Liberal Xenophobia

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Tim Lee at Tech Liberation Front spots legislation being pushed by Senate Dems that would require call-center workers to identify the country in which they're located. There is, as he notes, something ironic about self-described liberals promoting protectionism by means of a law which works mostly by prompting nativists to yell at dark-skinned people who're just trying to make a living.

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  1. This is what transparency looks like, J. Although I generally dislike regulations, regulations that expand consumer information are pretty gr8 in my book. Like the warning on my cigs. like the ingredient listing on my food. Like the list of counterindications on my diet pills. Not all regulations deserve kneejerk opposiition.

  2. To call this “liberal xenophobia” is inaccurate. Call it “liberals taking advantage of conservative xenophobia in the name of protectionism.” Okay?

    JMJ

  3. Maybe it would be better if the law was that if you ask the person in the call center what country they are in, they have to tell the truth?

  4. Aaaaaahhh come one….

    Knee Jerk!

    Have you ever tried to call the Dell Consumer Line?

    I tell you what, the guy I spoke told me, in the thickest Indian accent that his name was ‘Gary’. He was telling porkies….

    Have a go at Corporations for abusing identities and taking advantage but don’t call people Xenophobic because they don’t like having the piss taken out of them.

  5. This is what transparency looks like, J. Although I generally dislike regulations, regulations that expand consumer information are pretty gr8 in my book.

    Perhaps they should also be required to identify their race, religion, and sexual orientation in case some callers are sensitive to those characteristics as well.

  6. “regulations that expand consumer information”

    Agreed in principle, bullshit in this case. Requiring a doctor to disclose whether he’s (say) gotten any money from pharam companies whose drugs he’s prescribing, or restaurants to post a notice if they allow smoking, is a sensisble consumer information regulation. Requiring the doctor to inform you if he’s gay, or the restaurant to tell you the races of the kitchen staff… well, not so much. Consumers can always ask if they’re that interested.

  7. Like the warning on my cigs. like the ingredient listing on my food. Like the list of counterindications on my diet pills. Not all regulations deserve kneejerk opposiition.

    Oh really? Does it even need to be pointed out that in those cases the information relates directly to the quality and/or risks to the consumer of using the product? Does identifying the country in which they’re located have anything to do with that?

    You could try to claim they are hard to understand, but if so that is patently obvious and requires no warning. If it is not obvious then the nationality of the person is totally irrelevant, so again, no need for a warning.

    But of course we all know that isn’t what this is about. To say this is about transparency is so obviously wrong to even a casual observer as to be absurd. One wonders why you even try such an argument.

    Maybe we should we pass a law that requires all call center workers to tell you their race too? And how about their gender or sexual orientation while we’re at it. I mean, if it’s just about transparency, why not?

  8. Crazy effing statists.

  9. Apologies to MikeP and Julian for duplicating their argument – I should hit “refresh” before posting…

  10. You don’t understand: Dey Tuk R Jarbs!!!

  11. Consumers can always ask if they’re that interested.

    Right, and what’s to prevent them from lying?

    I have heard of cases where the support person refused to acknowledge whether they were in another country or not, and as Mark said earlier, when someone who barely speaks english tells you their name is Gary, somehow the whole “Ask them” argument seems a little naive.

    Does it even need to be pointed out that in those cases the information relates directly to the quality and/or risks to the consumer of using the product? Does identifying the country in which they’re located have anything to do with that?

    You don’t think knowing the location of the person taking down your personal information is not related to the risks of a consumer? Esp. when many of these countries have little to no privacy laws and can sell your info to anyone at all??

    The reality is that businesses don’t want to have to tell their customers that their “support staff” is overseas because they are afraid that people will be (justifiably) more worried about their personal info, thus forcing them to make a decision as to whether to keep a lower cost overseas support staff v. keep a potentially large number of customers happy.

