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White-Collar Anger

Now it's their turn to have their jobs outsourced, creating new political possiblities.
White-Collar Anger

By Kevin Danaher and Jason Mark, AlterNet
December 18, 2003

Pete Bennett is fed up, and he's not going to take it anymore.

"People are tired and angry and upset," says the 47-year-old unemployed worker from Danville, California, frustration noticeable in his voice. "People are hurting, losing their homes. If we keep pulling jobs out of the country, how is the economy going to stay up?"

Coming from an autoworker or a steelworker, these would be familiar words. But Bennett isn't a laid off Ford or GM employee. He used to work for companies such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, where, as a contract database programmer, he earned between $80,000 and $90,000 a year. But in the last year, he says, he hasn't been able to find any programming work - such jobs, he is told, are moving overseas.

Bennett is not alone. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of highly skilled, well-paid positions have been sent abroad.

These days architects in the Philippines are producing blueprints for Fluor; electronic engineers in India are designing cell phone chips for Texas Instruments; and computer programmers in the Czech Republic are building software for Kodak. The stream of job loss is set to become a torrent; a November 2002 study by the consulting firm Forrester Research estimated that over the next 15 years some 3.3 million US service sector jobs would be sent abroad. A more recent report by economists at UC Berkeley says as many as 14 million programming, accounting, paralegal and other service jobs are at risk of being "off-shored."

The off-shoring of service jobs is déjà vu all over again. In the 1970s, U.S. corporations started shipping manufacturing jobs to low-wage countries such as Mexico, China and Indonesia in an effort to cut labor costs. Now, that same drive to reduce labor costs is hitting more highly skilled workers as service jobs go to well-educated workers in New Delhi and Prague and Singapore. As skilled workers are painfully starting to learn, the logic of cost cutting doesn't distinguish between blue collar and white collar.

While the economics of sending manufacturing jobs and service positions abroad may be the same, the political consequences promise to be different. In American politics it's one thing to attack the working class, but quite another to undermine the middle class, which votes in higher percentages. As any political consultant will tell you, as the middle class goes, so goes the nation. By cutting white collar positions, American businesses are sowing the seeds of a populist backlash that could redraw the political map.

One political topic that is bound to be influenced by the off-shoring of service jobs is the hot-button issue of trade policy. Surveys by the Pew Center show that support for free trade policies splits sharply along income lines. Among families earning more than $75,000 a year, 63 percent of people see globalization as positive; among families earning less than $50,000 a year, support drops to 37 percent.

In effect, better paid workers have supported free trade policies so long as they aren't impacted by them. But now many of those people are suffering the same cold fate that manufacturing workers have grappled with for decades. As more and more skilled jobs go abroad, supporters of free trade are almost certain to reassess whether corporate globalization is in their best interests.

The loss of high skilled jobs could also have a significant impact on next year's presidential election. Voters' job anxiety is shaping up as the number one election issue, with President Bush struggling against the loss of more than 2 million jobs on his watch and a so far "jobless economic recovery."

Off-shoring skilled positions is only going to make the anemic job market worse: According to the industry consulting firm Gartner Inc., one in 10 U.S. technology jobs will move overseas by the end of 2004. The disappearance of those good-paying jobs gives Democrats a chance to reach out to more affluent voters whose natural sympathies may lie with Republicans - but whose anger could translate into Democratic gains.

Winning elections is in large measure about managing expectations - and it's the newly unemployed skilled workers whose expectations are being downsized furthest. As Pete Bennett puts it: "These people have never experienced this before. ... What are we going to replace these jobs with? Flipping burgers?"

The long-term political effects of the off-shoring of skilled jobs promise to be larger than one single issue or one election. The export of skilled jobs could very likely cause an anti-corporate backlash that will reverse the decades-long drive toward deregulation and the weakening of organized labor.

During the heady days of the late 1990s, America's high tech class by and large supported the push for deregulation and laissez-faire economics. Now, the software designers and tech engineers who didn't think the government needed to play a role in overseeing the economy are the victims of uncontrolled economic forces. The once comfortable are becoming the insecure. The shift from being a winner to a loser is bound to prompt some serious rethinking about whether corporations should be given free rein to do whatever they like.

