America Discovers – India Delivers ?

Wired 12.02 Cover Here’s Wired magazine’s take on the outsourcing juggernaut. Daniel Pink’s article is well written and well presented and tries to assuage the fears of some of America’s “Pissed Off Programmers” like Scott Kirwin, the voluble founder of the Information Technology Professional Association of America, who incidentally was not a ‘died in the wool’ programmer at all and has secured a new job which has moved him up the value chain.

Pink’s article is full of references to the fact that the software development work done in India is not only low cost, but also high quality. However, it pushes the (justified?) view that Indian companies are too process-improvement focussed and do not innovate. And it is in innovation and creativity that the US excels. Hence Pink concludes

After a week in India, it seems clear that the white-collar jobs with any lasting potential in the US won’t be classically high tech. Instead, they’ll be high concept and high touch.

Both Pink and editor in chief Chris Anderson highlight the fact that the US workforce is adept at making the transition to new areas – from farms to factories, from factories to IT, and now from IT to something else. Unfortunately no one has yet been able to clearly articulate what this something else is, although Pink makes an attempt. Its what he calls ‘high concept and high touch’. The only difference is while the transition from farms to factories to IT happened at a more leisurely pace, the transition away from IT is happening within a career-span. Therein lies the rub.

With much of the Average Joes in the US viewing India with (lets face it) fear, it makes it all the more important for India to be seen as a close political ally of the US. It would be harmful for both the US and India should political hostility (remember “freedom” fries) and economic protectionism cross fertilise each other.

Related Link: Discussion at Daniel Drezner’s blog

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