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|August 10 , 2005 - Volume VI, Issue 32|
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From One Techie to Another:
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From India to America...and back?
I have some personal Indian friends that are great people and extremely persistent. I've watched them work very hard to achieve success, success that they couldn't have achieved in India. I have one friend in particular that came to America to attend college, worked for a few years, got his MBA, got a great job with a global company in the Northeast, and is now a VP for that global company. Guess where? Back in India!
As a society, America has become complacent after years and years of economic success. Some Americans have forgotten what it's like to work hard. Guess what? India (and China for that matter) is hungry for success and they will work hard to achieve it. So what do you do? Blame the Indians and Chinese? No! You find the drive to succeed!
Here's Jim's summary of the Suketu Mehta's NY Times article or read it online at http://www.jimpinto.com/enews/aug5-2005.html#3...maybe it will help put things in perspective.
"Stories about big layoffs and huge offshore job expansions have aroused a primal fear in the Western world: that they might soon need to line up outside the Indian Embassy for work visas and their children will have to learn Hindi. Just as my parents had to line up outside the American consulate in Bombay, and my sisters and I had to learn English.
"The outsourcing debate seems to have mutated into a contest between the country of my birth and the country of my nationality. Of course I feel a loyalty to America: it gave my parents a new life and my sons were born here. I have a vested interest in seeing America prosper. But I am here because the country of my ancestors didn't understand the changing world; it couldn't change its technology and its philosophy and its notions of social mobility fast enough to fight off the European colonists, who won not so much with the might of advanced weaponry as with the clear logical philosophy of the Enlightenment. Their systems of thinking conquered our own. So, since independence, Indians have had to learn; we have had to slog for long hours in the classroom while the children of other countries went out to play.
"When I moved to Queens, in New York City, at the age of 14, I found myself, for the first time in my life, considered good at math. In India, math was my worst subject, and I regularly found myself near the bottom of the class. But in my American school, the standards were so low that I was near the top of the class. If I were now to move with my family to India, my children - who go to one of the best private schools in New York - would have to take remedial math and science courses to get into a good school in Bombay.
"Of course, India's no wonderland. A quarter of its one billion people live below the poverty line, 40% are illiterate, and the child malnutrition rate exceeds that of sub-Saharan Africa. But those Indians who went to the US have done remarkably well: Indians make up one of the richest ethnic groups in this country. During the technology boom of late 1990's, Indians were responsible for 10% of all the start-ups in Silicon Valley. And in this year's national spelling bee, the top four contestants were of S. Asian origin.
"There is a perverse hypocrisy about the whole jobs debate, especially in Europe. The colonial powers invaded countries like India and China, pillaged them of their treasures and commodities and made sure their industries weren't allowed to develop, so they would stay impoverished and unable to compete.
"Then the imperialists complained when the destitute people of the former colonies came to their shores to clean their toilets and dig their sewers; they complained when later generations came to earn high wages as doctors and engineers; and now they're complaining when their jobs are being lost to children of the empire who are working harder than they are.
"The rich countries can't have it both ways. They can't provide huge subsidies for their agricultural conglomerates and complain when Indians, who can't make a living on their farms, then go to the cities and study computers and take away their jobs. Why are Indians willing to write code for a tenth of what Americans make for the same work? It's not by choice; it's because they're still struggling to stand on their feet after 200 years of colonial rule.
"Of course, it's heart-wrenching to see American programmers - many of whom are of Indian origin - lose their jobs and have to worry about how they'll pay the mortgage. But they are ill served by politicians who promise to bring their jobs back by the facile tactic of banning them from leaving. This strategy will ensure only that our schools stay terrible; it'll be an entire country run like the dairy industry, feasible only because of price controls and subsidies.
"But we have a resource of incalculable worth right here to help us compete: the immigrants who've been given a new life in America. There are many more Indians in the US than there are Americans in India. Indian-Americans will help America understand India and trade with it to our mutual benefit. Just as Arab-Americans can help us fight Al Qaeda, Indian-Americans can help us deal with the emerging economic superpower that is India. This is the return of the gift of citizenship.
"And just in case, I'm making sure my children learn Hindi."
I personally believe there are are a few morals to this story.
Enjoy the rest of this e-news!
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