Canadian Asks a Question. Do corporations having social responsibilities?
My friend from London,
Ontario sent a news item along last week.
See IBM memos detail overseas jobs savings - report
Reuters, 01.19.04, 10:50 AM ET
NEW YORK, Jan 19 (Reuters) - IBM expects to save $168 million annually starting in 2006 by
moving several thousand high-paying programming jobs abroad, according to internal company documents obtained by The Wall
International Business Machines Corp. has said it plans to move up to 3,000 jobs from the United States to developing countries this year. The Journal story did not say how many jobs the company expected to shift
overseas starting in 2006.
The Journal said the documents indicate that
for internal IBM accounting purposes, a programmer in China with three to five years of experience would cost about $12.50
an hour, including salary and benefits.
That's compared with $56 an hour
for a comparable U.S. employee, the Journal said, citing an unidentified
person familiar with the company's internal billing rates.
Armonk, New York-based IBM said on Saturday that it plans to hire 15,000 new employees this year - 50 percent more than originally
planned - in areas like software and services because of a rebound in the economy. The
company said about 4,500 net jobs will be added in the United States.
And he made this observation:
I saw a bit on CNN this morning about IBM adding 15,000 jobs this year, 5,000 in the US. Typically, this got no mention whatsoever though....
Well, my reply was this:
Yeah, I saw this on the wires. From what I see, this
is being spun both ways, depending on who reports it.
More jobs -
the Bush plan is working - things are getting better. Saw that. Fox News and the rest. The long nightmare
of massive unemployment is obviously ending.
The other spin is out there
The Bush recovery plan that is making corporate profits jump and
the markets rise, is, in fact creating twice the number of jobs in Singapore and places like that than it is creating here. Do the damned math. Two
thirds of these jobs are overseas.
Well, duh. When you look at the dollar costs - 12.50 an hour and then at 56.00 an hour, for the same work, and
actually quality work - well, IBM and the rest are not dumb. They exist
to make money. They are not patriotic charities, after all. As these corporations come out of their slumps, well, they are NOT going to throw money away. Why would they?
In short, as the business climate
improves the Bush method of boosting the economy turns out to be great for the whole world.
Really. It does. It just
has very little to do with the situation down here, south of your border. And
that is why I can live off my investments, and not work. Work is for others. I'm a capitalist owner, not a worker. Better
for me, of course. But quite ironic for a lefty like me.
But in these pages, here, and elsewhere, this has been discussed. And of course the real irony is my
friend from London, Ontario used to work for me. I hired him when I was running
that systems shop up there for two years. And he's still working away.
This came later, 20 January, from Canada:
Like you said, corporations exist to make a profit... period.
I have to disagree though with folks who say that a corporation
owes nothing to the country or community where it prospered and grew to be the behemoth it is now (one thinks of Moore's "Roger
The only way they got that big and fat was through bazillions
of dollars of tax-breaks, R&D investment incentives and breaks, etc. In other
words, they fed at the fed/state/municipal trough for free and don't expect to have to return anything to the folks who fill
it - you and me.
Up here, the "national airline" Air Canada
gets bailed out by the feds every few years. Do the taxpayers get anything back
when they're flying high again? Nope. (Pun
As for the offshore thing, not all of this offshored work is being done as well as we are being led
to believe though. You may have seen a couple weeks back, that Dell (or was it
Gateway?) canned their 15,000-person support operation in India. Way too many
customer complaints. Rather ironic, because it was a customer support center.
Now if I can just get those telemarketing calls from credit card company centers
in Bangladesh to stop phoning me at suppertime....
Corporations owe the community
that made their business possible? Curious.
I don't think that will fly with the business folks. It's easy
enough for them to characterize that idea as anti-business at best - something that could force them to lose money and
thus hurt the community: layoffs and closures would be possible if you really believe such "Canadian" things.
At worst they'd call it socialism, or communism.
and "community" have they same root. How odd.