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Apple cancels support centre in India
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analogika
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Jun 4, 2006, 05:18 AM
 
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/a...ow/1611960.cms

Apple software logs out of India
R Raghavendra
[ Saturday, June 03, 2006 11:56:59 pmTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]


RSS Feeds| SMS NEWS to 8888 for latest updates


BANGALORE: The company that redefined the way we listen to music has decided to call it quits in India. Apple, known for its popular iPods, is pulling out its software development and support operations in India.

The company had commenced operations in April and hired about 30 people for its subsidiary, Apple Services India Pvt Ltd.

At a meeting on May 29, Apple announced its decision to lay off all its employees. Apple officials told them that "the company is revaluating its operations and has thought of pulling back its Indian operations".

Apple is giving these employees a severance package of two months salary. It will settle all claims on June 9. When contacted, Steve Dowling, an Apple spokesperson, said, "We have re-evaluated our plans and have decided to put our planned support centre growth in other countries."

Apple continues to operate its sales and marketing arm in Bangalore which employs 25 people. For most employees — a few have returned to their former employers — it was a bolt from the blue.

"It started off with building dreams. We were not given any warning. They just told us the operations would now head back to the US," said a sacked employee.

Considering the low-cost, high-quality talent pool that Bangalore offers, it is unclear why Apple decided to shut shop just over a month after it commenced operations.
The Slashdot discussion:
http://apple.slashdot.org/article.pl...22215&from=rss
     
Oisín
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Jun 4, 2006, 05:57 AM
 
Beaten by a mere ten minutes

(Though I vote we keep this one, rather than goMac’s, since it contains more information and an extra link)
     
TETENAL
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Jun 4, 2006, 06:10 AM
 
Hire and fire after mere two months. Typical US-mentality.

Couldn't Apple "evaluate their operations" before those people left their old jobs?
     
Obi Wan's Ghost
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Jun 4, 2006, 06:22 AM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL
Hire and fire after mere two months. Typical US-mentality.

Couldn't Apple "evaluate their operations" before those people left their old jobs?
They obviously fell for the hype that India is full of geniuses. It is a hype created by Bombay Stock Exchange insiders to get investment in India, see the stock price of Indian companies go up, then sell off and profit.

If was true India's workforce were high quality they could at least build a proper road and sewage system. The quality of Indian labour is very poor on average. They want to be able to do things westerners do but they rush everything. Apple must have seen what the quality was like after two months and realized India's workers are not suitable for the Mac platform.

After a gala induction ceremony on April 17, the operations team went to Transworks for training. Some of the managers were about to leave for the US for further training when they were asked to stay put.
Asia on the whole has a lot of work to do to catch up with the quality of their American counterparts. At the moment all Asia has to offer is lower salaries. Microsoft doesn't mind employing poor programmers and support staff for low wages for reasons we know too well.
( Last edited by Obi Wan's Ghost; Jun 4, 2006 at 06:42 AM. )
     
harrisjamieh
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Jun 4, 2006, 06:51 AM
 
What about us lot over here in the UK? We have had Apple support call centres located in India since I switched to Mac in October, and probably a good while before that too, and it sucks! Can't understand a word they are saying, and they can't understand a word we are saying!

Oh, and:

"Considering the low-cost, high-quality talent pool..."

High quality?!
iMac Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 1.25GB RAM | 160HD, MacBook Core Duo 1.83 Ghz | 13.3" | 60HD | 1.0GB RAM
     
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Jun 4, 2006, 09:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL
Hire and fire after mere two months. Typical US-mentality.

Couldn't Apple "evaluate their operations" before those people left their old jobs?
Sometimes you can't. I agree that this is harsh on the people who were hired, but then, maybe the quality of work delivered by them was such that the whole idea of working in India didn't make sense anymore.

It's of course easier to blame the Evil American Corporation™.
     
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Jun 4, 2006, 10:01 AM
 
Originally Posted by harrisjamieh
Can't understand a word they are saying, and they can't understand a word we are saying!
And there ya go. It doesn't matter if everyone in Bangalore is a genius - if the difference in accents between caller and receiver is such that there's a problem having a semi-normal conversation (at a time when the caller will probably be stressed), it's all pointless.

Just one of those things.
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MindFad
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Jun 4, 2006, 10:20 AM
 
They are getting two months of salary, at least.
     
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Jun 4, 2006, 10:28 AM
 
This is part of the reason why we're moving our business accounts from HSBC to TD Bank. Trying to get any sort of help from HSBC inevitably ends in confusion and frustration. The Indian staff is trying hard, but the language barrier is just too annoying.


"Your call is important to us. The next available....Click"

"Good morning, this is HSBC Business Banking Support. How can I help you?"

"I'd like to speak to somebody about our merchant account. Credit card payments from our customers are not registering."

"One moment, Sir."

--New Voice--

"Hello, you'd like to apply for a credit card? Can I have your name please."

