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Thursday, November 02, 2006

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Relee Baysklef

LOL Between Eggy and Chip. I think you give me too much credit, but I am a rather outspoken squirrel.

The specific story here is a little more soft-hearted than the sort of sinister corporate wageslavery that I had in mind during our talk, but my opinion stands.

I don't really have anything against any particular content creators, but as a socialist I find both heedless globalization and outsourcing to be criminal.

These places should have, and should DEMAND a higher standard of living. By outsourcing, corporations and organizations are contributing to the enslavement and explotation of people to produce goods and services they can't enjoy themselves.

We have labor laws and expectations here in Canada, and they have them in the states and in other 'developed' nations. These laws exist to say what a business can and can't do to their employees. No whipping for example...

By outsourcing to nations without these laws and expectations, corporations are defying the laws in their home countries and just finding someone else to exploit. Worse still, it takes away the honest work of the people in these 'developed' nations, further dividing the rich and poor here.

It's absolutely criminal, yet the corrupt governments do nothing to stop it. Politicians are the ones who own these companies after all.


Criminal.

eggy lippmann

Relee, I'm sorry but you don't know what you're talking about. I live in a perfectly democratic nation who has been in the EU for ten years.
Yet our average salary is about a third of that in America. Why is this? Well, economics is a complex matter, but one reason that is often cited is that the portuguese government has too many socialist protections in place :)
We may earn 1/3 as much as you but overall we have a decent standard of living - only 22% of people below the poverty line, compared to 30% in America, a lot less violent crime, less pollution, no racial tension, our unemployment rate is about half of yours, etc. :)
I was just in Argentina for 2 months. I could live rather comfortably there on a mere $500 / month and I really miss it. I would have stayed, if it weren't for all my friends and family being on this side of the atlantic, and in fact, I got really depressed when I came back, and sort of regretted doing so :P

SignpostMarv Martin

you forgot to mention that I said the work should be given to the people of the root nation first, unless the people in the root nation suck. (in which case you would outsource the work while training up the people who suck at doing the work)

Don't have time to read this fully, so I'll have to wait till I get back to SL on monday.

P.S. Hamlet- you forgot to linky linky my name up :-P

Hamlet Au

Done!

csven

I stumbled across the Illusion Factory island a month or so ago. I thought it felt disconnected; the services offered by the company and the build itself didn't seem cohesive to me. Now I better understand why I got that impression. It's an understandable result under the circumstances.

It will be interesting to see how projects such as this become increasingly integrated such that in the future I can no longer detect a disconnect.

Aliasi Stonebender

Quite so, Eggy. It doesn't matter if a hamburger costs $1 or $100 or a thousand rubles, so long as there's hamburger to buy; everything else evens out over time. So it's not necessarily fair to simply gasp in horror at the absurdly low wages someone overseas is making; they're often accompanied by absurdly low prices by "first world" standards.

Relee Baysklef

I wasn't really talking about wages. I know that different nations have different social programs; as a Canadian my college tuition was vastly lower than an American would expect to pay. However, it continues to be a problem that businesses take advantage of this disparity of expectation and exploit people who are desperate to work and have low standards, as well as taking advantage of government social programs that should rightly be supporting their own people and not foriegn businesses.


The details and specifics of the global economy are surely beyond me, a mere computer programmer, however I can at least claim to know my own values and what I see as right and wrong. To me, this is a terrible injustice against all of humanity that carries on as if it were all an unavoidable consequence of life.

csven

I would be careful to overly-generalize that businesses simply head overseas with the primary intent of taking advantage of low wages and exploiting people. It's just not that simple.

For example, imagine a shoe manufacturer heads overseas to manufacturer *not* because of the low labor costs, but because of the lower environmental restrictions or because it's cheaper to keep the plant where all the suppliers are located. Let's assume (and know that this *has* happened) that a corporation offers a very good wage by local standards to attract the best workers; and yes, it's obviously lower than wages in the Developed Countries. But what if the wage is too high by those local standards? Imagine what happens when someone who operates a machine that cranks out shoe soles suddenly makes more than a doctor or a scientist? Suddenly you start getting into upsetting a social balance, and the result is that the company has to lower wages because the society itself wants to ensure that the value of a good education is maintained (or, after all, most people will simply drop out of school for those good-paying but future-less jobs).

