Norway’s Fish for Brains Trade with India (Part V: Summation and Call to Action)

(Previous – Part IV: Offshoring’s Simple Truth)

  • Offshoring often impedes innovation, finding it easier to add cheap labor than automate. For example, it remains easier to pay an Indian a meager wage to perform data entry instead of writing code to scrape numbers from the web and automatically dump them into a file, processed by another program.
  • Skilled immigration policy should be about filling legitimate voids in our workforce. Those receiving skilled visas should be of the highest caliber, receiving a visa independent of their employer and a higher than average salary for the given profession. These prized skilled workers will not only contribute to the local economy, but also they will be rare, garnering more respect instead of resentment. That will make it easier for them integrate.
  • Moreover, the higher wages and labor dumping restrictions will force companies to think differently. Companies may consider setting up new or funding existing tech schools and apprenticeships, luring more locals into science and engineering. There is a lot of talent in our inner cities going to waste. In Norway, there is a lot of idle talent from the oil industry, ready for a new challenge.
  • Low-level monotonous work should either be automated or done by domestic high-school or junior college students, looking for work and experience. In the old days, the teenagers used to detassel corn, work in hotels, cut grass, do telemarketing and deliver newspapers. There is no reason why they can’t get involved with mundane software engineering tasks, posing no security risks.
  • Foreign Students have been a good source of revenue for American universities and are given six months to find a job after graduation, as an H1-B. However, I personally feel that, once again, these foreign graduates should be filling positions where there is a proven critical need and not for cost reduction.

Additional dangers inherent with unabated offshoring for cost reduction versus filling a genuine skill shortage:

  • Loss of Domestic Engineering Talent: This is my gravest concern: when intelligent young people conclude that the engineering profession is neither well paid or secure because the job will go to low-paid foreigners, they will opt for other professions. Engineering or innovation and problem-solving are at the core of human existence. It is how we as a society moved ahead: small groups of talented people, building on the knowledge of those before them, iteratively taking society forward – generation after generation.

In America, it’s quite obvious that our society was built on tinkering, inventing and engineering. In Norway, it is not as obvious. However, before oil, there was Kongsberg Gruppen, a 200+-year-old engineering company that constantly reinvents itself to meet current demands. They transformed from a silver mining operation in the early 1800s to an advanced software and weapons systems company today. They are also experts on sensor technologies and marine engineering.

Norway needs more firms like Kongsberg. Moreover, Norway needs domestic talent to work in these firms: locals and highly skilled immigrants who are well-paid, hard-working, patriotic, with a high sense of self-worth. If a country loses its engineering and creative ability, it ceases to exist.

  • Security Concerns: The greater concern is someone who is reasonably intelligent, low-paid and apathetic towards his host with a lot of ambition, working on a critical system. Often these systems are 20+ years old, and no one really understands them in total. Statoil canceled an offshoring initiative after a typographical error that opened up a critical system, creating a huge security risk. Imagine if that person had bad intentions or was paid by a foreign intelligence agency?
  • Blocking Out the Sun: The large firms engaged in skilled labor dumping make it very difficult for new and smaller firms to compete fairly for contracts with established clients, like banks, the government, large corporates and insurance companies.

Call to Action:

Skilled immigration must be precise. America and Norway do have legitimate skill gaps, which must be filled by rare and highly specialized people. That talent must be recognized and rewarded because they add to the economy and create the cool stuff that leads to more jobs. We must demand our politicians to crack down on the commodified outsourcing and offshoring, meant to lower costs, benefiting only the company and their shareholders.

Americans, contact your lawmakers, making sure to keep this issue front and center, keeping Jeff Sessions true to his promises. This issue was the number one reason why I voted for Trump. Americans need jobs (good ones that match their abilities, drive, and determination), and moreover, our country must return to its’ roots, creating and improving things, not just selling and distributing them.

Indians Standing “Behind the Window” (Those working hard onshore for a very long time but have no hope of immigrating) watch Amistad and start demanding some rights. Compliance ain’t gonna get you anywhere. There are plenty of unions and journalists out there who would take interest (hint: look at the reference stories linked throughout this series of articles.)

Norwegians, wake up! People in India are not dying in the streets from a lack food like the Norwegian fishing industry asserts. India actually exports food! Lack of distribution and logistics, as well as mismanagement and corruption, are the main reasons that Indians in the lower tiers are malnourished and underfed.

Source: US Department of Agriculture

Source: US Department of Agriculture

Even if India lowers the tariffs, access to the salmon will continue to remain with only the upper economic classes. The fish will never make it to the villages intact or fresh. Moreover, they won’t be sending the chicken downstream to the poor, eating fish instead. Those who can afford fish will eat both the fish and the chicken. Therefore, the self-righteous humanitarian arguments for the “Fish for Brains” deal are complete rubbish – an example of short-term thinking and lack of vision. Moreover, the deal will continue an abusive work culture in another country.

Norwegians need to realize that being humanitarian is more than just paying high taxes and parroting Barack and Michelle Obama, it is genuine concern and a willingness to explore the facts in detail. It means that you must challenge the elected officials and industry leaders and start asking questions about where your data resides and how those people are being treated.

Instead, Norway should be looking to strengthen its currency, attracting and keeping the best and the brightest, instead of devaluing it to sell more fish. These people, locals, and outstanding foreigners could re-enable the domestic economy, building an emissions-free industrial sector, powered by already abundant hydroelectricity and the wind.

Then Norway can maintain it’s social democratic integrity without having to sell its’ brains to India and soul to China.

(I came here to escape unabated offshoring, attaining the peace of mind secured from steady work. However, it seems that Norway just wants to copy Bush and Obama’s America, selling out future to get a few bucks today. –stop the madness!)

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