Is Oversea's Outsourcing Another Form Of Slavery

49 replies
The other day I wrote a blog post about this
topic from a guy who said that me paying $4/hour
to Filipino workers was like slavery.

What's your opinion... Is it a solid business practice
or is it whats causing all the economy problems?
#form #outsourcing #oversea #slavery
  • Profile picture of the author MikeAmbrosio
    Originally Posted by JustinBrooke View Post

    The other day I wrote a blog post about this
    topic from a guy who said that me paying $4/hour
    to Filipino workers was like slavery.

    What's your opinion... Is it a solid business practice
    or is it whats causing all the economy problems?
    Justin,

    You're asking 2 different things here

    There are jobs/places right here in the US that pay $4 an hour still. Is it slavery? By definition of the word, I don't think so. In the outsourcing I have done, no matter where the person is, we discuss and set the price. If it's $4.00 an hour, it's agreed upon before work starts, and in many places it's a living wage.

    Is it causing all the economy problems? Well, I'm not an economist, but from everything I hear it's the damn lending industry, the unions, greed, and the government...

    Oh, and my wife. She won't give me any money to spend so I can help stimulate this economy!

    Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author jjpmarketing
      Justin,

      I believe I saw a similar post about this a while back. Could it have been yours? :p

      But in either case, before I read the post I still had the "I used to work in IT" mentality and loathed anything to do with outsourcing. It has been the death of a lot of IT jobs and the death of a lot of manufacturing jobs in the USA as well.

      But this is my new mentality of it. As long as you are paying them competitive rates for their local market, then it isn't slavery. Because essentially this is just bartering. Native Americans traded goods... and there is no difference in trading 2 services than trading a service for cold hard cash.

      As long as the trade is fair and isn't like paying them poverty wages based on the standards of living in their area, then I say it is not slavery.

      Now back to the issue with the economy. The economy is business and trade. You either adapt or get left behind. The days of the USA dominating marketplaces and dictating prices for whatever goods they may be selling are over. We are now full swing into a global economy.

      It is more or less every man or woman for themselves. Put the shoe on the other foot though. You may be paying them a certain wage... but there are also other foreigners that are paying US residents cash. So it isn't really affecting the economy.

      The USA is quickly learning that they better adapt to the global marketplace that exists now or the economy here locally could crumble in a matter of decades.

      But when it comes down to it everyone is trying to get products and services produced for as cheap of a cost as they can. Now that other nations are being used for goods and services this is helping their economies grow... in a sense providing decent wages for people that 20 years ago may have never had the same opportunities to make that kind of money.

      Some countries are so economically poor that $5k a year is like a six figure income in the USA. So to me it is not slavery, and it is helping the global economy evolve into a more equal playing field for all nations.

      Dennis
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      • Profile picture of the author ShayB
        There is a huge difference: CHOICE

        People who freelance choose what amount of pay they will or won't accept.

        Slavery is a completely different issue.
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        • Profile picture of the author ShayB
          Okay, to answer the rest of the OP.

          I have clients in the US, India, the UK - you name it.

          I am not the most expensive or the least expensive writer.

          This is a global economy - and (IMHO) there is plenty of room for outsourcing to any country.

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  • Profile picture of the author charlesburke
    Justin, some folks are just gonna disapprove of anything you do if you're hiring somebody to do your work for you. Anything and everything constitutes exploitation in their eyes. This guy may be what NLP calls a "polarity responder"... or he may just have a screw loose.

    What this situation really is, however, is just arbitrage. Buying low and selling high.

    If the going wage in the Philippines is, say, $3 and you're offering $4, how is that taking advantage of anybody? By the standard of your critic, the Philippine companies who pay only $3 must be really big exploiters because they're paying even less than you are.

    This guy sounds like the type who'll buy foreign made sneakers and clothes (because he can't afford locally made products) and then wear them to a rally protesting exploitation of the workers who made them.

    Dang hypocrites. And dumb at business, too.

    Cheers from warm and smiling (and cheap) Thailand,
    Charles
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  • Profile picture of the author James Liberty
    I'm very grateful to hear that you are outsourcing to other countries. $4 an hour may not seem like a lot to you -- but to the workers over there it is a lot. By outsourcing, you are helping to raise the standard of living in an impoverished part of the world.

    Some American's do not like outsourcing because it could mean that we may no longer be able to drive our $30,000 cars any longer. I will guarantee you that these people have never traveled to a third world country to experience poverty first-hand. In short, the poor people in other countries are just trying to put food on their table... while the "poor people" in America carry cell phones. (In Malawi, Africa, the people eat termites).

    There is actually a great website called Kiva.org that will allow you to make loans to third-world nations to help increase their standard of living. By the same logic, we should not loan money to these nations either since it may hurt the U.S. standard of living. (Give me a break).