So I'd warn against being too quick to jump on the business-bashing bandwagon. This isn't just the business at fault, it's we as consumers who want "Everyday Low Prices" and it's a government that enacts environment protection measures and another that doesn't, it's government subsidies in many of these foreign nations, etc etc etc. This issue is trickier than how you characterize it. What you see as "wrong" may in fact be the best option. Best intentions and all that....

IrightI Shirakawa

It is indeed a perceptual universe and how you choose to evaluate each perception will determine your final outcome.... even in your second life.

As the owner/founder of The Illusion Factory, I have spent the last 28 years of my life creating a mecca for creative individuals to come to place of employment in which they are respected, appreciated, paid well, given outstanding medical benefits... and allowed to have personal lives that interfere with their work life. We have worked for all of the major studios and many of the Fortune 500 companies, and despite the tremendous stress we are under or deadlines we are working to meet, we maintain one rule. Creativity reigns supreme.

Creatives in my company are encouraged to grow, explore, develop, learn, and utilize all technology to implement their own brand of incessant creativity. Our entry into second life was nothing less. We have built a reputation for implementing our creativity on any new form of emerging technology, so Second Life was an obvious mecca.

We entered into SL with no intent whatsoever of competing with inworld builders, or other companies for that matter. I am sure we have competition in the real world for what we do, but with 25 divisions of creativity at The Illusion Factory, watching or even acknowledging our competition would be a complete waste of time. We do not try to compete, we do not employ competitive techniques, we are so focused on what we are setting out to accomplish, we welcome the rest of the "competition" as creatives who are equally desirous of personal expressions.

The Illusion Factory produces products on its own dime that inform and empower people. We do it in the US, I have more than 30 people full time in the US working here at any one time, and substantially more during peak months. These projects include a book for kids that teach them the four magic words.... I Can Do It. It includes dvds that teach children how to defend themselves when cornered by a bully and women how to escape if their life is being threatened. I am very proud of these products because they are true indicators that not all we produce is profit driven, some is designed to be in the world just to make the world a better place. Someday, I will get a letter from a mother or a child who was a beneficiary of our dvds and I will know that I have made a real difference in the world, even if there is no monetary gain, and a huge loss attached.

When I read about how Taelin and his team is being described, it gave me pause for reflection. For all the years that I have been running The Illusion Factory, had I suddenly become a sweat shop without my knowing it? Perhaps all the facts were not considered. First, Taelin is perhaps the brightest, most talented person in visual effects that I have ever met. He worked at The Illusion Factory in the United States for a long period of time, and was my highest paid employee here. At his request, he wanted to move home. This would not have been my first choice, but as shared in my note above, we put personal lives higher on the priority list than business lives.... so I was more than willing to comply.

Taelin suggested the possibility of building an Illusion Factory Saigon office with me. I would be lying to say at first I was hesitant, but curiosity got the better of me, and as it involved me helping a dear friend, it was a choice that was made to help a friend, not an evil corporate move to take work from my US staff and move it overseas to exploit the poor people of another country. Most importantly, Taelin would reunite with his mom, which was key to him. SO it became key to us too. I told Taelin that the only way I would do this was if he was a partner in the venture and that the employees there would profit share from whatever developed.

Making an employee a partner in a venture and letting people in Vietnam profit at US rates for their work is a dream come true in Saigon. I never set a wage structure with Taelin, he has been free to hire as many of his friends as he wants for whatever rate their work commands in their country. He is the expert there, not I.... so it has always been in his control. Plain and simple. There is no sweatshop, nor an attempt to exploit. There was a move on my part to reach out and send some positive karma to vietnam... and given what my country did to theirs, I would say we owe it to them in spades.

The United States has stumbled repeatedly in foreign affairs. We have tarnished our reputation abroad and our word is not as valuable as it once was. Our reputation is wilted. To unfairly characterize a company as potentially exploitational for trying a new business model without all the facts is also a sad choice, because in the end, a company is only as strong as the vision directing it.

The truth is that we tried to build out Illusion Factory with some star in world SL designers before we opened in Saigon. We paid a substantial fee to another company who specialized in building SL structures to accomplish that task, and in the end, their creative vision did not match ours, we paid for the services in full and then removed the build completely and started afresh.

