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Closed Loop


Proceed With Caution

I wanted to comment on Don Tapscott's "Full Speed Ahead" (May 1, 2004). We thought it was excellent — lucid without getting carried away by statistics, emotions, and other obstacles to clear thinking. Tapscott provides deep insight into the long-term advantages of outsourcing, and his presentation of the "business web" is right on the mark.

S Parikh
Chapel Hill, NC

I read ["Full Speed Ahead"], and yes, outsourcing may be good for the profit margin, but companies have more responsibilities than the bottom line.

They must also realize that they're part of the community that hosts them, and unless the whole of middle-class America moves to India, there won't be anyone left with any money in this country to buy their wonderful products.

There must be a balance, but American companies should think "America first."

Robert Cook III
Cottage Grove, OR

As a 48-year-old Oracle DBA, I view outsourcing as a personal threat, and I disagree strongly with the views expressed in "Full Speed Ahead." Tapscott states that jobs lost overseas are replaced by better jobs at home. That simply isn't the case. The jobs lost are those that built America's middle class; the jobs created are service-sector jobs paying far less. A tipping point will come when the middle class won't be able to afford goods or services: America will become a two-class society composed of the wealthy elite and a great majority of service-sector poor trying to make a living washing each other's clothes.

Although I don't advocate blind protectionism, I hope that corporate America can show a little enlightened self-interest and try to keep jobs in America where possible. Most of my colleagues realize that the days of six-figure salaries are passing. But if the jobs leave the country altogether, we will enter a downward spiral where students will refuse to learn computer science because of a lack of jobs in the field. Jobs will then move overseas due to a lack of local talent and America's technical future will be mortgaged to Bangalore.

Scott Uhrick
Danbury, CT

In Tapscott's "Full Speed Ahead," he treats a computer and mathematical sciences practitioner who's invested more than a hundred grand on a college education the same as an assembly worker who's paid from hour one to be trained. He also fails to account for the fact that said computer person has a mortgage and a family and the $29 VCR from China does not.

Protectionism already exists — against us and in favor of India.

Kevin Davis
Kalamazoo, MI

Our government, in order to delude the general public, changes reporting of unemployment from all the unemployed to just those receiving unemployment benefits to new starts only. By lying with statistics we get a feel-good perspective, and it's easier to put more people out of work.

If there's no middle class left in America in, let's say, five years, then who's going to buy the cars and stereos? Is GM or Ford willing to cut the price of their vehicles like Microsoft cut the price of its OS in order to market in third-world countries? If these companies can cut the price tag in half or better, why don't they do it for the American consumer?

A global economy is important, but is American industry ready to equalize its sales with global industries? Should American buyers start buying non-U.S. made products to support the global economy?

It's getting awful deep and the truth is at the bottom of this lake.

Mark Bruch
Danville, IL

Man on the Moon

The statement that "it's difficult to imagine that our computing models will become significantly more complex" [Robert Northrop, "The Evolving Enterprise," June 1, 2004] brings to mind the statement that humans will never be able to fly and several similar shortsighted forecastings.

We've seen complexity increase because modern lifestyles are getting more complex and because we continuously discover new principles in science.

Thinking persons will always be needed. We're in short supply.

Mauro Torellini
Baton Rouge, LA

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