    Also, the other Warriors are right: The workers in these countries do not have to accept your offer of $4 an hour. They choose to do so because it improves their livelihoods.
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    • Profile picture of the author Traffic_Is_King
      It's all relative on who you ask. I hire Filipino's to help me with my business and $4/hr is a lot for them. Their standard of living is completely different from ours. Their currency is weaker than ours. Comparing their minimum wage workers to ours is like comparing apples and oranges. We are such an egocentric country. We compare everything in the world based on our standard of living and our economy. Not realizing these countries have their own standard of living, their own currency and a local economy independent of ours here in the U.S. There is no true comparison. Most Filipino's that freelance would love to work for anyone that would pay them that rate. Believe it or not they live VERY comfortably on that salary.

      On the outsourcing issue. I find overseas freelancers have a different work ethic than MOST workers here. Not much complaining, whining, grunting, pouting, etc. They do the tasks presented to them and they do it to the best of their capability. This is just my experience. Yours maybe different.

      I have experimented hiring local freelancers but I do not get the loyalty,trust, and work ethic that I normally find hiring overseas freelancers. Don't get me wrong. Not saying that freelancers locally here are not good at what they do, just a completely different work ethic is what I noticed. When you have a business to run and you have goals to meet, you need a team in place that will get the job done with little to no hassles . Especially if their getting paid what THEY asked for. Just my .02 cents
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      • Profile picture of the author ShayB
        Originally Posted by Traffic_Is_King View Post

        It's all relative on who you ask. I hire Filipino's to help me with my business and $4/hr is a lot for them. Their standard of living is completely different from ours.
        This is even true in different parts of the US.

        What I make as a ghostwriter per hour is more than anyone else in my family.

        In other places, it would not be enough to live on.

        But I live in an area that has a very low cost of living.
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        • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
          One of my useful outsource people costs me....$1.11 an hour

          Sure, I give bonuses to her on a weekly basis (my own choice) , but her agreed upon and requested rate was $1.11

          From talking to her, she is happy with the arangement and with the work she does for me, I am even happier
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        • Profile picture of the author Kay King
          a guy who said that me paying $4/hour
          to Filipino workers was like slavery.
          Where was he from? Why is what you pay any of his business? What is his agenda?

          I think it's a crazy comparison. You don't force people to work and you pay what people charge. Some people look for sensational things to complain about to get noticed and get a response - others project their entitlement attitudes on everyone else.

          This "guy" got what he wanted with his comment....attention.

          kay
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  • Profile picture of the author thatgirlJ
    I agree with Shay. There is choice involved, so it definitely cannot be compared to slavery in any form.

    Writers can stand up and get higher prices -- but those who charge lower prices are choosing to do so.
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  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    It's always good to reflect on how you treat your employees, and its good you are giving this some thought. Hopefully, you care about them and are providing some ways they can improve and earn even more in time.
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  • Profile picture of the author valerieSONORA
    Giving jobs to people who want them and voluntarily take them and may otherwise not have a source of income? No, that's not the definition of slavery.
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  • Profile picture of the author JustinBrooke
    Oh I totally agree that outsourcing is definitely not slavery
    I just wanted to see what the popular opinion was since
    someone had slung some rocks my way about it.

    Anyone who's interested in researching what the right wages
    are when paying your outsourcers should check out PayScale - Salary Comparison, Salary Survey, Wages
    that's how I looked up what a good wage would be for my VA's

    Good to see that the popular opinion is "outsourcing is not bad"
    now I wonder what happens if I go ask this in an IT forum? hahaha ;-)
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    • Profile picture of the author jjpmarketing
      @justin

      Oooh... you dirty rat... you killed my brothers... um... IT job.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randy Bheites
    I've actually been to the Phillipines, my sister-in-law's family is from Luzon. There's plenty of pinoys there that consider $4US/hr a darned fine wage. American dollars buy a LOT more on the islands than they do in the US.
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    • Profile picture of the author jjpmarketing
      Can you elaborate? What is that in terms of US pay? Is that like making $40k a year in the US?
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  • Profile picture of the author Solidsnake
    Banned
    Originally Posted by JustinBrooke View Post

    The other day I wrote a blog post about this
    topic from a guy who said that me paying $4/hour
    to Filipino workers was like slavery.

    What's your opinion... Is it a solid business practice
    or is it whats causing all the economy problems?
    I am not really sure what you want him to do but just in case you are not asking for a complicated software, her is my view..

    Don't believe on that idiot... I am a Filipino and $4/hours is more than what big companies here are paying... It's like 150 pesos per hour...better jobs here pays 500 to 600 pesos per day (8 hours)... $4/hour for 8 hours is around 1,200 pesos and no company here pays as big as that unless you are a Manager...

