The New Face of the Silicon Age, Wired’s cover story, does a pretty good job of outlining the issues, though what the article doesn’t talk about is the profound organizational problems that can emerge when you outsource – that programming (at least past a certain level) is a craft, not just something interchangeable.
The author – perhaps flattering his audience – tries to downplay the creativity of Indian programmers:
It’s inevitable that certain things – fabrication, maintenance, testing, upgrades, and other routine knowledge work – will be done overseas. But that leaves plenty for us to do. After all, before these Indian programmers have something to fabricate, maintain, test, or upgrade, that something first must be imagined and invented.
The US may keep its design and marketing jobs but my guess is that this is not so much to do with a skills gap as it is to do with cultural issues.
This just in – I gather that the California legislature is “considering banning outsourcing”:http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgDate=12-Feb-2004&prgId=17.