Just today, I was on the phone disputing the Connecticut prostitution fees that appeared on my American Express bill. Seriously. While talking to the AmEx rep, it wasn't until I said something funny that her voice broke and I could hear the Indian accent. The image of a woman in Gurgaon investigating the guy who grabbed my AmEx and went on a hooker spree in Fairfield Connecticut is a pleasing one. There's a radio play in there somewhere.
We're seeing more and more about call-center India and globalization, about how the rest of the world is now America's IT department. It's complicated, it's kind of ok and it's kind of not ok, depending on whether you feel one of those jobs is more properly due someone you know here in the States. Which you might not. Globalization is as globalization does, or as it is done to. Due to. OK.
But if it was difficult to put a face to the call center when it was in Salt Lake City, it's even harder when its in Delhi. This article from the Times of India brings it to life a little bit. There is an emerging argument that the call center employees are "cyber-coolies," doing the dirty work associated with colonial labor. But Gurchuran Das suggests that instead -- from an Indian perspective -- the "root of the dispute is ownership of the English language" and that India is in a way just learning how to make a far greater impact on the world. If you think about all the college learnin' about cultural appropriation and revoicing and like that, it's a persuasive argument. There's a long and interesting first-hand exchange about it here.
So Indians are becoming fluent in the languages (Windows as much as English) of first-world transactional superstructures. That sort of is what it is until you realize that they are also staffing the Republican Party Fundraising call centers.
The latest State of the Union address reads:
"With unemployment rising, our nation needs more small businesses to open, more companies to invest and expand, more employers to put up the sign that says, ``Help Wanted.'' (APPLAUSE)
Here in '03, Republicans are outsourcing their fundraising to Noida and Gurgaon, to make sure they can give that same speech in four years time. Applause. Applause. We got to blog this shit because in a thousand years we could never write it.Posted by kevin slavin at September 18, 2003 09:23 PM