All Rights Reserved © 2006 Thomas W. Day
This morning, the NPR dill-hole "economic expert" and other similar fools were marveling at the "fact" that most Americans are suspicious of the current "economic upturn." I put all this crap in quotes, because these terms are being tossed about, in the media, like they have some meaning. I am regularly amazed at the minimal math skills required to become an "economic expert."
The United States has become a feudal state, with 1% of the population owning nearly 90% of the country's assets. The majority of that 1% produces absolutely nothing, contributes nothing of value to the nation's gross national product, and would barely be noticed if they instantly vanished from the planet. But they are the people for whom the economy is slightly upturning.
The rest of us are seeing declining wages, rapid inflation, reduced buying power, vanishing middle class jobs, erratic and irrational government attention to the economy, social insecurity, and no sign of anything improving our lot. So, why is it so difficult to figure out why most of us are not optimistic about the current and future economy of this country?
Easy. Managers and their "experts" are fools. Like Republican politicians, they either think the rest of us are dumb enough to buy what they're crapping out or they are fooled by their own bullshit. Mostly, though, they are simply inbred, upper-crust idiots.
Which brings me to my current business solution; send more jobs to India. Here's where that inspiration came from:
I recently wanted to verify some information on my AT&T/Citibank credit card. I called the 800 number on the back of the card and ended up in India or Pakistan of some damn place where English is spoken with a mouth full of marbles. It's not that the connection was bad, although it was pretty awful considering that AT&T is supposedly a telephone service. For ten minutes, I asked my question and listened to a collection of random syllables in response. I'm assuming they were a response, since I have no idea what was being said on the other, distant end of the line.
After a series of non-communicative exchanges, I decided that I didn't really need this credit card and said, "I want to cancel my card. Please say 'yes' if you understand this request and have closed my account."
Instead of the response I'd requested, I received another long string of random vowels and I waited it out. When she had finished talking space alien, I repeated my request. Another pile of vowels poured through the telephone line, but I interrupted and said, very slowly and, probably, a little forcefully, "I'm not kidding. I just want to cancel the account. Please just respond with a single word, 'yes,' if you understand what I said and have closed my account with AT&T/Citibank."
A long pause followed, clicking noises covered the silence, and, finally, I think I heard her say "yes." Honestly, I couldn't understand what she was saying, even with a single syllable word, well enough to know for sure that she managed to comprehend what I wanted done. I cut up the card, posted a note to my credit record describing why I'd cancelled the account and put a note in Outlook to remind me to check on the account in a month to see if it is closed.
Over the years, I've collected a small pile of credit cards from back in the day when credit card companies simply mailed a card, unrequested, and created a customer. Like dope pushers, credit card companies are always looking for new addicts and I used to simply drop the new cards either in the trash or in a fireproof safe. I rarely use credit for anything and think of the cards as more of an emergency fund than an actual financial gadget. I opened up the safe and took out all of my unused credit cards. I had two MBNA accounts, another Citibank account, a couple of Chase cards, and a Discover Card. Suddenly, it seemed like a good time to simply my financial life.
I called the 800 number for MBNA, got another noisy long line, a series of automated instructions, and, finally, another non-English speaking service person. After listening to his long, barely intelligible drone touting the great benefits I would realize by consolidating all of my non-existent debt into a six-month, zero-interest loan from MBNA, I slowly repeated my AT&T request, "I want to cancel my account. Please just respond with a single word, 'yes,' if you understand what I said and have closed my account with MBNA." Just like my AT&T/Citibank experience, I had to repeat myself about a half-dozen times to get the job done, but I finally heard a simple "yes" from the long end of the line, thanked the fellow, and moved on to the rest of my cards.
It turned out that only Discover Card had either kept telephone service in the US or done one hell of a job of teaching English to the lady with whom I spoke. So, I reluctantly kept my unused Discover Card.
Personally, I recommend that we all go through this exercise. Those US companies that think so little of their US customers that they save a few bucks on service by shipping that service to non-English speaking countries do not deserve out business. In fact, we ought to be closely watching where our dollars go because the jobs we save are our own. Some people buy Toyotas instead of Fords or GM cars because it's more likely that the Toyota is built here than the so-called US manufactured cars.
That said, there are some jobs that could easily, profitably, and practically be moved to India. Positions that cost far more than they provide in service to customers or to productive employees can be displaced to third world countries. High paid, non-technical, non-essential positions, which are often held by middle-aged white men who have gravitated to those jobs solely because of longevity and an ability to avoid doing productive work, would be ideally suited for foreign export.
There is no reason why the nation couldn't export the job done by every single multi-national executive position, every media expert spokesperson, every Fox News talking head, and every government office to India, Pakistan, South Korea, or, even, Iraq. Once all of those non-essential positions are securely positioned in their tar-paper shanties and grass huts (equipped with cell phones, iMacs, and bug spray) billions of dollars would be saved and our nation's productivity would skyrocket. Most US corporations would shave 20-40% from their overhead just by trading in their inefficient mismanagement for low-paid, third world executive services.
The best bit I've saved for last, though. With our wasteful US-based management systems, we have to fritter away precious resources in golden parachute payoffs, executive retirement plans, and all sorts of pointless and unproductive expenditures to be rid of useless executives. Move those jobs to India and executive downsizing is a simple problem. When hard times come, as they always do, those same corporations could easily downsize by cutting off the cell phone service to their off-shore executive staff.
With this simple reorganization, service to customers would improved, employee productivity would be enhanced, profitability would explode, and nobody anyone cares about would be harmed. Couple the corporate efficiency with the improvement in national communications provided by moving the media and government offices offshore and you have the perfect modern social and economic system.