  12. Does identifying the country in which they’re located have anything to do with that?

    Sure it does. Let’s say that I, as a consumer, want to patronize businesses that have what I consider to be humane labor practices, and want to avoid patronizing businesses from places that I consider to have barbaric labor practices. A regulation that requires disclosure allows me to excercise (arguably rational) consumer choice in this regard.

    Of course that other poster’s suggestion about the law merely saying that an honest answers needs be given to customer inquiries would do the trick without burdening the uncurious with verbiage. Hopefully that can be our compromise solution.

  13. Oh, it’s about privacy. Right.

    I call shenanigans!

  14. The reality is that businesses don’t want to have to tell their customers that their “support staff” is overseas because they are afraid that people will be (justifiably) more worried about their personal info

    That is so incredibly not the reality. It makes one wonder why you try to claim that it is.

    Who is more likely to have either the desire or the means to misuse your personal info: “Jerry” in Reno or “Gary” in Delhi? Perhaps call center workers should be required to disclose their drug habits and current indebtedness.

  15. How do you know that call center folks are dark skinned?

    Twice, I’ve called my phone company, only to be directed to their call center where I’ve spoken to a Sven and an Alice with extremely thick northern european accents, who I very much doubt could even get a tan if they tried.

  16. Does identifying the country in which they’re located have anything to do with [consumer protection]?

    Sure it does.

    No it doesn’t. Your rationale has nothing to do with protecting you. You simply stated a personal preference which you want the government to coerce others into helping you satisfy. It is no different than someone who prefers to deal only with straight people because of his um… “faith.” Whether you agree with his heartfelt convictions is irrelevant. Why should we force people to cater to your subjective preference and not his?

  17. MikeP, how can you just dismiss that out of hand? Of course people are going to distrust foreign locales – whether they should or not!

    JMJ

  18. How would they even enforce the law?

    – Josh

  19. I have called the Dell consumer hotline, too. I outright asked the person helping me where they were working from. He said India. I said, “O RLY?” and we got into a brief discussion about what time it is there and how the weather is and blah blah.

    Am I xenophobe now? Or am I just cheeky and curious to the point of rudeness (more likely)?

  20. Witness the incredible bureaucracy that is blog etiquette: H&R links to Tech Liberation Front who hattips Techdirt who cites the real article in Travel Weekly, which requires a subscription. Come on guys.

    Here’s a good, less crazy link to the primary source in question.

    It’s in your best interest to learn the advantages of dynamic links. With just the slightest change in address, we can call an entirely different web function… in this case, the ‘print’ command.

  21. I would also add tat having a customer service representative that is acculturated in your culture is not an irrational preference either.

    The US traditionally has high standards of customer service, but then again the US goes way out of its way to empower the type of people who work at call centres (with education, welfare safety net, union law, minimum wage, overtime law, etc, etc). Some other countries also do this.

    Still other countries have a culture where low level employees know their place and are less divided in their allegiances, understanding that the boss is always right no matter how ridiculous she is being.

    It is rational for customers to prefer one or the other type, to want to express this preference and to want to use geography as a surrogate for something as important but slippery as culturation.

    Pigment differences aren’t the only kind of probabilistic differences that correlate with these imaginary lines on maps, you know.

  22. Dave W,

    Let’s say that I, as a consumer, want to patronize businesses that have what I consider to be humane labor practices

    You obviously have the right to that preference, but that clearly does not “relate directly to the quality and/or risks to the consumer of using the product”!

    Requiring this disclosure would be more analogous to requiring disclosure on all manner of employer/employee relations, or on the corporation’s charitable actions, etc. In other words, it relates to your view of the company as being a good or bad company.

    Now for the moment I’m setting aside whether or not it’s good to require these kind of disclosures. Obviously you can guess where I stand. Perhaps you find the examples I cite as worthy of regulations as well, maybe not. My point at the moment, however, is simply that you clearly err to relate this type of disclosure to ones that, again, “relate directly to the quality and/or risks to the consumer of using the product.” If you still disagree, please note the use of the word, “directly.”

  23. Of course people are going to distrust foreign locales – whether they should or not!

    I have seen absolutely zero evidence for this claim. And I have every reason to believe that one would distrust an American with personal or financial disclosure more than one would a foreigner.

