- Paperback: 152 pages
- Publisher: Apress; Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. edition (July 30, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590593960
- ISBN-13: 978-1590593967
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,066,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Offshoring IT: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Paperback – July 30, 2004
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About the Author
Reverend Bill Blunden is an alumnus of Cornell University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in physics. He also holds a master of science degree in operations research from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Reverend Blunden is an ordained SubGenius minister, and is currently at large in California's Bay Area.
Top customer reviews
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If you have no complaints about benefiting from cheaper hardware, why should you complain if your software position is under threat from cheaper programmers offshore? Blunden supplies many tables and numbers in his book, to buttress his viewpoints. He talks about the greed of corporations who do offshoring. But he never posits why offshoring is happening now? Why not 10 or 20 years ago? It's certainly not because CEOs then were less greedy. But it's because the underlying hardware and bandwidth improvements have reached a tipping point, whereby it is now economically advantageous for offshoring of services.
He does point out that some manufacturing has moved overseas. But in IT, this offshoring has been happening since the early 90s. When fabrication of commodity chips and motherboards started migrating. Yes, some US hardware engineers then lost their jobs. Do you lament for them? That migration helped Dell and others offer ever-cheaper computers.
Blunden is a smart bloke, and he is surely well aware of all this. But even if you agree with his book, you should note that it ends weakly, with very tepid suggestions on how to reverse offshoring. The fundamental reason is that Moore's Law and the falling of bandwidth costs are still proceeding unabated. Technological innovations are still happening. In other words, services offshoring has barely begun.
Don't fall into the trap of thinking that offshoring is going away. That would be like an accountant circa 1980, when the first spreadsheets appeared on PCs, dismissing it as a fad. Whereas he would compute his spreadsheets manually, using only a calculator. In such a situation, it was the marginal cost of his labour, against the marginal cost of running a software spreadsheet, which even then was close to zero. (Once you bought the PC and software.)
This book is instructive. Ten or 20 years from now, it will capture perfectly a common if misguided attitude of our time. It will be worth studying then, in a course on history or economics. You don't think so? Then try searching for books on the awesome Japanese juggernaut, and how their economic model was going to overtake the inferior American economy. There were a spate of such books in the late 80s. You can't find these in bookstores now. Out of print and discredited. So too will be the fate of this book.
The books starts with an overview of basic economics, labor and capital and the technological advances that gave rise to shifting work across the globe in pursuit of lower costs. The author does a credible job of outlining and detailing company practices from GE to American Express and how many consulting firms help promote this practice. The book covers various labor laws including H1-B, L-1, and student visas.
Were the book to remain a factual examination of the practice and elements of outsourcing and offshoring, I would be happy to give high marks. However, the undercurrent of the author's worldview - subtle through the first half of the book - explodes in latter chapters. When introducing the section on "Argument's In Favor Of Offshoring" the author let's his bias come through clearly with this actual quote from the book:
"To be frank, it sickens me to have to echo the sympathies of someone like Carly Firiona or Brian Valentine. Nevertheless, my publisher has requested that I present an even-handed approach to this topic and that's, ahem, what I'm going to try and do" (Page 82). It is unfortunate that the author chooses to damage any credibility built on his earlier attempts to create a factual presentation of the issue, by further stating that if you actually swallow the "pro-outsourcing view" you ought to contact the poison center. Hardly the even-handed approach the publisher wanted, but at least honest.
The final chapter, a look at "Arguments Against Offshoring", is unfortunately weak. The chapter is filled with accusations of CEO greed and poor integrity. Tyco and Worldcom CEO's in particular are singled out. There are a several good points on how the media has been bought off by the corporations that both pay their advertising and do the lions share of the offshoring. He claims this results in media silence on the subject, as opposed to an open dialog. While these points are compelling, in the end few solutions are offered outside the contextual background of a socialistic entitlement that is never stated outright - to be fair - but seems to be his point.
I recommend this book. While it is obviously biased, it does so in a way that is so overt that the rest of the data allows for some interesting insights to be gleaned from the books content. Wonderful presentation, easy to read, and well written.
Bill draw from his own experience in 1992, when he graduated from Cornell with a B.A. in physics, absolutely NO ONE needed him. in his own words "After four years of school and tens of thousands of dollars of tuition payments,I was hoping to do something related to math or science. Instead, I waited tables for three years until I could make it back to graduate school and acquire skills in a different area"