"Arrrrrgh"
     
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Jun 4, 2006, 10:28 AM
 
Awwwwwww.®
     
production_coordinator
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Jun 4, 2006, 10:58 AM
 
Awwwwwww.®
     
tooki
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Jun 4, 2006, 12:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL
Hire and fire after mere two months. Typical US-mentality.
We could just as well accuse you of a "typical German mentality"* of hamstringing employers by making it damned near impossible to flexibly adjust manpower in a company, contributing to the depressed economies of most European countries.

In other words, it's stupid to attack based on policies that each have positive and negative sides. The fact is, we'd all be better served by policy somewhere in between.

tooki

*I deliberately did not say "typical socialist mentality" to mock the fact that you singled out the U.S. when in fact liberal hire-fire policies are common worldwide.
     
Albert Pujols
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Jun 4, 2006, 02:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Obi Wan's Ghost
If was true India's workforce were high quality they could at least build a proper road and sewage system. The quality of Indian labour is very poor on average. They want to be able to do things westerners do but they rush everything. Apple must have seen what the quality was like after two months and realized India's workers are not suitable for the Mac platform.
The problem isn't the quality of the labor. The reason India doesn't have properly built roads, sewage systems, etc. is because they don't have the money to do it. I'm sure there are pleny of skilled workers who would love to build a road, but of course no worker would do it for free. The other thing is that Inida is such a crappy bureaucracy, when money is allocated for roads or whatever more than half the money is used up before it actually gets to the job. So a road that is supposed to last 20 years ends up lasting 5 years because they could only afford one layer of ashphalt.
     
Obi Wan's Ghost
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Jun 4, 2006, 02:34 PM
 
Originally Posted by Albert Pujols
The problem isn't the quality of the labor. The reason India doesn't have properly built roads, sewage systems, etc. is because they don't have the money to do it. I'm sure there are pleny of skilled workers who would love to build a road, but of course no worker would do it for free. The other thing is that Inida is such a crappy bureaucracy, when money is allocated for roads or whatever more than half the money is used up before it actually gets to the job. So a road that is supposed to last 20 years ends up lasting 5 years because they could only afford one layer of ashphalt.

It's the poor quality of labor AND bureaucracy. The bureaucracy itself is bad because it is made up of poor quality workers. Also read the Slashdot discussion linked at the top. A few Indians there admit the labor force is hyped and incompetent.
     
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Jun 4, 2006, 02:43 PM
 
In publications like Consumer Reports Apple's customer support is touted as being head-and-shoulders above PC competitors (and CR, at least, seems to know almost nothing else about Macs in general), so maybe Apple decided to not throw away this advantage while they are still on their recent crest of good publicity.

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PB2K
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Jun 4, 2006, 03:21 PM
 
i was really hoping for the indian callcentres to catch on. with the promises of employees who are eager to provide excellent service and speak perfect english and cost 1/3 of a western salary it sounded like to good to be true anyhow.

I am in a project that is about introducing the Mac to developing countries. I will continue my efforts because I know Asia is full of talented people willing to either cooperate or compete with modern western call centres.
You should ask yourself : How do I compete with that guy from India ? Then complain.
( Last edited by PB2K; Jun 4, 2006 at 03:29 PM. )
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ironknee
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Jun 4, 2006, 06:39 PM
 
good for apple
     
analogika  (op)
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Jun 4, 2006, 06:58 PM
 
Originally Posted by TETENAL
Hire and fire after mere two months. Typical US-mentality.

Couldn't Apple "evaluate their operations" before those people left their old jobs?
Haven't you been paying attention to your domestic economy?

DaimlerChrysler has been doing the exact same kind of outsourcing for years now, as have many, many other companies.

Deutsche Bank has been through so many structural changes, layoffs, and complete reversals, that you have to wonder whether top management even bother to think beyond the next two weeks, let alone analyze what the corporation's been doing the last ten years.

There are hundreds of examples.
     
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Jun 4, 2006, 07:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by production_coordinator
Awwwwwww.®
I disagree with your statement.
     
CharlesS
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Jun 4, 2006, 08:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by PB2K
You should ask yourself : How do I compete with that guy from India ? Then complain.
That's a good question. How would you compete with that guy from India? By doing a better job? By making customers happier? Well, American tech support personnel already do that, but they all get laid off anyway since companies don't give a crap about their customers once they've already got their money. Consider this scenario:

Me: Hi, one of the install discs that came with my iMac (G5, Rev. B) is defective. The first disc works fine - it's Disc 2 that fails. Whenever I try to access a file on the second disc, I get I/O errors. Naturally, this causes the OS installer not to work if I try to do a basic install or a custom install that includes anything that would be on the second disc. I've tried copying files from the disc to my hard drive in the Finder, and accessing files on the disc in the Terminal, with the same results - I/O errors. All the aliases at the root of the drive to install the Classic environment and whatnot are broken, and thus show generic icons. I've already checked the back of the disc for scratches, and I've tried cleaning it with a soft cloth to no avail. I'm pretty sure the disc is faulty. I'd appreciate it if you could send me a new Disc 2 for the iMac G5 Rev. B.

With an American rep, that'd go sort of like this:

Rep: You mean the ambient light sensor model?

