarters? I think that should play a role in deciding where their obligations should lay. However, as a business my bottom line is profit. How do i make the most money with the least expenses? In todays society it's almost impossible to boycot one corporation for their business practices without supporting another with the same practices.

I used to love DELL.......truthfully their products are still good. I wouldn't stop buying from them because they outsourced. They have to do what's best for their bottom line. However, i have stopped buying their products for another reason related to outsourcing. It seems that it's almost impossible to communicate with their tech support reps. It seems i know more than they do. I can hear them turning pages in the manual. When i call tech support i expect them to know more than i do. Especially about their product. I also expect that i should be able to understand the person as well.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a racist pig or anything like that. I am actually Indian myself.......well of Indian Decent. My Great grandparents are from India. Me, I have only ever known English. The point is that you should make sure that people can understand your reps and they actually know a thing or two about your product.

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

InDiSent, I'm all in favor of the personal boycott. I think anyone who has had a bad experience or who has any fairly rational reason to boycott a company should go ahead and do it. This produces the effect called "vote with your wallet" where individual consumers "vote" for, or against, any given company similar to a free election. If a company treats it's customers poorly, they will stop being customers and eventually that company should feel the pressure and either improve or fold. I'm not as fond of organized boycotts. To continue the election metaphor, organized boycotts feel to me like vote buying, gerrymandering, or other underhanded tactics.

I have known lots of Desi people and as a group I consider them to be above average in character, work ethic, and friendliness. Please tell me that "Desi" has not become a derogatory term somewhere. The idea of politically correct alternatives boggles the mind. :-)

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
whs
Posts: 17584

Hmm, this could become an evening filling discussion. On the one hand, a company is in business to make money. But on the other hand, a good company also lives up to it's social obligations. After all, no company can operate without it's people and it is the people that produce the wealth. Money alone would produce nothing.
But in this new world, called "globalized", the horizon is different. As the IBM example was given above, one should know, that nearly 65% of the IBM business is outside the US. So, 65% of their social obligations should also be outside the US. And I am sure that Dell or HP or any other similar company that came originally from the US finds themselves in the same situation.
And India is a good example. The growth rates expected over the next years in this market are far greater than in the US/Europe markets. So it is only normal that companies establish their presence (and yes, it is sometimes not easy to understand the people on the 800 help lines, but I trust they will get better at it).
Additionally, those companies are under constant cost pressures. Why? Because we want to buy the stuff cheap. I would like to see how many products "X" for $20 Made in America will sell if on the next shelf the exact same product sells for $10 Made in China. Would be an interesting test.
Renault for example produces one line of cars (Dacia) in Roumania (where labor cost is 15% of that of France) and sell it for under 10K€ when a comparable car made in France costs about 16K€. I think that is good for Renault and for the consumers. Would they not produce in Roumania, they would sell less cars and customers would have less options. That is called loose/loose.

Posted 6 years ago
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Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

It is not just this industry. The problem with outsourcing, is, that in many cases, it involves horrendous child labour!

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
whs
Posts: 17584

Child labour is certainly a big issue - no doubt. But what would these people do if they had no labour at all?

Posted 6 years ago
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Lighthouse
Lighthouse
Posts: 13598

don't go there

Posted 6 years ago
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thegeek
The Geek
Posts: 2059

My late update to this thread...

I think that as we transition to a global market, everybody will eventually find their place. For instance, the company that I work for has started outsourcing programming work to India... and since the majority of the people in my department are also indian, it's a natural fit.

What has happened, though, is that instead of having people here in the US doing the lower-level work, we end up doing more planning, designing, and putting the pieces together into the whole. Our jobs have transitioned from being lower paid code-monkeys to being the more senior engineers... so I can say that even with outsourcing of programming to india, my career has moved ahead. It's just natural evolution.

Of course I don't really care about my career anymore, now that I have HTG... pity I can't do it fulltime.

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
whs
Posts: 17584

What you are describing is an interim step. Remember South Korea 20 years ago and Japan 40 years ago. I remember people laughing about japanese cars. I think the laughs are over. About 20 years ago the Tata (TCS) people from India gave me a presentation about their programming facilities and were asking for subcontract work in programming. If I remember right, they had a couple of thousand IT specialists at that time. Today, they have 110.000 IT specialists in 50 countries and a yearly revenue of $5.7 Billion. India produces 10 times as many engineers as Germany each year and once these people get to work, they will be a formidable competition - and not only in the code monkey business. I think this is good, because it will keep us "old" industrial nations on our toes.

Posted 6 years ago
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Aleeve
Aleeve
Posts: 2818

Geek do you get paid anything for HTG?