    Recognition of what is important. Familiarity with the application of the misappropriated info. Ability to make use of the stolen info in the right country. Even the need for stealing at all. … All of these indicate one would trust the American less. I cannot think of a single reason one would trust the foreigner less.

    If you can, do tell. And please also let me know why the government should enable whatever pathology you come up with.

  24. Fyo,

    Looks like we kind of cross posted. My main response to your contention is in the For Quality Assurance post.

    At a deeper level, for some people where a product is made, the conditions under which it is made do relate to quality of the product. if you feel icky using something that was made in a sweatshop or under an apartheid regime, then this icky feeling is part of the quality of the product regardless of how well your South African investment performs or how high those Nikes allow you to jump.

  25. I would also add tat having a customer service representative that is acculturated in your culture is not an irrational preference either.

    I know what you mean. Take the bank… it’s full of Jews! They are NOT part of MY culture! When choosing a bank I’m careful to choose somebody who looks Christian. But sometimes this is difficult. On the phone it’s impossible. If I ask them, they usually will hang up on me or lie.

    This is clearly a situation where the government needs to step in and allow us to know who the Jews are in order to promote consumer disclosure. Maybe they should make the Jews where something to identify themselves… a piece of flair maybe?

  26. Wow, Dave W,

    You really think someone needs to be warned of a customer service person’s whereabouts so that one would not have to risk wasting their time with someone based on their country’s “safety net”? OMIGOD THAT’S NUTS!! Even throwing in vaguely more sensible matters such as education and employment laws, the customer will find out if the service rep is good or not in due time without risking more than a little time, distinctly unlike the risk one might take with prescription medicine. The quantitative difference is staggering.

    Nevertheless, Dave W’s use of such a “rational” argument does help to show where opening the door to regulations that avowedly “relate directly to the quality and/or risks to the consumer of using the product” inevitably end up.

  27. It’s just as easy for a Dell help desk person in India to be unhelpful and rude as it is for one in Texas.

    Actually, Dell’s policies on customer help are so weird and annoying that I have to think that their intent is to get you NOT to call them for help and to get you off the line quickly when you do. And that has nothing to do with the nationality of the flunky on the other end of the call–though a very thick Indian accent only furthers their purpose, I suppose.

  28. Actually, Dell’s policies on customer help are so weird and annoying that I have to think that their intent is to get you NOT to call them for help and to get you off the line quickly when you do.

    ChrisO,

    I absolutely agree with you. I am pretty sure they read from a script. Not kidding. I had to call them a few times a couple of years ago, and I could virtually predict what they would say next, accent or no.
    And yes, the point is so that you stop calling them. Most computer “help” is usually just that.

  29. MikeP, all I’m saying is that people can be a little xenophobic, that’s all. You disagree? Fine. As for the gov’t making these sorts of rules – actually, on this one, I’m more with you guys.

    JMJ

  30. if you feel icky using something that was made in a sweatshop or under an apartheid regime, then this icky feeling is part of the quality of the produc

    As others have pointed out, one can just as easily say the same thing about using something that has been made by homosexuals or people of a different race. Luckily, you might not find a majority of people to favor such disclosures in today’s world. But that’s the only thing that stands between a statist’s logic and a nightmarish world: the wisdom of the majority.

    Just to be clear, I don’t personally give a damn what country a customer service rep is in any more than I care if the rep is homosexual. But I think there should be higher principles keeping the government from wringing disclosures out of workers regardless of the currently fashionable “rational” sense of ickiness.

  31. Of course they read from a script. It’s actually more like a flow chart. They have questions to ask you, and based on your response, they move to another set of questions on the their flow chart. It does not matter where they’re from…they just need to be able to read english and speak it back. If you really want help, you’ll have to get rude and try to talk to a “manager”, hopefully someone in the states.

    But this law is ridiculous.

