We’re Screwed: Jobs For Highly Educated Westerners Going Offshore Fast

accountantsThe Guardian‘s Peter Wilby describes what his editors term “the awful truth” that developed countries must face: even jobs for graduates of our numerous colleges and universities are going to India, China and other fast developing countries:

Western Europeans and Americans are about to suffer a profound shock. For the past 30 years governments have explained that, while they can no longer protect jobs through traditional forms of state intervention such as subsidies and tariffs, they can expand and reform education to maximise opportunity. If enough people buckle down to acquiring higher-level skills and qualifications, Europeans and Americans will continue to enjoy rising living standards. If they work hard enough, each generation can still do better than its parents. All that is required is to bring schools up to scratch and persuade universities to teach “marketable” skills. That is the thinking behind Michael Gove’s policies and those of all his recent predecessors as education secretary.

But the financial meltdown of 2008 and the subsequent squeeze on incomes is slowly revealing an awful truth. As figures out last week from the Office for National Statistics show, real UK wages have not risen since 2005, the longest sustained freeze in living standards since the 1920s. While it has not hit the elite in banking, the freeze affects most of the middle class as much as the working class. This is not a blip, nor the result of educational shortcomings. In the US, which introduced mass higher education long before Britain, the average graduate’s purchasing power has barely risen in 30 years. Just as education failed to deliver social democratic promises of social equality and mobility, so it will fail to deliver neoliberal promises of universal opportunity for betterment.

“Knowledge work”, supposedly the west’s salvation, is now being exported like manual work. A global mass market in unskilled labour is being quickly succeeded by a market in middle-class work, particularly for industries, such as electronics, in which so much hope of employment opportunities and high wages was invested. As supply increases, employers inevitably go to the cheapest source. A chip designer in India costs 10 times less than a US one. The neoliberals forgot to read (or re-read) Marx. “As capital accumulates the situation of the worker, be his payment high or low, must grow worse.”

We are familiar with the outsourcing of routine white-collar “back office” jobs such as data inputting. But now the middle office is going too. Analysing X-rays, drawing up legal contracts, processing tax returns, researching bank clients, and even designing industrial systems are examples of skilled jobs going offshore…

[continues in the Guardian]

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  • Simiantongue

    “All that is required is to bring schools up to scratch and persuade universities to teach “marketable” skills.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scopes-creationism-education

    Good luck with that.

  • Simiantongue

    “All that is required is to bring schools up to scratch and persuade universities to teach “marketable” skills.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scopes-creationism-education

    Good luck with that.

  • Simiantongue

    “All that is required is to bring schools up to scratch and persuade universities to teach “marketable” skills.”

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scopes-creationism-education

    Good luck with that.

  • hucksawyer

    I’m tired of this talk about jobs. Everyone seems to take it for granted that we need jobs. I don’t need a job. Do you? I don’t need a job and I don’t want a job. What I need is food, shelter, and the opportunity to pursue what I deem a worthwhile occupation. Who the hell wants a job flipping burgers or building bombs for the army or grading idiotic tests for bored pupils or any of the other increasingly stupid and disgusting jobs we’re being offered. The cream of the crop is George Clooney’s job from last year’s movie (Up In The Air), the one where he fired people. That was some job!

    Here is what Obama said during his State of the Union Address: “The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100.”
    The same holds for many other industries. Well, if we need 10 times fewer workers nowadays, then why the hell do we have to work? We don’t have to work. We have enough to feed, clothe, and shelter everyone in North America in a perfectly decent manner. So let’s do that and let the Chinese work 40 hours a day if they want to. None of our business. We don’t need to ‘compete’ with them.
    Seriously, try the following exercise – download the department of labor’s jobs breakdown, and try to see how many you can eliminate. Be brave and decisive. Teachers are little more than indoctrinators. Off they go. Bankers we can do without. Army? Who needs an army when there are nukes. Etc.