The first signs of this are already evident. Newly vulnerable high tech workers - traditionally not big union supporters - are starting to listen to the entreaties of organized labor. The Communication Workers of America says it is seeing increasing enthusiasm for unionization among off-shored high tech workers. Calls are also increasing for government regulation to staunch the hemorrhage of jobs. In response, state and federal legislators are considering laws to keep service jobs in the United States. The laissez-faire mentality of the 1990s is being replaced by demands that government act to restrain corporations' basic instincts. The political pendulum between dislike of big government and dislike of big business is swinging in a new direction.

Those businesses shipping high skilled jobs overseas should beware: Short-term profits may come at the cost of future political peril.

Kevin Danaher and Jason Mark are authors of the new book, "Insurrection: Citizen Challenges to Corporate Power" (Routledge Press). They work for the human rights group Global Exchange.

homepage: homepage: http://www.alternet.org

Isn't it wonderful? 23.Dec.2003 20:45


oh what a rosy picture of a future this country and this planet have. what happens when we reach that magical point when there is no money left here to actually buy all of these products built by other countries?

i guess i should just put my faith in bush/cheney/rumsfeld/etc. they're doing a pretty, um, reasonable job so far,,,,


Outsourcing 23.Dec.2003 21:31

The Truth

Guess what, when they've outsourced all the good jobs so no one makes a living wage anymore, who are the corporate creeps going to sell all their stupid consumer products too? No one will be able to afford them anymore even if they're made overseas. Sort of like cutting off your nose to spite your face, or however that old cliche goes (I'd like to cut the noses off some corporate CEO's I'll tell you what...but I digress).

So you're supposed to buy all their shit with your credit card, I suppose. Well, hey, can't pay all those credit card bills? Another cliche - You can't get blood from a turnip.

It's a house of cards, folks! It's a gigantic Pyramid Scheme! It's all gonna collapse around their ears, and all of you IMC folks will be there on the front lines watching it happen, God Bless! The corporate greed heads aren't fooling anyone but themselves.

Happy Holidays to y'all, and keep up the good fight!

hopefully 24.Dec.2003 02:24


hopefully, the economy will collapse before the world environment does. I can't think of a better salvation for the forests, rivers, oceans and atmosphere than a sudden and dramatic ecconomic colapse. because when the DOW drops, the trucks and factories stop!

if wealth is the disease of the planet, then poverty is the solution.

Kickass makes a good point 24.Dec.2003 09:38


This is something that needs to be discussed.

It seems that ultimately, the end point for extreme environmentalism and extreme globalization is just about the same.

The vast masses will be living in poverty, using less and poluting less. Reduced quality of food and health care, and increased disease will depress the population.

The very few, very wealthy will live in isolated splendor, where what they do is visible to no one but each other, their personal consumption and pollution will not be much more than it already is.

The earth and the life it supports may be better off if we let, even encourage the direction Bush is leading us.

(BTW, I am NOT a Bush supporter! I don't LIKE this idea. But...)

Off Shoring 07.Mar.2004 12:16

Raymond Pairan Jr rptime@earthlink.net

Silence Or Compliance
Raymond Donald Pairan Jr.
Copyright (c) 2004 All rights reserved.

This paper is just a further elaboration on some of the topics that I presented in my work entitled "The Economy" which I hope has inspired the moral, the passionate, and displaced future working slave class to start inquiring about their ultimate condition within the hands of the business/political elite. It is absolutely wonderful that certain members of the media have started to question the direction and motives of the business/political elite and have beat the bushes where they've been hiding thus exposing their true motives to the clear light of day. But make no mistake the business/political elite will stop at nothing to eliminate any opposition be it ethical government, the media, or any other encumbrance that inhibits them from achieving their goal of creating a subservient working class and a contrasting unencumbered business/political elite power base.

