Wednesday Numbers and Outsourcing

There were 327 new listings yesterday and 144 sales, for a sell/list of 44.04%. Inventory reached 8,919, while over 90s fell to 2,481 (27.81%).

Last year I read an article about outsourcing to India.  The idea rattled around for quite a while, but I eventually found myself persuing Craiglist ads in Mumbai  and Bangalore.  It was an enlightening expereince.  I made contact with three providers, one of which was a woman in South Carolina – she discovered that advertising on the Mumbai Craigslist paid off more than the SC C/L. 

 In any event, we’ve succesfully outsourced one of our minor, repetitive office tasks to an Indian firm. Everything was done over the internet.  The contact person, the quality of work and communication was outstanding.  The job cost $20.00. 

What I like is that my team can do more for less.  We never run out of work around here, and the paperwork load simply increases year after year.  If we can outsource to competent people my office staff can concentrate on jobs that exploit their talents and increase our production.  That means we can provide better service to our clients. 

I also like that reducing costs means I relieve pressure on my payroll.  When a business isn’t profitable every line item is a target, and that includes employees.  If I can do with an email and a spreadsheet what used to require a few of hours a month for my administrator, she can use the saved time to generate more business.  Her job becomes more secure, not less, because of outsourcing. 

I’m not exactly an early adaptor, however.  Outrsourcing to India has been happening for a while, and I’ve read that Indian business is already outsourcing. That concerns me.  How long will I be able to depend on my new business alliance?  I’ve used the same appliance repair people for 20 years. As the world becomes smaller, flatter and more wired, will I be able to say the same thing about my Indian business associates in 2027?  

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74 Comments

Filed under Daily Numbers, Investment Approach

74 responses to “Wednesday Numbers and Outsourcing

  1. Newcomer

    Part of flattening is commoditization of labor so, no, you outsourcer may not stay the same. I’ve run through a couple already. But you succeeded in making the task modular, so it won’t matter to you much if you have to change.

    Here’s something to think about: what is the impact of cross-border outsourcing on tax revenues from payrolls?

    Here’s another question. In a flat world, will move people move to, or move out of, Vancouver.

  2. Sidelines

    While both you and your employee may benefit from the outsourcing you’ve undertaken, many other workers don’t experience a similar outcome when it comes to outsourcing. For some, it simply means the loss of their job. One of the arguments presented in response to this is that such workers simply need to upgrade their skills or relocate. However, the speed at which that can be done is no match for quickness with which a company can implement outsourcing. And, of course, outsourcing doesn’t usually affect just one worker. Instead, whole communities are often impacted, aren’t they?.

    All this to say, good for you and your company – it’s sounds like a great deal. However, respectfully, you seem to simply trumpet how great outsourcing is, and the only thing you lament or are worried about is that you might not be able to always get some of that good, cheap labour in the future. Sure, it’s all about money – especially in a forum of discussion such as this one – but it all seems a bit selfish and myopic to me.

  3. chip

    The comment from Sidelines is ridiculous. It is not selfish and myopic to ensure that you have a profitable business, any more than it’s selfish to clip coupons for groceries or go to a Boxing Day sale at Future Shop.

    It’s rational behaviour, and more to the point, these efficiency gains boost productivity, which is the main driver of increased prosperity.

    The world is replete with examples that free and competitive economic behaviour improves the common good more than any other system, but I guess this a lesson that will always be lost on many people.

    Anyway, congrats on the sensible thinking, Rob. I will check it out myself.

  4. Snick

    Have you ever seen “The Corporation”?

    It is about how, basically a corporation is a “psychopathic entity”. Therefore, “outsourcing” as a way to maximize profits is ideal for such an organization because they don’t have a moral conxcience to steer away from it.

    Somewhat like you, come to think of it.

  5. coco

    Given the rising cost of wages in India is 12% to 18% and employees look for greener pastures after they gain some experience, it will be interesting if you will profit from this over the long term or not.

  6. coco

    Attrition rates climb as high as 35% in India, turnover can cost an additional 1 percent to 2 percent.

  7. coco

    Greenspan Says Global Recession Is `Inevitable’ After `Boom’

    http://tinyurl.com/ysxgu8

  8. Sidelines

    It may be normal human behaviour to look to maximize personal benefit, but I’m not sure that it’s a good argument in favour of it.

    As far as benefiting from increased prosperity, who is benefiting exactly? Maybe you can tell me what this means, ’cause I may be too dumb to figure it out:
    In 1989 the child poverty rate was 11.7 percent. Since that time, it appears the Canadian economy has grown by about 50%. And the child poverty rate? It hasn’t changed.

    The world is full of examples of the rich getting richer and the poor getting… well, maybe not always getting poorer, but they don’t really appear to be getting all that fat off the crumbs that are trickling down.

