Obama Goes Gandhi On Outsourcing!
People outside India know of Gandhi's campaigns to end British colonialism, but this was only a small part of his struggle. The greater part of Gandhi's work was to renew India's vitality and regenerate its culture. Gandhi's vision of a free India was a nation of self-governing, self-reliant, self-employed people, deriving their livelihood from the products of their homesteads, weaving homespun clothes, eating homegrown food, using homemade goods. When India was flooded with machine-made, inexpensive, mass-produced textiles from Lancashire, England, the local textile artists were rapidly put out of business, and the village economy suffered terribly. Gandhi thought it essential that the industry be restored, and started a campaign to stem the influx of British cloth. Due to his efforts, hundreds of thousands of Indians joined together to discard the mill-made clothes imported from England and learned to spin their own yarn and weave their own cloth. He felt that Indians should recognize their own genius. It was a crime to spin cotton into yarn and weave yarn into cloth in India. It hurt factories in Manchester. Gandhi began spinning on a "charkha," or manual spinning wheel, and forced the British to relent.
Gandhi sailed to England in August 1931 to attend the Second Round Table Conference, and also to win the hearts of the British people. Gandhi spent eighty four days in England and most of the time he was meeting and talking to people. Climax of the Gandhi visit was the Mahatma's pilgrimage to cotton-spinning, overproducing Lancashire, to see for himself the effects India's boycott on cotton goods had had on the workers there. The crowd that awaited him was several thousand strong. By destiny or design, his simple peasant image combined with his reputation as the spiritual leader of millions made him irresistible. Intensely practical, Gandhi had no idealistic notion that he could relieve unemployment in this distressed British area by inducing capitalists to scrap their textile machinery, or unemployed workers to adopt the hand loom. In Darwen the well-guarded Mahatma was both booed ("Tear his eyes out!") and cheered ("Good old Gandhi!"). He met the Mayor, visited shut factories, gloomy homes. "It distresses me," said Gandhi, "that in all this unemployment I have had some kind of share. ... It is the result of a step I took as my duty to the largest army of unemployed anywhere—the starving millions of India. ... I have come in search of a way out of the difficulty. ... I am powerless without the active co-operation of Lancashire and Englishmen". Gandhi was received with sympathy and affection by the Lancashire cotton workers, even though they were the ones hit hardest by the boycott.
In his first State of Union address, the US President reverted to the anti-outsourcing stance that he had adopted during his election campaign. Recently, Speaking in Cleveland, Ohio, Obama made it clear that he intends to push this course to propel companies to invest more in the US, thereby opening fresh avenues for jobs.
“One of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the United States. But for years, our tax code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks encouraging companies to create jobs and profits in other countries,” Obama said.The president said he was determined to change that.
“I want to change that. Instead of tax loopholes that incentivise investment in overseas jobs, I’m proposing a more generous, permanent extension of the tax credit that goes to companies for all the research and innovation they do right here in America,” he said, with Ohio Governor Ted Strickland standing by his side.
Mr Obama's speech — that strikes a populist chord — comes at a time when the US job market has been slow to recover from the global financial crisis; unemployment remains at 10 per cent. In order to encourage more local hiring, Obama also gave a speech in January this year where he suggested a $5,000 credit for every job a company created (net new job) and an overall limit of $500,000 credit per company for availing such benefits. Jobs will be increased as more firm will stop/reduce outsourcing and look for American peoples more. In the time of recession jobs should be in America rather than other countries. As a president he cares for America, his motivation is very clear to help American Peoples in bad conditions when he declared last year that he wanted jobs in Buffalo and not Bangalore.
New Delhi’s concerns on outsourcing is expected to be raised during Obama’s maiden visit to India in November. Well in advance of the President's visit, consternation is rippling through India's US$50 billion annual outsourcing industry over the president's intention to block tax breaks to companies globalizing their IT operations. It is to be seen how President Obama handles his strong anti-outsourcing stance in India where more than 3 million jobs have been created and a huge infrastructure has sprung up to take care of the myriad needs and demands of the US companies. It would be a well advised gesture on his part to visit Bangalore, the Lancashire of Gandhi, and explain his viewpoint to the numerous Call Center employees who are on the verge of losing their jobs because of the ban on outsourcing which he is vigorously advocating. Indeed, it will be another historical event if Obama goes Gandhi on outsourcing!