  32. “At a deeper level, for some people where a product is made, the conditions under which it is made do relate to quality of the product. if you feel icky using something that was made in a sweatshop or under an apartheid regime, then this icky feeling is part of the quality of the product regardless of how well your South African investment performs or how high those Nikes allow you to jump.”

    Fuck someone’s superficial “icky” xenophobia. No, this “icky” feeling is a subjective, superficial quality that has no bearing on the actual pragmatic quality or safety of the product. As pointed out by TrueAmericanMale’s sarcasm, David Duke could just as easily say that, since he hates dem niggas, and he doesn’t want any product or service that was performed by dem niggas, that he somehow has a “right” to be informed of their race when he calls customer service. Yawn. This is a slippery slope into subjective obscurity—which is precisely why we need to stick with actual, quantifiable factors that actually affect quality/safety.

  33. Let’s say that I, as a consumer, want to patronize businesses that have what I consider to be humane labor practices, and want to avoid patronizing businesses from places that I consider to have barbaric labor practices. A regulation that requires disclosure allows me to excercise (arguably rational) consumer choice in this regard.

    Actually, there already is a mechanism for identifying the location of the person you’re speaking to. It’s called an “accent”.

    Besides being silly, this law is probably unenforceable. How do you enforce US laws in foreign countries? What happens if the call center worker doesn’t identify the country he’s from? Is the FBI going to fly to Bangalore and arrest him? Good luck with that.

  34. if you feel icky using something that was made in a sweatshop

    I still don’t see why this is fundamentally different than feeling “icky” about dealing with a gay person. I’m sure it is different to you but not really to me. I think a concern about “sweatshops” generally means a rich westerner trying to soothe their conscience at the expense of a poor third-worlder whose only option is a poor paying job or no job at all. To me, invoking what amounts to an aesthetic, self-indulgent concern while sipping a fair-trade cappuccino, yet which has the real effect of leaving those one is claiming to “protect” scavenging garbage dumps is just about as immoral as anti-gay bigotry.

    That said, it simply isn’t the job of government to satisfy consumer preferences – that is the job of businesses catering to those consumers. No matter how much you defend the possible “rational” (and who decides what is rational?) reasons why one might prefer to know the nationality of the person on the other end of the line, it isn’t the purpose of government to dictate how a business should seek accommodate those concerns. If there really is a wide-spread demand for local call center workers there is simply no way a profit-seeking company will not seize upon that opportunity and exploit it by advertising their use of only American workers. I’d still say that is playing to the xenophobes more than any rational concern, but at least it would be a private choice.

  35. if you feel icky using something that was made in a sweatshop

    I still don’t see why this is fundamentally different than feeling “icky” about dealing with a gay person.

    I stand behind the right of private individuals to refuse to deal with gay people. then again, I am somewhat libertarian.

    Side to Fyo: I typed in a nice long story for you about how I managed to get auto insurance in Canada and the telephone rep’s role in that. sadly the server ate it.

  36. You didn’t get anyone, Dave. We’re talking about a law being proposed that makes call-centre people disclose the location they’re calling from.

    We’re arguing there shouldn’t be a silly law like this.

    We would also argue that private individuals can refuse to deal with gay people, but that wasn’t the question on the table.

  37. Haven’t read the thread.

    Is it safe to assume that Dave W. is off his meds again?

  38. The Dems position seems to be that you cannot work hard in your own country because doing so might take a job from an American. You can, however, feel free to move the United States, legaly or otherwise, and take all the welfare you can find.

  39. I also see a privacy convern since my international communications can be warrantlessly tapped by executive order, whereas purely domestic can not…

    oh shit..never mind.

  40. Who is more likely to have either the desire or the means to misuse your personal info: “Jerry” in Reno or “Gary” in Delhi? Perhaps call center workers should be required to disclose their drug habits and current indebtedness.