  9. Dmello

    First 23 days of January 2007:

    listings: 3186
    sales: 1300
    sell/list: 41%

    First 23 days of January 2008:

    listings: 3806 (up 19.5%)
    sales: 1457 (up 12%)
    sell/list: 38%

    So far it’s looking like 2008 is going to be a very busy year for real estate in Vancouver.

  10. coco

    Sooner or later affordability hits a wall.

  11. /dev/null

    When is the sales stat iterated for units sold as presale? When the contract is signed or after completion of the unit? (I guess I’m asking if the sales stat is linked to completions…)

  12. coco

    One should take a look at all those million dollar plus homes collecting dust in the Fraser Valley since June 2007.

  13. outsource them all

    Can we outsource realtors to India?

  14. J Bennett

    I would suggest a reading of John Ralston Saul’s “An Unconcious Civilization”. If the world boiled down to simple dollars and cents decisions… well it would be a much simpler world now would’t it? But instead we need to ask ourselves “What affect does this have on the place, the environment, the surroundings, within which I live?” and sometimes those answers may point out to us that we must forego the easy profit in exchange for the things we all say that we want but are not willing to bear the price of. If you want a true community without crime, without environmental degradation, with compassion, and understanding… a community where we pull together to make something better for all of us… well… perhaps you might think twice about the quick payoff. But then off course 80% of the individuals in our society are too ignorant, too shortsighted, too greedy for their immediate wants to even begin to dream of what is truly possible. And certainly the majority are not intelligent enough to see past the rhetoric of the powered elite, and to demand of a chosen leader “a better way”. After you read this, sit and think about how many dots you need to connect, to see a path between corporate globalism and the issues which you see arising around you in your own community which you read and hear about… and hate…

  15. blueskies

    rob:
    interesting point on outsourcing to India.
    but what are you getting done?
    spreadsheet entries from paper copy?
    i’m trying to picture what the process is.
    thnx

  16. Dmello

    /dev/null

    As far as i know pre-sales and new construction sales are not included in the stats if they don’t get listed on MLS. Is this correct Rob?

  17. Snick

    Ah…there’s Global TV News getting all jiggy about the “lack of affordability” for RE in the Vancouver market. Naturally, they trouped out the realtors, etc.

    Did anyone EVER mention the possibility of a correction? Nope.

    That would be silly!

  18. Rob, I hope you took the precautions to comply with privacy legislation.

  19. WoW

    2008#s still higher listings than sales than 2007 (listings less sales)

    Not a bullish signal, do the math.

  20. deb

    Outsourcing is a great idea until it happens to your job.

    It is always a double edged sword.

  21. WoW

    Read Atlas Shrugged, then you’ll get it. You can’t ‘mandate’ employment, you’d set us back 1,000 years. Want stable employment – make yourself indespensible, contantly improve your value to your employer/economy.

  22. Skeptic

    Oh the Irony

    Snick, you can’t even spell conscience and yet you are lecturing us about it

    🙂

    Rob, what a great idea, you’ve made some poor Indian family $20 better off.

  23. Domus

    What are the implications of outsourcing for location decisions? Are people more or less likely to live in urban areas? And will it net population positive or negative for a city like Vancouver?

  24. A Looser

    “Want stable employment – make yourself indespensible, contantly improve your value to your employer/economy.”

    Sure, but have you ever watched an older worker struggle to learn new technology. We will all reach the point where we can’t keep up with the change.

    Your words sounds wonderful, until you are 50-something, have your job outsourced, and suddenly find yourself competing with 20 and 30-somethings. Add in some health problems, and you’re roadkill on the information superhighway.

  25. Newcomer

    My mother is in her seventies. She does software consulting and teaches Internet technology to business people. Having to learn new technology in her fifties certainly didn’t slow her down. Adaptation is paramount in a fast changing world and age does not have to be a barrier to that.

  26. coco

    High dollar starts some local layoffs…

    Buckeye Technologies Inc. is reducing shifts and laying off 20-25 employees at its Canadian plant.

    Buckeye will reduce the number of shifts at the Delta, British Columbia facility from seven to five, the company said in a news release issued after markets closed Tuesday.

    The plant, which Buckeye acquired in 1997, produces airlaid nonwoven products like baby wipes and feminine care products. It employed 150 prior to the layoffs.

    A strong Canadian dollar and high transportation costs also hurt the company’s ability to meet the customer’s price requirements.

  27. blueskies

    Sure, but have you ever watched an older worker struggle to learn new technology. We will all reach the point where we can’t keep up with the change.