    That opportunist was just trying to rob you...
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    • Profile picture of the author J smith
      The person who wrote that to your blog is what you call a "clueless person." Simple as that. You paying someone who lives in US 4$/hour is slavery. Paying someone from Filipines 4$/hour is likely a dream job otherwise they wouldn't take it.

      Money has different value in different countires, what is considred borderline poverty in US (say 20k a year) is a dream salary in many countires that majority of people don't get even anywhere close to.

      Anyway, since you aren't rounding up Filipinos with a gun in your hand, and in fact if 4$ wasn't enough no one would bid/take your job, it's only logical to assume that to them, 4$/hour is pretty darn good.
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  • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
    Banned
    Are stupid threads like this just another form of ignorance?

    You paying someone who lives in US 4$/hour is slavery.
    Yeah, because real slaves get a paycheck at the end of the week, lol.

    You people crack me up. A government that tells you that you can't work for $4 an hour if you want to is a hell of a lot closer to practicing slavery than an employer that pays $4 an hour to an employee that would rather work for $4 an hour than have no job at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author elle56
    I think I've read a similar thread here in the forum. Anyway, going back to the OP's question, I don't think it's slavery at all. Did you force the person to work for you at that rate? I believe the answer is no.

    I echo what has been said here earlier. It's about choice.
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  • Profile picture of the author Andres
    Hi Justin - whoever said that to you is a moron. First off if that's what your writer agreed to that is a deal.

    I have a writer myself in the Philippines that I will be paying $7 per article. She is an experienced writer so I figure 1 hour of her time for $7 is great.

    I don't feel like doing the work so why not employ someone else.

    Works out great for both parties.

    Andres
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    • Profile picture of the author Solidsnake
      Banned
      Originally Posted by Andres View Post

      Hi Justin - whoever said that to you is a moron. First off if that's what your writer agreed to that is a deal.

      I have a writer myself in the Philippines that I will be paying $7 per article. She is an experienced writer so I figure 1 hour of her time for $7 is great.

      I don't feel like doing the work so why not employ someone else.

      Works out great for both parties.

      Andres
      Whoever your writer is very lucky..
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  • Profile picture of the author birdfood
    This is a definition of slavery "The state of one bound in servitude as the property of a slaveholder or household."

    So no it is not slavery.

    Whether it is ethical is a completely different question.
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      • Profile picture of the author reynald2790
        It is just a matter of choice. If the provider likes to be treated just like that then it is his/her choice. And if that person if very professional then he has the good quality to be hired more than $4per hour.
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    My first job out of highschool(I never went to college) was working as a computer programmer getting something like $4,5 hour. Was it slavery? Nah, actually it was enough to put me ahead of the Portuguese median salary at the time. Enough to buy me a car, pay for my internet connection and everything that allowed me to become much more successfull.

    My first adwords account was funded with those 4 bucks an hour. The rest is history...

    Tyrus
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    • Profile picture of the author my_addict_mind
      I outsource to a Filipina linkbuilder and I pay her $6 per hour and I am a Filipino. That linkbuilder earns about 8k-10k pesos ($200-250) weekly for her work. With that income, she can live comfortably in the Philippines.
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      • Profile picture of the author bgmacaw
        I guess I'll have to whip out the Ayn Rand again....

        "So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can't exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?"

        "In a capitalist society, all human relationships are voluntary. Men are free to cooperate or not, to deal with one another or not, as their own individual judgments, convictions and interests dictate."
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  • Profile picture of the author blogginvixen
    The fact that they're not forced to work for you debunks the whole slavery concept.

    Now if you're asking if it's "slave wages," well that all depends on their cost of living and what that individual requires to maintain his/her way of life.

    No one HAS to work for such low wages.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkWrites
    When one person freely offers and pays a wage that is voluntarily accepted by another person... it CANNOT be slavery.
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  • Profile picture of the author Gunter Eibl
    Slavery would be paying nothing. It's totally fine when both agree on a price that, in their country, is usually a great salary. It's not your fault that their economy works different. It's better they work for you at $4 per hour than working in a fabric in their town for $4 A DAY.

    Gunter
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    Banned
    Well, overseas providers could always charge reasonable prices instead of lowballing every single project. Are you forcing anyone to charge ridiculously low prices?
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  • Profile picture of the author Randy Bheites
    "slavery"? "charity"?

    When two parties voluntarily enter into a mutally agreeable arrangement it is called... wait for it...




    BUSINESS.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shellfish
    "The other day I wrote a blog post about this topic from a guy who said that me paying $4/hour"

    That must be a very good PHP programmer you hired. I try to shoot for $1.50 or less.