At this point in time the media has the business/political elite (forgoing referred to as the controllers) on the defensive at least within the United States, which is in the mist of a presidential election year. Make no mistake the controllers would like to and will eventually silence all media dissent against their planned worldwide domination of all elements that can negatively effect their goal of sucking every last drop of revenue from the world into their realm. If this means devising a means of quelling dissent from those within the media that don't wish to go quietly with the controllers view - so be it. Keep in mind that money and power are the driving force of the controllers and everything and anything that inhibits their eventual control over these elements in their eyes must be eliminated. This could mean the off shoring of media jobs to compliant outlets such as India where in the case of the English speaking world there exists a future working slave class that speaks English rather decently. The controllers could then eliminate media disseminated descent to their plans of complete global control over all the factors of production including the eventual working slave class. This means that no job is safe from the plans by the controllers to evolve all jobs into mere subservient, compliant, malleable factors of production. Time is limited for the controllers and others that support the free trade (code word - free) subjugation over all workingmen and women. The ideologue's within the future working slave class will blindly follow one another lock step onto the slave ship that will set sail for their future of no dissent, compliance, no morality, no freedom, no future but one of subservience. The time is very near at hand so those within the media that are the moral voice of dissent must take our case to a fever pace in order to expose and keep all rouses from becoming the new molded distorted facts that can be espoused by the controllers. For the controllers their religion is money and power because for them nothing else matters. If they can gain control over not only you the educated working, the hard factory working, the service sector working, then they will be free to build a truly worldwide free market economy where they are free to do what they wish when they wish it.

If you say something enough and if you change the dynamics and distort the facts to your liking then eventually it will be believed by enough people to become the truth. Basically, the controllers just prior to taking complete control over all media dissent will be hard pressed to dispute facts such as 3 million jobs lost in under 3 years, poverty within the United States at record high levels, whole town centers across rural America with a preponderance of vacant store fronts, a trillion dollar deficit, most states within budget crisis, a college education now getting further from the reach of most Americans, and the list goes on and on. Historically speaking when facts don't convey what the power elite (in our case the controllers) wish than they just change the way those facts are presented so they convey a distorted picture favorable to those in control. This is nothing new and has been employed quite successfully by those in power many times in the past in the form of propaganda. We must maintain focus on the standard measures used within the past and not let the seeping of new measures (touted by the controllers) distort the facts.

It is imperative that we work with the media while it is still free to convey the truth about the controller's objectives and goals. Time is quickly running out for the average working citizen to maintain some semblance of influence over their respective governments. The controllers will and are gaining control over these governments covertly, directly, and through draining the government treasuries converting partially effective governments into impotent shells of past power. Once the controllers are finished with governments than even the political elite will be at jeopardy of becoming obsolete. So those within the political elite may be enjoying the fruits of soiled money conveyed to them by the business controllers but make no mistake once the business controllers have achieved their objectives they will dispose of even the political elite thus eliminating this drain on their coveted profits. There exists one goal of the controllers and that is to extract and drain as much wealth from the world as is possible. The controllers have no God, no religion, no morals, no scruples, and no conscience but only one overriding unquenchable desire - the complete control over all aspects of their bottom line. They will stop at nothing to satisfy their additive need to acquire more and more wealth at the expense of anything that gets in their way. Any worker that is currently employed by a firm that has global reach over its factors of production (and this doesn't include many small to medium sized firm's playing by the rules) are at risk of being eliminated. This includes every imaginable profession since there currently exists the technology and desire (by the controllers) to out source any profession - first and foremost the media (the thorn within the controllers side). It is imperative that in the next few weeks and months that all of us that count ourselves among the working class keep abreast of issues, meaningful relevant facts, and not be swayed by propaganda spewing from the controllers. We must make our voices heard through written, vocal, and peaceful dissent to the path that the controllers are leading us down. We must not and cannot follow the controllers blindly into a future of no government and working slave subservience. Remember the controllers will use key phrases such as "free market", "household survey", patriotism, and many others to sway global opinion towards their way of reasoning. Also, keep in mind there are many honest, decent, caring employers (mostly small, medium, and large sized businesses) that are playing by the rules and respect their workers, and communities. It is probably only a few but powerful firms making up the Fortune 500 that are the real controllers of a destiny of worker subservience. I will continue to write the unpopular truth be it what may come. You should continue to question, reason, and judge the facts and not be swayed by propaganda. Let the facts speak for themselves because they surely will if given the chance!