    The laws concerning privacy are much more strict in the US than they are in India. “Jerry” probably has a higer risk associated with his misuse of the informationa and can much more easily be tracked down in the US v “Gary” In New Dehli

    And as far as appearances go, anecdotally speaking, most people I have encountered have been very turned off by foreign call/support centers, and get very frustrated when they have a support staffer who can barely speak english. I don’t think its a stretch to believe that most companies want to hide that from their customers if they can.

  41. I ALWAYS ask call-center employees their location. They ALWAYS tell me. And when their response is Bangalore, I always respond “good for you!”

    On the one hand, in America, we export any jobs Americans can and are willing to do, to the lowest bidder (e.g. call-centers) in order to increase earnings.

    On the other hand, for the jobs Americans don’t want to do (e.g. fruit picking, restroom cleaning, child rearing), we import illegals.

    What we have here is a candle burning at both ends.

  42. If the government’s going to pass laws about call-center identification, I’d rather they make it a requirement that people on the phone say whether or not they are serving time in prison. I read an article some time ago which horrified me–a lot of companies have prison labor answering phones and taking things like catalog orders.

    Call me paranoid if you must, but I’m just not comfortable with the idea of giving my credit-card number and home address to a convicted rapist.

  43. Me: I still don’t see why this is fundamentally different than feeling “icky” about dealing with a gay person.

    Gotcha: I stand behind the right of private individuals to refuse to deal with gay people.

    Yeah? Good for you. Me too – if people want to be bigots that is should be their right however ignorant I may find it. Of course that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand.

  44. smacky

    I always ask where they are calling from, then tell them to have a nice day. I just think it is cool that someone thousands of miles away is helping me fis my computer

  45. Thank you for commenting. I’ll see you in Hell.

  46. David Duke could just as easily say that, since he hates dem niggas, and he doesn’t want any product or service that was performed by dem niggas

    Didn’t you hear? David loves us coloreds now.

  47. plus I’ve had jobs calling complete strangers, and anything to break the monotiny was always welcome.

  48. Of course that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand.

    If you go back through the thread, you will notice that I wasn’t the first person to mention gays here. or the second. or the third. eventually I decided to respond and now I get to hear how irrelevant homosexuality is to this discussion. Where were you hiding when the storm broke?

    Let me spell out why homosexuality is irrelevant: it is irrelevant because it violates privacy of the individual employee as an individual. Race questions would implicate a similar privacy problem. Ditto for asking for real names.

    I do not believe that coerced disclosure of what country you are in upsets any reasonable privacy concerns of the individual. As far as the corporation, I don’t think they have very many legitimate privacy concerns (eg, trade secrets) at all, and the location of their call centre certainly isn’t one of them.

  49. On the one hand, in America, we export any jobs Americans can and are willing to do, to the lowest bidder (e.g. call-centers) in order to increase earnings.

    On the other hand, for the jobs Americans don’t want to do (e.g. fruit picking, restroom cleaning, child rearing), we import illegals.

    What we have here is a candle burning at both ends.

    Perhaps if we didn’t punish capital investment, the demand for labor would be greater than the supply of labor, and so jobs wouldn’t be an issue.

    People want the government to do everything to discourage the creation of new jobs, and do everything to create an incentive for companies to move overseas… then they are suprised when it happens.

  50. Jennifer,

    I agree with you about the prison workers. If some guy in India can get a decent job good for him, but using slave prison labor is a problem.

  51. I also seem to recall that there have been actual fraud and stalking problems with using prisoners on the telephones. This would have been back in the early 90s I think, so hard to recall.

  52. The laws concerning privacy are much more strict in the US than they are in India.

    I’m confident this is spelled out in the contract between the US Corporation and the offshore center. Dell has a hell of a lot to lose if their call centers compromise the information they gather.

  53. I also seem to recall that there have been actual fraud and stalking problems with using prisoners on the telephones. This would have been back in the early 90s I think, so hard to recall.

    Actually, I think it would have been the late 90s–I watched no TV in the early 90s because I was too cheap to spring for cable and my ancient TV got almost no reception, but I remember watching a TV expose about some slimeball rapist talking about how he started stalking a woman after he talked to her over the phone while he was a prisoner and she placed a catalog order. Since I watched it on my home TV, it couldn’t have been earlier than around 1998 or ’99.