Posted 6 years ago
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thegeek
The Geek
Posts: 2059

I make money off the ads, although not a real lot of money... sadly unless you stick ads into the articles themselves, it's difficult to make a lot of money until you become a giant, more professional site like Lifehacker, zdnet, etc.

I'm trying to go the professional route, which means I need to build HTG until it's a similar size to the other sites before I'll really make money off it and be able to do this fulltime.

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
whs
Posts: 17584

Hey Geek, I think you are doing very, very well. It is admirable what you created in such a short time given the shoestring resources at your disposal. There is no need to envy the "big boys" - they serve a somewhat different audiance.

Posted 6 years ago
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hc6700
Posts: 7

Hey folks,
I'm the culprit that made the original remark about Dell in the other thread. I'm glad it got some good discussion going. I thought I'd stir the pot some more.
Scott, you're absolutely right about Dell outsourcing as being just the tip of the iceberg. Most of the major technical corps do it and singling out just one, gets consumers nowhere. I owned a Dell when outsourcing first became a real issue, so Michael Dell (one of the first to do it) got the first wave of my wrath.
But be clear, my anger isn't with the people of India, Indonesia, Mexico, etc. They're just trying to make a living and are actually being severely under paid and exploited by these corporations.
Actually, as Indians became more proficient in the English language and were easier to understand, they bent over backwards to help Dell customers. As their tech knowledge increased beyond the initial manuals they were given to use to help customers, their ability to help also increased.
My anger really has it's roots in (as you suggested earlier Scott) a much more complex socio economic issue, which I won't go into at lengths here.
Suffice it to say, that about 10% of the American people control (via personal or corporate wealth) about 90% of the money in this country. And about 10% of the 10%, controls about 90% of the 90% (have I confused everyone).
That wealth is so concentrated that any attempt in trying to convince me that those people don't run this country, is futile.
We don't live in a democracy. The only thing we have the right to vote for, is the next politican (Republican or Democrat) that is bought and paid for by these people (Oil, Banks and Insurance)
And these folks sit back and laugh at all of us who are psychologically incapable of admitting this reality to ourselves.
The greed of these people never ceases to amaze me and every once in a while (as in the other thread) my frustration with the American people slips out. I just can't believe how people in this country can't admit the reality they live in. Yea, we're the greatest country in the world and all of us are blessed to live here. But is that enough reason to allow this insanity to go on.
Perhaps as these Corporations continue to destroy the ozone and oil prices continue to go up, the American people will finally be willing to look a little deeper into the American soul. I just wouldn't
hold my breath.
By the way, if you never saw 2 HBO specials ('The Death of the Electric Car' and another one on Walmart)
catch them if you can.
HC

Posted 6 years ago
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whs
whs
Posts: 17584

HC, interesting (and obvious) thoughts. Unfortunately I cannot respond because it would violate the Geeks "rule of thumb" regarding politics with which I totally concur. Just one thing, because I have lived in more than 10 countries of the world (including more than 12 years in the US) - The US is the greatest country on earth > for Americans! Belgium is the greatest country on earth > for Belgiums! Germany is the greatest country on earth > for Germans! - and so on. Lesson to be learned: There is no greatest country on earth in absolute terms, it's in the eye of the beholder. And home is home!!!

Posted 6 years ago
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thegeek
The Geek
Posts: 2059

That "Death of the Electric Car" was very interesting... I'm glad that there are some startups making new and innovative electric cars now: http://www.teslamotors.com/

I want that car!

In the next couple of weeks, I'm going to enable (restricted) private messaging, mostly for the forum regulars (new signups won't get it until they've reached a certain level). At that point you guys can discuss politics in private all you want =)

Posted 6 years ago
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ScottW
ScottW
Posts: 6609

Are we talking about Who Killed The Electric Car? or some made for TV knockoff? Either way, I've become soured on the whole documentary scene. For every documentary about a controversial subject, there are a host of debunkers and sometimes a counter-documentary. Fahrenheit 9/11 followed by Farenhype 9/11. And no, this is not just a recent phenomenon. Back in the 70's, I was amazed by a TV documentary, Chariots of the Gods about how aliens may have come to earth in the past. Then later, I saw this so-called documentary debunked. So, basically, I don't watch them anymore but do my own research using multiple sources. It's very hard to find the truth, but very easy to garner sympathy by showing cute polar bears dying.

PMs will be cool! Not because I want to talk politics, but so I can finally tell Lighthouse, "Put a sock in it, you great bloomin' prat!" and no one will be the wiser.

Posted 6 years ago
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