    Your words sounds wonderful, until you are 50-something, have your job outsourced, and suddenly find yourself competing with 20 and 30-somethings. Add in some health problems, and you’re roadkill on the information superhighway.

    so true! my exact scenario.
    Windows can make me look totally stupid to a GenX/Yer…

  28. WoW

    Newcomer – same with my mom – she’s retired now (early-mid 60s) but the last five yrs she was a computer software technician with her bank – lemme tell you, she was nervous as heck about it and took her a year or more to get really comfortable (and she never really became a natural at it – but when she started she thought the monitor WAS the computer – I laughed heartily when she told me – she thought that was quite insensitive) but anywas became good at it (and gainfully employed) and now she even fixes MY coputer problems (and makes me hot coaco to boot!!! So, I suggest, remove the word ‘can’t’ from your vocabulary. A fifty something is entirely capable of addapting….

  29. blueskies

    A fifty something is entirely capable of addapting….

    true…. i CAN learn
    it took me two years to master Photoshop 7 but i gave up on Illustrator and Flash graphics

    and anything with animation i just look on it with awe… how the #%$@# do they that and make it look so easy……>

  30. $fromA$iatoyourpocket

    Can I have some Crack please.

  31. blueskies

    $fromA$$

    http://tinyurl.com/3a94z7

    Cracked ice! they aren’t making it anymore!

  32. $fromA$iatoyourpocket

    Wishfull thinking B.S., the banks are lowering rates…. what will that bring to mortgage rates?

    Will anychanges to rates spur a further rise in the values of RE?

  33. DeeDub

    Windows can make me look totally stupid to a GenX/Yer…

    It’s not you – it’s Windows.

    Heck, a typical microwave has more compute power than Armstrong’s Lunar Lander, but that doesn’t stop too many people from mastering the fine art of popcorn popping. 🙂

  34. Vansanity

    First time poster, long time reader, what can I say, I’m shy…

    Rob, thanks for all the info over time, it’s appreciated. Also, the dialogue over this has been informative and humorous.

    Anyway, I felt compelled to post after hearing about Global’s story today about the local housing market expecting downturn. It’s not news to any of us, however, its a first for local mainstream media… maybe they’re finally starting to see the light. We can only hope this type of comment gets more and more attention to start getting into the psyche of the speculators.

    For those who can, tune into Global tonight or check out their website…Cheers!

  35. blueskies

    the banks are lowering rates…. what will that bring to mortgage rates?

    the prime rate may be down but mortgage rates may not follow… the banks are constrained by the rising costs of finding capital.

    these costs will be passed onto the consumer…

    google “pushing on a string”

    you can have free money but you have to the consumer willing to take on more debt… hard to do in a low confidence scenario

  36. blueskies

    but that doesn’t stop too many people from mastering the fine art of popcorn popping

    my first intro to microwaves was via a baked potato… absolutely surreal!

  37. chip

    “But then off course 80% of the individuals in our society are too ignorant, too shortsighted, too greedy for their immediate wants to even begin to dream of what is truly possible.”

    There’s a very simple solution. Move to a place where only 79% or less of society are this “ignorant.” There’s a great selection of non-capitalist societies. Pack your bags.

    But you won’t.

    Because whiny, pretend-intellectuals like yourself, Saul, Klein et al are all examples of people living in a state of extreme cognitive dissonance. You’re wealthier, healthier and living longer than .000001% of the human beings that have ever inhabited this planet — all thanks to the free market and restrictions on state power — but you’re nevertheless convinced that our society has never been poorer, crueler and less worthy of existence.

    It’s a wonder that you don’t spend your days walking in tight circles muttering the alphabet because this mental contradiction caused your brain to melt.

  38. sidelines

    Wow and Newcomer:

    Same with my mom! Started a third career in her mid-sixties. Go mom! She’s also white, middle class, with a university degree. In other words, privileged. The fact that the poor are barely, if at all, better off, while the average standard of living has increased in this country speaks to which class has benefited from globalization. (hint: it’s not the working class).

    As far as how happy an Indian, Bangladeshi or Thai family may be for its scraps, I’m not sure. Beats starving, I guess. But using the argument that they’re better off because they’re getting money out of the deal, although often said, is maybe a bit narrow, no? That line of reasoning can be, and is, used to justify the buying of labour from just about anyone, to do just about anything.

    Anyway, this is a bit of a ways off from Rob getting a small task done by someone overseas. No offense meant towards Rob here (pretty sure none taken). I’m thankful for his work on this blog. However, what got to me a bit in his text was the “happy, happy! joy, joy!” and “ain’t that neat” tone. It seemed, to me, to be a bit too micro a view for such a large, contentious issue.