    So to hell with making people say whether or not they are in a given country–just make them say whether or not they are serving time for a felony conviction.

  54. Is there anything in there about correct answers or useful information?

  55. I do not believe that coerced disclosure of what country you are in upsets any reasonable privacy concerns of the individual.

    Nice of you to decide that for others.

  56. Me: I still don’t see why this is fundamentally different than feeling “icky” about dealing with a gay person.

    Dave: I stand behind the right of private individuals to refuse to deal with gay people.

    Me: Yeah? Good for you. Me too – if people want to be bigots that is should be their right however ignorant I may find it. Of course that has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand.

    Dave: If you go back through the thread, you will notice that I wasn’t the first person to mention gays here. or the second. or the third. eventually I decided to respond and now I get to hear how irrelevant homosexuality is to this discussion. Where were you hiding when the storm broke?

    Jesus Dave… You get to hear about it because you didn’t respond to the issue being raised but instead through in the point about private bigotry. That is what I clearly said was irrelevant – the issue of an individual’s private bigotry, which we agree is his right. That was in response to your claim to support that private right which was nice but not relevant to the previous mention of gays on this thread. Where were you hiding?? Those previous mentions were about the quite relevant comparison of a law forcing a business to cater to an individual’s private (even bigoted) concerns, whether anti-gay bigotry or a (to me misguided) concern for sweatshops.

    The point is that to some (however bigoted) people it might be important that they don’t deal with a gay person. You can’t simply say that’s a private matter in order to dodge the philosophical implications of forcing companies to satisfy preferences you deem worthy but not others. But to play your game, if a person (quite reasonably) fears that being forced to disclose his location would unreasonably hurt his ability to keep his job and feed his family, who are you to say that is any less a privacy concern than being forced to disclose say your race?

    But this is a typical tactic of those who want their preferences forced on everyone through a law – assume your motives are just and reasonable and anyone else’s is unjust and unreasonable and therefore dismiss the objection that other people might want those unjust preferences legally sanctioned as well.

  57. Dave W. – So you’re essentially down to arguing for a Federal law to require the disclosure of information that isn’t a particularly good metric of anything directly related to the service provided, stokes xenophobic sentiments, and wastes the call center’s employees time because folks like you are afraid that you won’t be able to get an answer if you ask a question that call center employees typically don’t have any issues with answering, but it’s all ok because you’re not engaging in major violation of the employee’s privacy?

  58. On the one hand, in America, we export any jobs Americans can and are willing to do, to the lowest bidder (e.g. call-centers) in order to increase earnings.

    …thereby freeing up Americans to do higher value jobs.

    On the other hand, for the jobs Americans don’t want to do (e.g. fruit picking, restroom cleaning, child rearing), we import illegals.

    …thereby freeing up Americans to do higher value jobs.

    What we have here is a candle burning at both ends.

    What you have is a lack of understanding of comparative advantage.

  59. that isn’t a particularly good metric of anything directly related to the service provided

    The market will tell us whether it is a good metric or not. If the people who pay a premium for insisting on doing business with local call centers thrive, then we determine that that prejudice is economically rational despite how morally horrid it might look to your more PC types. On the other hand, if the “racist” customers are systematically wasting their resources paying for this preference to no offsetting gain in productivity (which is what I gather you would predict), then the antiracists will thrive and displace the racists with their relative economic success.

    The free market is the way to decide this question. Soon the market will actually begin pricing segmentation to offer a choice of their call centre local from amongst numerous choices. “Okay, now that’ll be an extra $20 if you want Reyjavik.” that sort of thing. This way we can determine which city has the most effective call centres. Customers will clamor for the box with the “Reyjavik Call center Servicing” sticker. Good for Reyjavik. Good for the world!

    We deserve the opinion of the oracle of the free market on these important questions of practical, applied economics. only consumer information can put this tiger in our tank on our high octane spiral to heights of material well being. I want to live a world where everybody has a lighbulb.