With regard to whether we are being unfair to builders in world, with unfair competition, I would say that we do not see ourselves competing with them in any way shape or form. That is not our purpose in SL. We see this as a vast new horizon, complete with challenges of the top magnitude. We are excited to be a part of the projects that we are developing and we have no interest in taking money, business or opportunity away from anyone in SL. We only want to add to the overall experience and let our brand of creativity shine in this world too.

We set out to build the World's First Theme Park in the metaverse, and we are succeeding. We have numerous clients who will now share some of their creative resources with us to program this theme park with entertainment opportunities that may never have come to SL without our presence.... and we are providing almost all of it free to SL visitors. Not to mention the new visitors that we will attract through our own promotions.... who will then venture to other sites in SL and spend money there.... sort of an anchor tenant situation.

We opened our theme park early as we wanted to talk to people who arrived and discuss what they liked, disliked and most importantly, what they wanted to see come to the metaverse. We knew it was only partially done, but we could get input that way....which is a cool feature of SL>

Given our unique relationship to the multiple branches of the entertainment community, we felt that we could be a conduit to the opportunities that are so distinct in SL.

I understand the sidebar and the chance to ask inworld developers if they feel threatened by us. if they did not before being asked, perhaps in the way that we were explained to them, they may feel now that we are a competition.... I would disagree that there is any need to feel threatened as we do not see anything we are doing as competitive. We are a very collaborative company and we seek mutual opportunities with other companies that wish to work with a company that seeks specifically to create win/win scenarios. Everyone who walks away from working with us is paid in full, treated with respect and appreciated. That is how the world should be....

and as Gandhi said.... WE MUST BE THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.

I sleep soundly knowing that I ascribe to that motto. I do not create sweatshops, nor do I condone them. If more US companies, and the US government acted accordingly, the US might have a few more international friends than we do currently, and we could go back to helping emerging nations find their new place on the global village, rather than destroying them for our own personal gain.

Brian Weiner
CEO
The Illusion Factory
brian@illusionfactory.com
www.illusionfactory.com
818 598 8400

Paradox Olbers

IrightI and Brian,
bravo! An eloquent rebuttal and an inspiring reminder of why so many of us became, or are becoming, residents in SL.

And the other comments have taught me more about other lives on our planet than I often learn in a month otherwise. More of the tech amplifier that IrightI mentioned - the ability for two or many to speak without needing to send their bodies.

Arthur C. Clarke pointed out in 1960 that with either perfect transportation OR communication, you didn't need the other.

-Paradox Olbers

SignpostMarv Martin

Catherine Omega

I get requests for bids every day, simply because people know my name. From my point of view, that's what matters, not whether I can put in X hours coding.

Relee Bayskelf

Even big businesses in SL become small businesses that have to compete with other small businesses, and people who make things for free.

Chip Midnight

Most of the time when people commission art or content their decision is based on reputation or individual style, and when it's not I think most people, even from developing nations, will charge what the market will bear.

Aliasi Stonebender

creativity isn't Nike shoes. [grins] People who want my stuff and my outlook on matters ain't going to find it elsewhere.

csven

I stumbled across the Illusion Factory island a month or so ago. I thought it felt disconnected; the services offered by the company and the build itself didn't seem cohesive to me.

Brian Weiner

we maintain one rule. Creativity reigns supreme.

We entered into SL with no intent whatsoever of competing with inworld builders, or other companies for that matter.

With regard to whether we are being unfair to builders in world, with unfair competition, I would say that we do not see ourselves competing with them in any way shape or form. That is not our purpose in SL.

The truth is that we tried to build out Illusion Factory with some star in world SL designers before we opened in Saigon. We paid a substantial fee to another company who specialized in building SL structures to accomplish that task, and in the end, their creative vision did not match ours, we paid for the services in full and then removed the build completely and started afresh.

All examples reinforcing what I was saying about giving work to the people of a nation first, unless they suck.

eggy lippmann

This is a nice article:
http://www.lewrockwell.com/dilorenzo/dilorenzo113.html

stella

If you want to learn about outsourcing and more informations, this site will be help full to you
and it's having good suggestion for outsourcing, commercial law , commercial property law,
commercial and consumer law etc.

Outsourcing

jihae

FOR THOSE EMPLOYED TO WORK IN SECOND LIFE - Can you tell me how you pay taxes on your earnings?

MonkeyseeMonkeydo

Ahh and hows this all working out 6 or 7 years later looking inworld most of these accounts are dead and secondlife in decline

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