I apologize for this late response to Al's thoughtful posting "Offshoring Issues" of April 29, but I had some trouble getting subscribed to this list. We have very limited resources and I think that we have to be realistic in what we plan. The entire business/corporate lobby & power-structure strongly favor off-shoring and are dead set against any government restrictions on it. The corporate mass media echoes their position. They have been largely successful in winning broad public support for "free-enterprise" and "free-market" ideologies. Even a "progressive" show like "Westwing" took the stance that (despite some hand-wringing) off-shoring is unstoppable and in the long-run beneficial to all. Democratic candidate Kerry mouths platitudes about "job creation" but it is clear to me that in the unlikely event he is elected he will do nothing to restrict off- shoring. We are facing an "free-market," "global-competition" ideologic tidal wave with the entire weight of corporate greed behind it. Even our core constituency has been swept up in the fervor and drumbeat of this political juggernaut. For example, a freelance tech writer on the STC's Independent Contractors discussion list was offered a job writing a corporate HR procedures manual for the explicit purpose of moving all HR jobs to India. He had some moral qualms, so he asked the list if he should take the job. The overwhelming response from that list -- who are our core constituency -- echoed the now dominant "global competition" paradigm (I've appended salient quotes from that discussion to this message). We've seen such political tsunamis before, and experience has proven that standing in front of a mental stampede with arms out-stretched crying "no" is futile, and only results in being rolled over. The only way to subvert a powerful new paradigm is to narrowly attack it at its most vulnerable point. If we can get people and politicians to question *one* aspect of off-shoring it becomes much easier to broaden the doubt to other aspects. If we can win political support of limiting *one* aspect of off-shoring it becomes possible to broaden that limitation to other aspects. The most vulnerable point of the "global-competition," "off-shoring-is-good" stampede are the national and personal security issues that Al alluded to in his issues summary. The job loss, harm to community economies, fairness, and similar arguments have not been effective. They have been put forward in many different contexts by labor and others and proven futile. In my opinion, only the security arguments have shown any hope of getting people -- both our core constituency and the public at large -- to question the globalization off-shoring paradigm. Previously I tried to circulate an in-depth analysis of the security issues, but I guess it was too long and very few people read it. If this list wishes, I can redistribute it as a PDF file. What I suggest is that we initially focus on those issues, using them as a wedge to force open debate on other aspects off-shoring. For example, we could compile a short set of specific security-related off-shoring questions that we present to candidates with the understanding that we will publicize their answers/positions to the high-tech community. Questions such as: 1. Will you enact legislation requiring that all research, development, and administration of critical national infrastructure such as the power grid and banking/financial networks be done inside the United States? 2. Will you enact legislation prohibiting the dissemination of individual personal medical and financial data outside of the jurisdiction of American privacy and data protection laws? 3. Will you enact legislation requiring that all military, defense, intelligence research, development, administration, and operations be done within the U.S? Once we settle on a set of questions, we mobilize our membership to present them to local candidates in their areas while the national leadership presents them to the presidential candidates. If possible, we get other organizations to join us in this effort We then use the web and methods to publicize where candidates stand. --bruce Below are salient quotes from the STC off-shoring discussion sparked by a writers qualms about taking a job that would directly lead to eliminating a large HR department and transferring the jobs to India. Let me stress that these were the dominant comments of freelance business and technical writers -- our core constituency. If you refuse the work, you will not save these HR jobs. If you point out to the temp agency, and then the client, how wrong it is to offshore, you will not save the jobs for others. If you turn down the work on principle, the jobs will be lost and you will go without work. If you take this job, it is likely that you are giving people in countries outside of North America the opportunity to develop and use skills that will enable them to improve their own lives and, inevitably, the overall standard of living in their respective countries. Small companies offshore to stay afloat, prosper, and hire more American workers. Business is not about jobs for jobs sake. We are not a welfare state. Business is about profitably providing value to the customer. If another business (or country) is more competitive, then we must either improve our competitiveness or focus on where we can compete. If outsourcing provides value, then a business should do it and the casualties should either improve their competitiveness (i.e. education, training) or switch fields (i.e. get another job) where they can be competitive. It's inevitable as our industry matures. That's what happens. The work reaches its maturity cycle, and the jobs can go to places where things can be done reliably and cheaply. And what will we do? Move up the value chain. We won't be "technical writers" but "user experience professionals" and do less formulaic writing (traditional manuals, online help) and move up to the work that takes a deeper understand of the product and processes. American consumers, generally demand the highest "bang for the buck" in goods for the lowest prices. As a result of this demand, American consumers are almost initiating the trend to manufacture in regions where labor costs are cheaper. If we want to be an equal partner in a world economy, and we really believe in competition, we have to play fair and be willing to accept all aspects of it. The notion of "offshoring" means other economies are simply following the principles on which our western economies are based. Can we blame them? Those are the rules of the game. We made the rules. They are playing by them. And so should we.