Out of Control Policy Blog

Growing pains

India was once the poster child for brain drain. The nation's smothering bureaucracy so frustrated bright young go-getters that they often fled to the United States. Many flourished in America's comparatively innovation-friendly climate, hiring many Americans along the way.

Now many in the states worry about outsourcing, and Americans often regard India as the primary beneficiary of job drain.

And India certainly wants to stop repelling economic growth. It's working to beat back its socialist past, and is particularly keen on appealing to hi-tech firms and churning out plenty of skilled engineers. The economy has grown impressively (10.4 percent in the first quarter of this year), but as this article points out, change–even positive change–rarely occurs without pain:

The public sector, once a stalwart of security, has lost some 4.5 million jobs in the past six years. In this state, Andhra Pradesh, government recruitment has been frozen, and the government has cottoned to private sector practicalities. Street sweeping, once a government job that paid triple what it does now and came with medical care, a pension, annual leave and job security, has been outsourced to private contractors, who offer none of that.

Still, whether it's outsourcing at home or dismantling the machinery of socialism in India, giving trade and innovation more room to grow will ultimately allow workers in both nations to trade up for more and better jobs.

Ted Balaker is Producer


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