Re: Economic (ignorance) Nativism and me

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Sat Mar 24 2001 - 21:50:58 MST

On Sat, 24 Mar 2001 wrote:

> But it would serve the
> short-term interest of companies to plump-up the Quarter and Annual reports,
> to the pleasure, of the share holders. That is, until the American-born
> schmucks, start experiencing a decline in their standard of living. That
> effect, if it were to occur, is something that I am concerned about.

You need to take into account that companies such as Microsoft
or Oracle don't really have a problem getting people. It was
the dot-com bubble that had a hard time hiring people. In order
to solve that they were making crazy offers to lure people away
from more secure positions. In retrospect, those offers were
justified (as the risk-reward ratio now seems to have balanced out.)

While Larry or Bill might have been in general agreement that
a lower IT staff cost would be benificial, I doubt they really
put that much emphasis on it -- the VC people and dot-com-ers
on the other hand *did* have an agenda -- a company with no
people (to produce a 'product') doesn't float very well
on the market. There was a point during '99-'00 when the
dot-com startup rate was being significantly constrained by
the lack of qualified IT workers. Now that slice of bread
seems to have flipped so its falling butter-side down.

> No, I have not proven this contention. It seems that what I know of the
> salaries made by the folks brought in to work at my company, I have heard
> that they are making much less then the American Citizen proggies.

This I would expect to be true. For example I know of a brilliant
Russian scientist who is now working at Celera. I expect they are
making less than their counterparts simply owing to the increased
overhead of communication difficulties. There is a cost to having
a significant percentage of your staff be foreign trained and/or
non-native english speaking. The greater management costs translate to
decreased employee salaries.

I don't think you have to go to court. As a former employer of
many foreign citizens, I'd state quite honestly that these are
management tradeoffs that do get made. Typically senior management
hires an American to boost the productivity of what would otherwise
be less productive staff. Depending on the relative size of the
management pyramid this may or may not work effectively.

> So is there currently a deep shortfall in IT workers?

I doubt it. IT workers currently are going unemployed for
weeks to months (when dot-coms fold) and salaries are starting
to decline. I'd say that is the key measure of whether or not
there is a 'shortfall'.

> I dunno. Is this report that I quote merely a means of shortchanging USA
> workers?

I think the so-called 'shortage' existed when dot-com'ers
couldn't staff their startups. Now I doubt that is the case.


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