Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Peculiar Nature of Software

Much debate on offshoring IT jobs revolves around well-known arguments.

Proponents of offshore outsourcing, who are generally averse to protectionist measures, tend to focus on the traditional advantages of free trade, such as a more efficient allocation of labor resources and the benefits of competition for the consumer. Detractors spotlight the hidden costs of offshore outsourcing, concerns about security and the potential loss of skilled IT jobs in the U.S. Their remedies include proposing legislation designed to protect IT jobs and setting employment requirements for companies bidding on government projects.

Recently, an alarm has been sounded that high-end IT work such as the design of software and the development of innovative software is being claimed by companies overseas . If so, it must be remembered that software has some peculiar aspects, including tremendous job-creation potential, no matter where it's developed.

Imagine that a programmer in India writes a program so useful that it creates thousands of jobs for developers in the U.S. to adopt, support and enhance its functionality.

New software products have had this effect many times; software is often not a final product, but instead a versatile tool that can be used in the production of a broad range of goods and services. And advances in software can also open up to automation areas that were previously off limits.

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