Did Slumdog wipe the Satyam slate clean?

OscarsLee Ann Moore sent me this interesting analogy of Slumdog's Millionaire's success at the Oscars, and whether it could enhance India Inc's image in the wake of the Satyam scandal and the "Buy America" protectionim we're seeing at the moment…

The post-Academy Award media has declared 2009 the year of India. Will that hold true for outsourcing and Indian workers? Perhaps this push is just what our political leaders need to keep protectionism policies at bay. It is too late to impact the recent bailout package that bans recipient companies from hiring H-1B workers, many of whom are well-educated Indian nationals. Can this Oscar favorite change our attitude toward work in India?

How could our sentimental side not cheer for all the Jamal’s and Latika’s of India who grew up in an impoverished country and work every day to create a better life for themselves and their family? Granted the movie presents a well-written yet fanciful tale, but it helps us understand a unique and beautiful culture. Only time will tell if Hollywood can help the American worker minimize his fear of losing a job to India or perhaps treat the tech support personnel with a bit more respect. Shall we track the call center escalations pre and post-“Slumdog”?

There are many challenges in understanding how a global economy will benefit the American worker and corporations. Thomas Friedman’s recent post, The Open-Door Bailout, provides a compelling argument for open borders and challenging Americans to focus on innovation over fear or job loss. Perhaps the emotional appeal of “Slumdog Millionaire” will allay the fears of the American worker and challenge Washington to think and act global.

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6 Comments

  1. Conrad
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    It’s crucial for Americans to feel part of a global economy and rise to the challenge, as opposed to hide in fear. Movies such as Slumdog are very helpful in educating Americans about other global cultures, such as India. Sadly, offshoring is a taboo topic these days, and people will jump on any bandwagon to argue against it. Fortunately, Satyam’s issues appear isolated, and Slumdog’s success is a timeley boost for the Indian image in America.

  2. Wendy
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Lee Ann,

    I admire your stance. Sadly, people like Lou Dobbs will never admit foreign workers can help bring back a work ethic which America lost while it was getting fat and happy off borrowed money…

    Wendy

  3. Gaurav Sharma
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Phil,

    Slumdog Millionaire given us such pride in India. We are so happy the American public loved the film and are learning more about Indian culture,

    Gaurav Sharma

  4. Karen
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I completely agree. As a vendor manager at a small company, I continually deal with workers who are fearful of losing their jobs, despite my continual reassurance that outsourcing allows them to do more within their current positions and benefits everyone. I hope that movies such as Slumdog will encourage Americans to think differently about their relationship to the rest of the world. We need to move beyond an isolationist focus on protectionism.

  5. Trey
    Posted February 24, 2009 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Lee Ann:

    What an epic piece of blogalism.

  6. Posted March 1, 2009 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    As an Indian I feel proud of the achievement. At the same time I am appalled by those who expect Americans to watch the movie and outsource more to India. Slumdog Millionaire – as a book and as a movie – is an artistic expression that showcases triumph of the human spirit. It is not an advertisement of the poverty in India that pleads wealthy Americans for sending more jobs to India.

    I am an outsourcing service provider working for an Indian IT company and would proudly recommend my customers to go and watch the movie but not so that they would give me more business. I earn my business on the merit of the value we provide in our service.

    The movie is based on a book that was inspired by a research program run by my company. Here are a few links:

    http://www.cnbc.com/id/29237902/

    http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS191330+17-Feb-2009+BW20090217

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Oscar-Favorite-Slumdog-bw-14380676.html

    http://www.hole-in-the-wall.com/

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