  39. blueskies

    what got to me a bit in his text was the “happy, happy! joy, joy!” and “ain’t that neat” tone.

    there is nothing more irritating than a fat happy smug capitalist!

    with a “i told you so” attitude.

    these are people who feel morally superior to the underclass.

  40. ceejay

    Wait till we outsource all intellectual work. Was it on Red Dwarf where society, faced with having to evaculate the planet they runed, split into classes where each got their own spaceship…except the upper classes sent the working class (including cleaners and other “menials”) into the nearest sun…and had a good laugh until they all died of a telephone-borne virus due to poor cleaning on their ship. Anyway, once the outsourcing ends, we’ll be all what, sales and marketing?

  41. WoW

    Underclass – guess what? Our society is (by and large) a meritocracy – I’m living proof – once we shake off the shackes of whatever birth/cultural/family/financial issues we started with, as adults we can choose to sail high…or watch married with children re-runs (actually I still watch them! Brings me back to my early days).

    HEY – did anyone see the Texas ufo reports…I don’t doubt that “they’re out there” – heck they are probably here in vcr buying RE!:))

  42. jesse

    Sidelines: “many other workers don’t experience a similar outcome when it comes to outsourcing. For some, it simply means the loss of their job.”

    I don’t see the difference between outsourcing a job to an Indian/Kenyan/Chinese company and outsourcing a job to a computer. Both imply a “lost” job in the local market but we don’t ban computers. In that context outsourcing has been going on for decades.

  43. coco

    Bank of America forced to raise $6 billion after suffering 95 per cent dive in profits

    http://tinyurl.com/2cmj9j

  44. Cympl

    The only thing unique about this outsourcing is the fact technology allows it to happen over great distance – and into a different culture. I just outsourced some house painting to someone from Delta…and the company I work for in Vancouver provides outsourcing services to a US based software firm, although no one would ever call it ‘outsourcing’ due to stigmatization of the word.

    There is a long history of people performing work for other people in different geographic regions…and what’s the big deal if it now crosses our invisible borders (country and culture)?

  45. Slim

    I contract outsourcing companies at work, most of them in China. There are definite challenges with it, but it is appropriate for certain jobs.

    I certainly don’t feel threatened by it. We have local teams as well, and none of us are hurting for work to do. Outsourcing fills a gap and lets us get more content into our products.

  46. BBY

    ceejay:

    “…Was it on Red Dwarf where society, faced with having to evaculate the planet they runed, split into classes where each got their own spaceship…”

    No. It was Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Shame on you for attributing the work of Douglas Adams to a (somewhat) lesser universe. Now go re-read HHGTTG again, to catch up on your reading.

    Rob:

    Keep in mind that English skills are quite good in India (although a bit odd at times) due to something about having been a very strong colony of England. The English language skills often surprise those who don’t appreciate that colonial history. Another outsource country may not have as (generally) proficient English.

  47. craigy

    hey chip, don’t you think it is a bit of a stretch to attribute all of the improvements in the human condition to the free market and restrictions on state power? might there have been a few other variables?

    and while capitalism and individualism may have merits, does this preclude them from having drawbacks? can there be no civil discussion of the problems associated with unrestrained capitalism?

    while our society is not poorer or crueler than any in existence, it is still to cruel and too many remain too poor in my opinion.

    you accuse critics of capitalism of being muddle-headed but you come across as a shrill, self-centred bigot.

  48. BOBBYBEAR

    Gold quickly tests 850 on the down side during the stock market selloff earlier this week…..moves back towards its new high of 915 oz. Took 27 years to get back to 1980 level. Looks like a bear market in the DJII though?
    Any comments?

  49. Priced Out

    “Dmello
    January 24, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    First 23 days of January 2007:

    listings: 3186
    sales: 1300
    sell/list: 41%

    First 23 days of January 2008:

    listings: 3806 (up 19.5%)
    sales: 1457 (up 12%)
    sell/list: 38%

    So far it’s looking like 2008 is going to be a very busy year for real estate in Vancouver”

    Thanks for pulling that together. I’m just amazed that people are still buying at these prices. I’m no longer watching this so much with an eye to buy. No, I’m just watching this drama unfold. Oh, it WILL be dramatic. HEE HEE

  50. BOBBYBEAR

    30 year US bonds probably bottomed for the third and final time around 4.10 percent. Who in their right mind would buy a bond that yields 4.10 percent for 30 years.

  51. Whybuywhenucanrent

    A “crack!” for $ from A$ia —

    Rob Chipman is posting the numbers daily. He must have free time on his hands :^)

  52. Snick

    “Skeptic
    January 24, 2008 at 7:30 pm
    Oh the Irony

    Snick, you can’t even spell conscience and yet you are lecturing us about it

    Rob, what a great idea, you’ve made some poor Indian family $20 better off.” -Skeptic

    A mere typo, my good man. Perhaps someone in Delhi should take over.