    Wanna solve the ‘problem’ of unemployment? Introduce the T to T workweek: Tuesday to Thursday, Ten to Two. (Credits to Fred Exley.)

    Those who fight for ‘jobs’ are fighting for happiness in slavery. We have to examine the problem from a broader perspective. In conclusion, a musical epilogue:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPrSVkTRb24

  • Anonymous

    I’m tired of this talk about jobs. Everyone seems to take it for granted that we need jobs. I don’t need a job. Do you? I don’t need a job and I don’t want a job. What I need is food, shelter, and the opportunity to pursue what I deem a worthwhile occupation. Who the hell wants a job flipping burgers or building bombs for the army or grading idiotic tests for bored pupils or any of the other increasingly stupid and disgusting jobs we’re being offered. The cream of the crop is George Clooney’s job from last year’s movie (Up In The Air), the one where he fired people. That was some job!

    Here is what Obama said during his State of the Union Address: “The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100.”
    The same holds for many other industries. Well, if we need 10 times fewer workers nowadays, then why the hell do we have to work? We don’t have to work. We have enough to feed, clothe, and shelter everyone in North America in a perfectly decent manner. So let’s do that and let the Chinese work 40 hours a day if they want to. None of our business. We don’t need to ‘compete’ with them.
    Seriously, try the following exercise – download the department of labor’s jobs breakdown, and try to see how many you can eliminate. Be brave and decisive. Teachers are little more than indoctrinators. Off they go. Bankers we can do without. Army? Who needs an army when there are nukes. Etc.

    Wanna solve the ‘problem’ of unemployment? Introduce the T to T workweek: Tuesday to Thursday, Ten to Two. (Credits to Fred Exley.)

    Those who fight for ‘jobs’ are fighting for happiness in slavery. We have to examine the problem from a broader perspective. In conclusion, a musical epilogue:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPrSVkTRb24

  • truethomas

    It’s not just western workers who are getting screwed — they’re just feeling it first. It’s everyone, everywhere.

    Technology marches on. More stuff is grown, dug up, designed or made with fewer workers. This happens everywhere. More quickly where wages and cost of living are high, but everywhere nonetheless.

    It is a system that concentrates wealth into the hands of the Few. The Few used to include most westerners but the Few are getting fewer. Most westerners are being squeezed out.

    The Few are becoming unattached to nation, to place — they are surfing the wave of change, following it where it takes them, as long as they can. They don’t need country or government. Maybe they think they don’t even need the Earth.

    Where will it end? How will it end? How do we get off this ride? You tell me.

  • truethomas

    It’s not just western workers who are getting screwed — they’re just feeling it first. It’s everyone, everywhere.

    Technology marches on. More stuff is grown, dug up, designed or made with fewer workers. This happens everywhere. More quickly where wages and cost of living are high, but everywhere nonetheless.

    It is a system that concentrates wealth into the hands of the Few. The Few used to include most westerners but the Few are getting fewer. Most westerners are being squeezed out.

    The Few are becoming unattached to nation, to place — they are surfing the wave of change, following it where it takes them, as long as they can. They don’t need country or government. Maybe they think they don’t even need the Earth.

    Where will it end? How will it end? How do we get off this ride? You tell me.

  • Godozo
  • Liam_McGonagle

    Well, as Wisconsin’s own favorite college dropout and “Koch-sucker in-Chief” Scottie Walker is demonstrating, there will ALWAYS be a healthy demand for “meatpackers” . . . .

  • Anonymous

    Well, as Wisconsin’s own favorite college dropout and “Koch-sucker in-Chief” Scottie Walker is demonstrating, there will ALWAYS be a healthy demand for “meatpackers” . . . .

  • Anonymous

    Best Disinfo comment I’ve read in awhile.

  • http://www.careers-inzen.eu Mr Jobs

    @Jackkane : The Zeitgeist Movement & The Venus Project ;)

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