  60. I want to live a world where everybody has a lighbulb.

    I’d rather live in a world where you occasionally make sense, Dave.

  61. …thereby freeing up Americans to do higher value jobs.

    So you’re saying the supply of higher value jobs in America is infinite?

  62. I want to live a world where everybody has a lighbulb.

    . . . where you occasionally make sense . . .

    “In” Okay, sorry it was missing the word “in.” Supposed to be:

    live in a world where . . .

    It was just a typo.

  63. JMJ:

    actually, on this one, I’m more with you guys.

    I dunno about the rest of you, but I’m rethinking my opposition to this law.

  64. Dave W,

    The dynamic you describe already has every chance to work. Companies already have the choice to advertise that they use American service reps only, and if they’re lying, it will most likely come out, in one way or another. In fact, many of us here would likely even back such a concrete statement of fact being susceptible to fraud charges (witness that no one has taken issue with Mex You Can’t’s post that we should simply criminalize lying to someone’s question about the issue). FORCING workers to divulge their location is hardly necessary to allow the free market to decide the relative merits of where to locate service reps.

  65. Guess what Dave-o – the evaluation of overseas outsourcing as an effective cost-cutting measure for call centers by the market has ALREADY BEEN HAPPENING AND CONTINUES TO HAPPEN. Companies have watched what other companies – if there was sufficent consumer demand for high levels of English fluency/extra privacy protection to maintain a multi-tiered system, it would have been introduced. If it make economic sense, then companies would ask customers if they wanted to pay extra, since it is another opporunity to sell a service. What you’re asking for is special pleading for your particular hangup – the subtext of a required warning is that it is something the consumer should be concerned about. It’s not necessary to achieve the free market outcome and is arguably contrary to it.

  66. So you’re saying the supply of higher value jobs in America is infinite?

    I’m saying the supply of higher value jobs in America is greater than the number of jobs that can be taken by either exported production or imported labor. Not only does the “displaced” worker get freed up to do something the “displacing” worker couldn’t do more cheaply, but the wealth added to the economy by the “displacement” provides new resources that can be directed to new higher valued areas.

    Thirty years ago everybody was worried that machines were taking all our jobs. Today that sentiment would be considered ridiculous. Exporting production and importing labor increase wealth and opportunity in exactly the same way.

  67. . . . dynamic you describe already has every chance to work . . .

    I don’t know. The way I look at it, there really are customers who care about the call center location issue, for reasons fair and foul. Yet somehow this strong preference never gets used on the supply side as a product feature, as a way to get a leg up on the competition, or to charge a premium. I have little problem tipping the balance of power at the margins a bit where the supply side is acting so slack in adopting to express customer preferences.

  68. The way I look at it

    But that’s just the way YOU look at it. The TRULY free market (or at least freerer than if YOU had YOUR way) has spoken. It doesn’t need your help, thank you. But…

    I have little problem tipping the balance of power

    At least you’re being honest here instead of feeding us the bull that your favored forms of coercion are somehow more conistent with the free market than laissez-faire libertarianism.

  69. I think a legal mandate like this is sheer stupidity, but, due to recent and painful experience, figuring out that the company you deal with has outsourced their call support makes you realize that said company does not give a damn about its customers. First, when the guy with the thick Indian accent identifies himself as “Gary”, there’s the sick feeling that you are being lied to, and poorly at that. Then having to repeat your question, two or more times because the person on the other end does not quite get American English. If someone whose basic job description is communicating with the customers and they have difficulty understanding what the customers are saying and making themselves understood, then the company has failed to hire a competent employee, no matter how knowledgable that person is. Furthermore, from what I have experienced, technical competency is also at issue, particularly when it comes to deviating from their script. I suppose companieshave seen significant cost savings in doing this, but the quality of customer service has suffered, greatly.

    I suppose accusing frustrated American consumers of xenophobia enables globalization groupies to ignore the bad effects of some of these pratices and still sleep the sleep of the just.

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