    Can YOU spell “poop off”?

  53. sidelines

    WoW:

    Seems like your saying that most people having a hard time have only themselves to blame. I think its worthwhile to consider the advantages that are bestowed upon us simply by birth, the kind of things that can help us thrive in society: your generation (when you where born), a supportive family structure (emotionally, financially, etc.), decent schooling, and so on. When one considers this, the concept of tying achievement to some self-realized “merit” that doesn’t acknowledge external factors doesn’t really come close to providing a true, clear picture of why some of us “succeed” while others continue to struggle.

    Cympl:

    “Outsourcing” to someone in the same labour market is a bit different than having the job(s) skip over an ocean. As mentioned previously, money can move swiftly and quickly to different jurisdictions to take advantage of opportunities, people, generally, can’t.

  54. ceejay

    BBY: thanks for the correction. I’ve been outsourcing my reading.

  55. alex

    Vancouver housing takes biggest chunk ever out of incomes
    By Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun
    Published: Thursday, January 24, 2008
    http://tinyurl.com/2acmpc

    VANCOUVER – After years of real-estate price increases rising faster than incomes in Metro Vancouver, housing in the third quarter of 2007 became the most unaffordable on RBC Financial’s measure of affordability since 1985 when the bank first started keeping track.
    Unaffordability “hit all-time highs in the Vancouver market and the broader British Columbia market,” RBC Financial economist Amy Goldbloom said in an interview.

    “We do think [unaffordability] last year reached a peak,” Goldbloom added.

    The print edition has an additional headline of “onerous ownership expected to ease”

    He doesn’t say whether that is to happen via higher incomes, lower prices, 100 year mortgages or alien intervention. I find only one of those possibilities plausible.
    BTW, I coined a phrase,”bullisht commentary”, for those mindlessly upbeat fluffy opinion pieces. Lame or brilliant?

  56. coco

    Mortgage crisis spills over into credit cards
    Even American Express has a sudden and broad-based rise in delinquencies

    http://tinyurl.com/34bkjq

  57. coco

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is proving powerless to prevent a deteriorating commercial real estate market

    http://tinyurl.com/3ceaue

  58. coco

    Corporate Default Risk Rises as Fed Rate Cut Signals Recession

    http://tinyurl.com/2kyc79

  59. coco

    Can Canada Escape a Recession?

    http://tinyurl.com/32cyv2

  60. Newcomer

    ”bullisht” Brilliant.

  61. Newcomer

    “Corporate Default Risk Rises as Fed Rate Cut Signals Recession”

    Yes, but I have to say that my US bank manager called me up yesterday to ask if my company would like to increase its line of unsecured credit to three times its current ample size. So what you read in the papers is not necessarily what you see on the ground.

    I declined, by the way.

  62. Many Franks

    I think someone needs to coin an equivalent to Godwin’s Law for Ayn Rand so that I can invoke it here.

  63. coco

    Newcomer,

    Your business is in Canada and your credit rating is good?

  64. canyongal

    Rob, can you give us any pricing data — how many over/under list and where? I noticed this seems to have dropped out of the weekly reports. Thanks!

  65. The Original Joshua

    “Rob, can you give us any pricing data — how many over/under list and where? I noticed this seems to have dropped out of the weekly reports.”

    Perhaps he could outsource it?

    🙂

  66. robchipman

    Sidelines:

    “you seem to simply trumpet how great outsourcing is, and the only thing you lament or are worried about is that you might not be able to always get some of that good, cheap labour in the future. ”

    Really, I’m afraid that I’ll lose a good business relationship, not cheap labour. Remember, same appliance guys for 20 years. Are they the cheapest? Probably not. Do I think they’re the best, and do we have a great relationship? Yes. Which do I value more: cheap work or quality work at a price that works? The answer is obvious.

    I hear what you’re saying about outsourcing, but we are under a common constraint. A company that doesn’t make money doesn’t remain a company for very long. There’s no appealing that verdict. On the other hand, when work shifts from point A to point B, and workers at point A are displaced, but workers at point B are employed, aren’t we really saying “I’d prefer to employ workers at Point A even if workers at Point B don’t get employment, and even if its an inefficient use of resources?” (Just asking the question, and playing a little Devil’s advocate).

    Whose benefitting from increased prosperity? The guy who makes the sale, same as always. Sounds cruel, I know, but are you willing to pay me more if I agree to hire more local staff to do work for you on an inefficient basis? Wait, sounds like maybe you’re benefitting as well.

