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Shopping Culture (2:15) Excerpt from film "1-800-INDIA" September 2005
Growth in the outsourcing sector also creates opportunities for employment and consumption elsewhere.

Country: India
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    Guiding Questions
    1. How is the burgeoning BPO industry having a ripple effect across the economic landscape?

    2. How are the young people in this film clip different from their parents?

    3. How does Ekta's financial independence contribute to her sense of self?

    4. React to this characterization: "This generation is irresponsible and self-indulgent."

    Background Essay
    The Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is driving economic change across India. For every outsourcing job created, at least another two jobs are created in supporting industries such as security, construction, and real estate.

    A major component of India's rapid economic growth at the turn of the 21st century is its emergence as a leader in the global market for "outsourcing" jobs. Outsourcing refers to a business practice whereby certain business functions are moved out of a company and instead are supplied by external businesses. These external suppliers can be in the same country as the head business office, but often they are located in other countries - particularly in countries where labor and real estate is relatively inexpensive. The widespread outsourcing of jobs to less industrialized countries has spurred economic growth in many areas of the world. Starting in the late 20th century, thousands of outsourcing businesses - providing services as varied as customer telephone support, product design, and manufacturing - have expanded across the globe.

    In India, companies that provide services to multinational corporations are commonly referred to as Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) companies. India's past and future are connected by these BPO businesses. India was formerly a British colony, and the colonial legacy of English-speaking education has produced millions of English-speaking Indian workers. These young Indians are now securing BPO jobs and moving into the middle class. And they are changing the face of the country.

    A dramatic and personal film, "1-800-INDIA" explores the experience of young Indian men and women who have been recruited into these new jobs requiring long hours, night shifts, and westernized work habits. The film reveals the human and cultural impact of a sweeping global trend, exploring its effect on Indian family life, on the evolving landscape of Indian cities and towns, and on the aspirations and daily lives of young Indians, especially women, entering the work force.

    "1-800-INDIA" highlights an effect of globalization, illustrating how "factors of production" (the labor and resources needed to produce goods and services) can be dislocated from their intended recipients. In the United States, outsourcing has come under debate, as some Americans have argued that the practice harms the domestic economy by taking jobs away from American workers. There are other criticisms of outsourcing, including complaints that it exploits lower-paid workers and that the quality of service is sometimes poor. On the other hand, there are arguments to be made that outsourcing brings down company costs and thus prices, benefiting everyone. This practice also spurs growth in underdeveloped parts of the world, and can bring fresh talent, insight, and knowledge to a company.

    Transcript
    NARRATOR:
    The burgeoning BPO industry is not only bringing new ideas into traditional Indian society, but it's also driving growth all across the Indian economic landscape.

    For every outsourcing job, at least another two jobs are created in supporting industries such as security, construction, and real estate.

    Much of the demand for new, modern apartment blocks comes from the well-paid men and women who work for companies like Gecis.

    Shopping malls, previously unknown in India, are Gurgaon's temples to this new prosperity. And the cash registers are ringing up the purchases of the industry's young, affluent employees.

    PRAMOD BHASIN:
    These are young people. They're 22 to25. They're earning, often, more than their parents did. These people are spending money. Unlike many other older employees who will necessarily save, this crowd goes out and spends everything it can. So the restaurants are booming and pretty much every city we go, at some subtle way, it changes the face of that city.

    NARRATOR:
    Ekta Jaiswal is part of this new generation of free-spending consumers.

    EKTA:
    It's a financial independence, which is very important. I have to at the end of it plan my finances every month, pay my rent, pay my car installment, manage the house and, at the same time, enjoy.

    It's different when you're, you know, family's paying for everything. I don't think the satisfaction is so much, okay, and maybe you can feel guilty also if you overspend. I can here overspend and not feel guilty because I know I've earned it myself.

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