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A View from Henry Jenkins

Is India Winning the Digital Revolution?

India now represents the second fastest growing economy in the world.

  • January 29, 2004

India now represents the second-fastest-growing economy in the world. Economists project that within 4 years, IT outsourcing in India will become a $57 billion a year industry, representing 7 percent of India’s GNP and employing 4 million people. Programming jobs are migrating from the United States, where the average salary is $70k to India where the average salary is $8k. These jobs are unlikely to return.

Wired magazine takes us behind the scenes – in India and the United States – as companies and government officials respond to this shift in programming jobs.

In a sidebar, Chris Anderson tells Americans to get used to this outsourcing, since there’s very little we can do about it:

“Worried about India’s practically infinite pool of smart, educated, English-speaking people eager to work for the equivalent of your latte budget? Get used to it. Today’s Indian call centers, programming shops, and help desks are just the beginning. Tomorrow it will be financial analysis, research, design, graphics - potentially any job that does not require physical proximity. The American cubicle farm is the new textile mill, just another sunset industry.”

“The emergence of India is the inevitable result of the migration of work from atoms to bits: Bits can easily reach people and places that atoms cannot. India’s roads and politics are still a mess, but cheap fiber and a glut of satellite capacity have liberated an army of knowledge workers. Never before have we seen such a powerful labor force rise so quickly.”

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