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March 19th, 2008
Employment Globalization
By Jeffrey Goodman

Even though white-collar jobs are leaving the United States for growth-heavy regions like India and China, the placeless geography of e-commerce always works both ways. For those willing to make certain sacrifices, a new breed of American worker is following tech jobs out of the country; in essence, out-sourcing themselves. The software necessary for such an arrangement already exist, is easy to procure, and could change the way business is donearound the world.

Until recently, the movement of workers between the developed and developing world has been characterized as a ‘brain drain’ of the most skilled to the rich economies of America and Western Europe. But now that jobs tied to computer technology, with rare exceptions, can reasonably be done from any terminal connected to the Internet, work has been completed divorced from a
physical location, and the worker, similarly, can be located wherever is convenient. Virtual telephone service allows tech workers to choose from any number of area and country codes, and an email address is accessible from anywhere.

The main barrier to large numbers of American workers moving abroad is not technical, as those issues have been solved, but the perceived social difficulty in being located far from familiar sights and sounds. Perhaps the more likely scenario will be a slackening of job-related immigration to the States, as Internet-based opportunity opens in the developing world.