    “As far as how happy an Indian, Bangladeshi or Thai family may be for its scraps, I’m not sure. Beats starving, I guess. ” O.K., let’s get something clear: I am all happy happy, joy joy. The Indian family isn’t starving. They’re enjoying a good standard of living because they’re adding value and living in a low cast place. That spells competitive advantage. If they were starving we wouldn’t be in the midst of a commodity boom. There are pros and cons to that, of course (do we really want a bunch of Indians bying Tata Nanos? What will St. Al say about that?) Mind you, travel a bit, find a brown guy who’s smarter than you but who has a much tougher row to hoe based simply on ethnicity and geographic location, and then argue that nobody benefits from the outsourcing.

    FWIW, I think you make some very good points. Its advantageous to be white, male, educated and in good health, and I think anyone who denies that is foolish. But I also think that technology is blurring those disctintions/advantages.

    I get why you’d oppose employing someone outside the Lower Mainland, but abide with employing someone outside your municipality. We could solve it by telling India how to run their country, and then making them pay a level of tax that made costs here and there the same. That would work, right? I mean, why legislate me when you can legislate them? 🙂 (Just kidding!)

    Snick:

    A corporation’s goal is to maximize profit. Not find the cheapest wages, not sell at the highest price, not cut medical benefits or investment in productivity. The goal is to maximize profit. That’s neither good nor bad. The “failings” occur when the humans involved make a) bad and stupid choices or b) make choices that others feel are unacceptable for some reason.

    What impresses me about the book and movie is that someone can make such a profit by muddying the waters so much, and emerge not only as a hero, but a profitable hero.

    Coco:

    You wrote “Given the rising cost of wages in India is 12% to 18% and employees look for greener pastures after they gain some experience, it will be interesting if you will profit from this over the long term or not”.

    And that’s a great point (and one I alluded to already); do a C/L search on outsourcing. You’ll find that India competes with locations from South Carolina to South America. Its going to change. India is apparently outsourcing already. Its like a real time fast forward. When I was growing up we imagined India to be an impoverished, starving place that needed our aid. That’s changed. What’s more, when outsourcing started, we thought India would do it for a long time because a) they’re smart and b) they work cheap; the time frame to change from smart and cheap to smart and not so cheap has been compressed at an impressive rate.

    J Bennett:

    You don’t need JRS to tell you that. All you need to do is look at the problems in the world and connect that to signing a few paycheques. The question becomes pretty simple: how much do we really want something, and how do we plan to pay for it? Its a banal question, perhaps, but its where the rubber hits the road.

    Blueskies/yeck:

    The work is data entry. Data that can’t be easily merged and has to be re-typed. Complying with privacy is a challenge, but I think we’re doing it. Its interesting that privacy comes up as an issue here, but when I cite compliance with privacy legislation as a reason for different levels of access to MLS I run into a lot of unbelievers (almost as interesting as Corrections Canada going after a prison guard for reporting coke residue on the clothes of an infant visiting a BC prison – apparently that’s a violation of the prisoner’s privacy rights! :-)! )

    Domus:

    I thought -A- would present us with a great conspiracy theory involving Bill Good lobbing softballs to Bob Rennie so that Bill’s pre-sales could go through the roof. Imagine my surprise the following day when he had guests on that predicted the collapse of cities! You’ve got a point – if someone somewhere else can do the job you do here, why do we need you here? Maybe we can go back to a small, easily traversed town on the shores of English Bay (can you imagine what that would be like?)

    craigy:

    “hey chip, don’t you think it is a bit of a stretch to attribute all of the improvements in the human condition to the free market and restrictions on state power?”

    Yow! I had to re-read my post. I hadn’t thought I’d said that. And indeed, I didn’t!

    Do you still need me to refute you? 🙂 I’ll go this far: capitalism, individual freedom, the least government necessary, all good. Perhaps not the be all and end all, but, on balance, all good. Any warts? You bet. Maybe we should get together. We could probably fix the world…provided we could find the parts.

    I don’t accuse opponents of anything of being muddle-headed. I do accuse muddle headed people of being muddle headed. There’s a difference. Poverty has been a challenge for a few years now, last I looked. Make a list of what’s worked to alleviate it and what hasn’t worked. Look at the side-effects and unintended consequences of the solutions. Do the same for the non-solutions that were implemented. And then explain to me how repeating “Yeah, I know, but my heart’s bigger than yours and my tears are more sincere” puts food in anyone’s belly. (No, I don’t have the big answers. Even if we found the parts I’m not really sure I could fix this thing).

    WBWYCR:

    “Rob Chipman is posting the numbers daily. He must have free time on his hands :^)”

    That’s crack?

    Not true! I just outsourced my coffee break!

  67. BOBBYBEAR

    Many countries around the world had incredible booms in their stock markets from 2003 onwards.
    Too many had booms of 500 to 700 percent including England which is very curious.