Raymond Donald Pairan Jr.
Copyright (c) 2004 All rights reserved.

It's now imperative that all workers organize to stop the business/political elite (hereafter referred to as the Controllers) from realizing their objective of total control of our governments and future. Every effective resistance to more powerful forces starts with the few but ends with the many.

The Controllers are attempting to demonize the worker's resistance by labeling us as Anarchist's when in actuality where all just average individuals just thrust into events not of our own choosing. The swirling tide of inequity is forcing workers towards action - not any innate desire to disrupt. It is far too convenient for the Controllers to label the worker's resistance has an Anarchist attempt to dislocate established government. What the Controllers are attempting is to maintain the divisions or erect new divisions between average citizens through the labeling of specific segments of society that are opposed to their plans of complete global domination. Fissures that can be made divisions create distractions and divisiveness where community of interest should exist.

All workers have community of interest in halting the implicit destruction of our rights and forms of governmental redress. The workers resistance must break the attempts by the Controllers to label us has Anarchist's because even if our numbers swell small fissures of doubt will become canyons of acquiescence if their labeling attempts succeed. In order for our cause to succeed it must be abundantly apparent to the average worker that we are not resisting laws and actions just to engage in some form of deviant activity. We must be viewed for what we represent not for what the Controllers want us to represent. This can only be accomplished through making it transparently apparent that we are the average citizen workers and not some radical subversive element bent upon disrupting for the sake of disruption.

Organized labor needs to unite behind one banner of worker resistance against the Controller's. All workers regardless of profession (blue collar, white collar, etc.) need to rally behind this ONE organized front. We need to start planning now for peaceful marches that should commence in the summer months. Small gatherings of worker's here or there are not effective at conveying the mass dissatisfaction boiling within our global society. The marches required are mass demonstrations of worker anger that inspire other's to enlist in our struggle for freedom from the tyranny of future oppression. Thousand's should be rallied not hundreds because numbers convey strength while the few just convey mild dissatisfaction. Keep in mind that the Controller's first order of business will be to discredit en mass demonstrations through 'divide and conquer' techniques of demonizing those involved. If given the opportunity they will label those involved as Anarchist's bent upon the destruction of all norms of civil government. We must not let them play this hand because if they can play it successfully it will mean the total disregard of our cause by those not yet committed.

Many marches can be realized but their needs to be one extremely large march upon the centers of government (in the case of the United States - Washington). The ONE organized labor front should place groups of worker's together by profession within the demonstrations. It should be easily discerned by an average individual that the marchers are not disorganized rabble bent upon violence and destruction but workers from every walk of life expressing their passion for freedom from a future Controller dominated world. Each sub-group within the demonstration should have a sign that is larger than the rest that clearly indicates what profession they are representing. Every worker that is representing a profession should be dressed in the garb of his or her profession (their working clothes). In effect, programmers could carry their PC notebooks, doctors dress as doctors (with their stethoscope if possible), mechanics wear their work clothes complete with grease, airline pilots wear their uniforms (hats and all), and every worker from every imaginable walk of life that can be represented should be represented. When marching upon a capital city it is imperative that the march begins further from the area where the march will end in order to prevent the Controller's from stopping the march by not allowing buses within the area. We may also gain much needed additional press coverage from a march that moves over a longer distance and those viewing the march may join their respective profession sub-group within the demonstration as the march progresses thus increasing our numbers once we reach the focal area of the march.

The existing structures of organized labor must be utilized effectively to plan, instruct, and lead a newly formed single organized labor front against the concerted well-directed Controller's. Simply amassing numbers in protest against the Controller's will be ineffectual because unless those worker's not yet committed to our efforts can identify with the marchers at any level they will presume the Controller's propaganda that those marching are Anarchists to be true. Remember for the cause to be effective those not yet committed must be able to identify with those already committed. If the worker's marching are viewed as outsiders by those not yet committed they will become outsiders simply because of how they're perceived. The goal should be to build from a 'breeze' of support to a 'gale' of resistance to the world envisioned by the Controllers. A world where the average worker is mere chattel to be manipulated, coerced, and used by the Controllers for their own best interests is not the world of freedom that we envision for our children.