    Some of these posters crack me up. I think I met a few of them in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They were the ones insisting on paying $8 for a noodle dinner when the rest were paying 16 baht. About 40 cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author EmpoweredCreator
    It isn't slavery as you don't "own them" as a piece of property. If a freelancer doesn't like a price then they either renegotiate or find something better.

    One thing I do for my freelancers is I offer them bonuses if they complete the work in a timely manner or their work yeilds me better results than I origninally projected.

    This keeps the market place competitive and they stay thankful for working with someone so generous. The key is to not ever down play someone elses feelings. If they are worh keeping work with them on prices if not then find someone who is worth keeping.
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  • Profile picture of the author J. Barry Mandel
    My VA is from the Philipines.

    Just this week I found out that he bought his first house.

    He said to me in a Gmail chat 2 days ago that it was "Thanks to you (I was able to buy this house)"

    That sure doesn't sounds like slavery to me.
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  • Profile picture of the author kess
    Reletively speacking, even $4/ hour is a lot of money for someone working in a developing country. If a woker does 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, that works out to be $640 a month. This is not bad money by any stretch of the imagination and is at least 3 times above the average wage for some countries, I wouldnt say thats too bad at all. The way i look it, you would rather they have a job and earn to build a life then not have anything at all...
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  • Profile picture of the author RecurringRevenue
    Slavery?

    Ha!

    And anyone who thinks that's "what's causing all the economy problems" is way off base there too.

    Our current economic problems are related to greed.

    Greedy bankers/brokers who wanted to make money easy.

    Greedy buyers who wanted stuff they had NO BUSINESS buying given their economic position.

    A few years ago I was making $24K a year here in the U.S. But because I had good credit I was able to buy a house for $294K. Fortunately, my income has increased by some 42X, but how many can say that? Many are going in the opposite direction.

    At the time it was stupid of me to buy the house. It was stupid for the lending company to give me the loan. It was stupid for the realtor to show me the house.

    OK... maybe greed isn't the problem - maybe it's simply stupidity.

    Just like someone saying $4/hr is slavery. That's stupid too. :-)

    Mark Robbins
    Recurring Revenue
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    • Profile picture of the author JaySabree
      this has been an entertaining thread... The bottom line is you're always
      going to run across a few disgruntle people that are sensitive to every possible issue out there... If the parties involved have agreed on the wage then no harm done...
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      • Profile picture of the author Hyaku_Man
        It's not slavery to outsource some work to somebody who already has a computer. Let's say you were a mammoth corporation that set up a huge factory in the countryside in Philipines and persuaded the local villagers to give up their subsistence way of life (which doesn't make them any money but can be pretty comfortable) in exchange for working in a shoe factory for $4 a day, working 15 hour days. Then at the first sign of economic trouble you shut down your factory and leave the villagers with no job and a destroyed subsistence lifestyle. That would be something much more akin to slavery, because they've given up everything to rely on you, at your insistence. Paying somebody the going rate to sit at a computer and do some freelance work for you is not slavery at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author p2y
    I think that's a pretty wreckless statement for somebody to make, first of all the person being hired has their own free will and aren't forced into anything. I'm guessing some people feel it's "unfair" to pay $4 an hour but what they need to keep in mind is the exchange rates, $4 an hour isn't very much here but in some countries $4 an hour is what your average university graduate would earn and have a comfortable living.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gabe77
      Originally Posted by p2y View Post

      I think that's a pretty wreckless statement for somebody to make, first of all the person being hired has their own free will and aren't forced into anything. I'm guessing some people feel it's "unfair" to pay $4 an hour but what they need to keep in mind is the exchange rates, $4 an hour isn't very much here but in some countries $4 an hour is what your average university graduate would earn and have a comfortable living.
      In the US, $4 an hour is unacceptable but in other countries this is already a huge amount for them, even above minimum wage. It all depends on the standard of living of the person and obviously the exchange rate. We cannot arrive at a misinformed conclusion that just because the person agreed to a rate which is undoubtedly way beyond our imagination, well based on the POV of someone who lives in the US for example, that it is indeed slave wages.
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  • Slavery? Philippines? hell, I was paid $5 per hour when I was student delivering pizzas. I am sure those guys in their countries live much better than I did back then with those few bucks per hour!
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  • Profile picture of the author Charlie Parker
    ALL jobs are a form of slavery. So I'd yes, it is.

    But no more so than having a maid come to your house once a week.

    You're not the slave driver, money is.

    But without getting into a philosophical discusion. Your outsourced staff are usually getting paid in line with their countries average, at least its always a fee they are agreeable with. And they're happy to do it, you're also giving them the freedom to work from home, in their own time.

    But we are all slaves to money, philosophically speaking.

    And in capitalism, money comes before people. A sad truth.
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