    Is England an emerging economy or an old one propped up by the credit bubble? One guy from England mentioned awhile ago that for a country that manufactures almost nothing we sure are doing well.

    These booms are just as spectacular as the boom that led up to 1929.

    As a matter of fact the Dow 30 was below 1000 during 1982 which means it has climbed 1400+ percent as a few months ago.

    But who knows for sure. 🙂

  68. domus

    From Calculated Risk

    “More on Homeowners Walking Away

    Yesterday Peter Viles at the LA Times brought us a story of a homeowner planning to use “jingle mail”: A tipping point? “Foreclose me … I’ll save money”

    A commenter on L.A. Land this morning writes, “I am one of these people. My condo has dropped in value from $520K in 5/06 when I bought it to $350K now. My ARM payment will probably go up $900 per month in June.

    “I have purchased a cheaper place in a nearby area now, while my credit is good, and will stop making payments on house #1 after house #2 closes. I know the foreclosure will be on my credit for 7 years, but I will have saved a lot of money.

    Today Viles has a poll: Is walking away irresponsible? Or smart?

    There are other issues to consider than just a wrecked credit rating. There are possible tax consequences. And it is possible, depending on whether the loan is recourse or non-recourse – and the frame of mind of the lender – for the lender to seek a deficiency judgment against the homeowner. Also it appears the homeowner has not properly disclosed the planned foreclosure on his current home with his new lender.

    I’m not a lawyer or a tax advisor, and there may be other issues too. Hopefully the homeowner mentioned above has obtained tax and legal advice.”

  69. coco

    In addition to Bloomberg…..Standard & Poors, Merrill, Moody’s, JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs have all predicted corporate defaults will rise as investment grade credit ratings for various companies are downgraded.

    Jones Apparel Group, the Bristol, Pennsylvania-based maker of Nine West shoes, mortgage lender Residential Capital LLC and 31 other companies with a combined $52 billion of debt were downgraded to junk by Moody’s.

    Downgrades are accelerating across America. Moody’s reduced ratings on 389 corporate issues, compared with 150 upgrades, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The gap was the biggest since the first quarter of 2003.

    Companies that lost their investment-grade rankings, known as fallen angels, included Massachusetts-based Boston Scientific, the second-largest maker of heart devices, Belo Corp., the Dallas-based owner of the Dallas Morning News and 20 television stations, and Nuveen Investments of Chicago, which manages closed-end mutual funds.

    The last time so many companies were cut to junk was after WorldCom and Adelphia Communications filed for bankruptcy in 2002.

  70. Sidelines

    Rob:

    “Whose benefitting from increased prosperity? The guy who makes the sale, same as always. Sounds cruel, I know, but are you willing to pay me more if I agree to hire more local staff to do work for you on an inefficient basis? Wait, sounds like maybe you’re benefitting as well. ”

    Buyers of a product/service will benefit, sure. And it’s clear that the buyer of labour, and the worker able and willing to sell his/her labour more cheaply than the next, will, albeit unevenly perhaps, benefit. Pulling back a little, though, where does that road ultimately take us? As far as legislating is concerned, really, maybe what should be considered is a “global” government body to regulate/legislate and tax multinational corporations in order to, among other things, redistribute some of that nice corporate profit (insert ominous music here)!

    Anyway, off to read your new entry giving us yesterday’s numbers. This likely marks the end of the left-wing noise from me. Sigh. No tears, please.

  71. J Bennett

    Chip: I suggest that you re-read my original post… please try taking the “right wing reading glasses off” when you do so.

    Capitalism – I do not believe that I once mentioned anything wrong with Capitalism per se. I believe that I specifically mentioned the institutions we have created called corporations, not Capitalism. They are not the same thing. In addition I did not say that we were poorer than we have been in the past. I do believe that we are a crueler society, and I would base this on the fact that there are decisions now being made by entities (corporations) which do not take into account the entire costs of their decisions. Their decisions are based solely upon the profit motivation, whereby a decision made by someone living in the community may include a greater number of factors (long term vision of where they want to live, an element of “care” about the environment immediately around them, etc). Sometimes people do kind things because they realize that in the end it actually benefits them and reduces their “total cost” (for example, if I lay off someone to save a few bucks, but that person then becomes a thief (out of necessity) and breaks into my home (increasing my insurance)… all I have done is move the costs around and caused a lot of problems in the interim). (ok… for that last example I am expecting that you will get the gist of where I am going and use your brain to fill in the overly simplified example I have given here).

    Moving away – it is sad to see that your response was basically “you do not think the same as me so leave where I am”. You and your ideas have no more right to this chunk of land than me and my ideas. Perhaps you should leave? Or perhaps, better yet, you should listen to others ideas, review the facts, comment constuctively, and perhaps together we can find a way to solve all of our issues. As a side note… I don’t think “moving away” works any more anyways. One of the beauties of globalism is that EVERYWHERE you go you will find the same stupidity, greed, etc that you will find here.

    Pretend Intellectual – Again perhaps you have read what you wanted to into what I had written. I would not even begin to state that I am an intellectual. Do I give thought to the issues that surround us… yes I do. Do I believe that there is a better way of doing things that can make our society stronger… yes I do. Do I believe that I hold some kind of super idea that can save everyone… nope… usually I am too self centred on my own enjoyment of my life to bother to even pick up a pen to write my MP if there is something that really pisses me off. I would much rather be spending my time off enjoying things, having fun, going to a bbq, etc… so I would include myself in the 80% of people that are doing nothing to solve the problem. Just because I can see the problem does not mean that I am actively going to work to solve it… I mean after all… who has time for that 🙂

    It may actually be one of the root issues actually. “They” get paid to brainwash, destroy the environment, treat communities like disposable items. “We” do not get paid to inform, protect the environment, build strong communities. Interestingly, “they” and “we” are actually the same people…. lol

  72. robchipman

    Sidelines:

    “maybe what should be considered is a “global” government body to regulate/legislate and tax multinational corporations in order to, among other things, redistribute some of that nice corporate profit (insert ominous music here)!”

    Are you saying we need a United Federation of Planets? I’m in!

    J Bennett:

    Are you responding to me? If I’m “chip” then I don’t think you’re reading me quite correctly. But yours is an intriguing post.

    Small point of fact: not only did you not criticise capitalism, you didn’t even mention corporations (unlerss you’re posting under more than on name – you certainly didn’t mention corporations or capitalism in the J Bennett post).

    Also, I didn’t tell you leave anywhere or call you a pretend intellectual.

    All I said was that we don’t need JRS to tell us that a series of bad, short sighted decisions leads to a bleak destination. That’s not a revelation.

    Once we realize that some decisions lead to better places than others we have to find a way to implement those decisions. And that takes money. I don’t need right wing reading glasses to come to that conclusion. Unless left wingers feel that the laws of math don’t apply anymore I don’t think this is a left/right issue.

    We know that the cost of something often exceeds the price that’s charged for it. We also know that money, and profit, are the deciding factor. That’s why more prosperous countries take better care of their environments; the people who live there will shoulder more (not all, but more) of the real cost.

    Now, you’re claiming that the world is a crueler place because of entities called corporations that are based soley on the profit motivation, yet you admit that you’re too self centered to do anything about the problem. Am I to assume you drive a gas guzzler and eat factory farmed hormone injected beef while you call everyone else stupid? Or are you switching to geothermal heat at great personal cost in order to reduce your carbon footprint? Both products are sold by evil corporations motivated by profit. Why would you lay the blame at their door for the choices that you make? And if you make a wise choice, and they help you implement it (for a profit) are they still bad?

    Sometimes you’re only a victim if you want to be one. We have a great deal of information and power at our fingertips. If you think all corporations are bad, stop buying from them. If you think some are bad, buy from the ones you think are good. Don’t buy farmed salmon. Don’t buy from China. Don’t eat meat, or buy shoes or clothes made in a sweatshop. Don’t buy real estate services from a guy who does business with Indians. Its a free world still, right? But don’t confuse self-centered laziness with being controlled or brainwashed. We’re not living in the Matrix quite yet.

    The Original Joshua:

    The original intent of the outsourcing quest was more intense sales data collection – I suspect its coming.

  73. robchipman

    Sidelines:

    You wrote “And it’s clear that the buyer of labour, and the worker able and willing to sell his/her labour more cheaply than the next, will, albeit unevenly perhaps, benefit.”

    I think the idea of cheaper labour is better labour is a unreliable assumption. I could outsource to Mexico, or perhaps Bangladesh cheaper. But do they speak English as well? Can I communicate with the point person as easily? This guy in India isn’t that cheap on a time basis, but he solves problems quickly and he solves them right, first time. Is the benefit uneven? I’m not sure. He could probably do the same job right here, but I suspect that his cost of living and quality of life are higher in India. (Wait, did you mean I was getting the short end of the uneven benefit stick?)

    Also, who says I’m spending less money? I’m spending more. I’m still paying the same wage bill here – that person is just doing other things that are more productive (and she’s happier, too). I’m adding the cost of outsourcing to the total bill. I spend more, but produce more.

    Speaking of cheap labour, are China and India the cheapest places? What about Burkina Faso? Bangladesh? Burundi? Maximizing profit is not the same as achieving lowest cost.

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