Me: Yeah, the latest one (at the time, this was true).

Rep: Okay, can I get your address?

Me: <address>

Rep: Okay, we'll send a new disc out.

--

But with "that guy from India" who didn't understand a word of my opening paragraph, it was going to be the same damn checklist he's got in front of him (probably with everything on it spelled phonetically since he didn't seem to know English at all), including checking the disc for scratches, cleaning it again, yadda yadda yadda even though I already told him I did that already. The conversation was also constantly interrupted by him constantly putting me on hold for 5 minutes after everything I said so he (apparently) could go ask someone to translate my English into his native language. Then we go on to getting my address, which is a huge undertaking since the rep couldn't understand why my state (he insisted on calling it a "county") would be spelled with just two letters. And since he didn't speak English, none of my attempts to explain the concept of abbreviation would go through to him. I did get put on hold a number of times, though. Eventually I got transferred to someone back in the States who noticed that my address was already on file (I had tried to ask the guy from India if they had my address on file since I'd called before, but he of course had no idea what I was asking).

--

With the first rep, the call would take about 5 minutes. With the second rep, the call took somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes. However, the first rep is the guy who'd be fired, because unfortunately for him, he lives somewhere where the law requires him to be paid a minimum wage, and cheap is the new good.

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Jun 4, 2006, 10:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
That's a good question. How would you compete with that guy from India? By doing a better job? By making customers happier? Well, American tech support personnel already do that, but they all get laid off anyway since companies don't give a crap about their customers once they've already got their money. Consider this scenario:

Me: Hi, one of the install discs that came with my iMac (G5, Rev. B) is defective. The first disc works fine - it's Disc 2 that fails. Whenever I try to access a file on the second disc, I get I/O errors. Naturally, this causes the OS installer not to work if I try to do a basic install or a custom install that includes anything that would be on the second disc. I've tried copying files from the disc to my hard drive in the Finder, and accessing files on the disc in the Terminal, with the same results - I/O errors. All the aliases at the root of the drive to install the Classic environment and whatnot are broken, and thus show generic icons. I've already checked the back of the disc for scratches, and I've tried cleaning it with a soft cloth to no avail. I'm pretty sure the disc is faulty. I'd appreciate it if you could send me a new Disc 2 for the iMac G5 Rev. B.

With an American rep, that'd go sort of like this:

Rep: You mean the ambient light sensor model?

Me: Yeah, the latest one (at the time, this was true).

Rep: Okay, can I get your address?

Me: <address>

Rep: Okay, we'll send a new disc out.

--

But with "that guy from India" who didn't understand a word of my opening paragraph, it was going to be the same damn checklist he's got in front of him (probably with everything on it spelled phonetically since he didn't seem to know English at all), including checking the disc for scratches, cleaning it again, yadda yadda yadda even though I already told him I did that already. The conversation was also constantly interrupted by him constantly putting me on hold for 5 minutes after everything I said so he (apparently) could go ask someone to translate my English into his native language. Then we go on to getting my address, which is a huge undertaking since the rep couldn't understand why my state (he insisted on calling it a "county") would be spelled with just two letters. And since he didn't speak English, none of my attempts to explain the concept of abbreviation would go through to him. I did get put on hold a number of times, though. Eventually I got transferred to someone back in the States who noticed that my address was already on file (I had tried to ask the guy from India if they had my address on file since I'd called before, but he of course had no idea what I was asking).

--

With the first rep, the call would take about 5 minutes. With the second rep, the call took somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes. However, the first rep is the guy who'd be fired, because unfortunately for him, he lives somewhere where the law requires him to be paid a minimum wage, and cheap is the new good.


WOW!

Well said!
     
Agasthya
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Jun 4, 2006, 10:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
That's a good question. How would you compete with that guy from India? By doing a better job? By making customers happier? Well, American tech support personnel already do that, but they all get laid off anyway since companies don't give a crap about their customers once they've already got their money. Consider this scenario:

Me: Hi, one of the install discs that came with my iMac (G5, Rev. B) is defective. The first disc works fine - it's Disc 2 that fails. Whenever I try to access a file on the second disc, I get I/O errors. Naturally, this causes the OS installer not to work if I try to do a basic install or a custom install that includes anything that would be on the second disc. I've tried copying files from the disc to my hard drive in the Finder, and accessing files on the disc in the Terminal, with the same results - I/O errors. All the aliases at the root of the drive to install the Classic environment and whatnot are broken, and thus show generic icons. I've already checked the back of the disc for scratches, and I've tried cleaning it with a soft cloth to no avail. I'm pretty sure the disc is faulty. I'd appreciate it if you could send me a new Disc 2 for the iMac G5 Rev. B.

With an American rep, that'd go sort of like this:

Rep: You mean the ambient light sensor model?

Me: Yeah, the latest one (at the time, this was true).

Rep: Okay, can I get your address?

Me: <address>

Rep: Okay, we'll send a new disc out.

--

But with "that guy from India" who didn't understand a word of my opening paragraph, it was going to be the same damn checklist he's got in front of him (probably with everything on it spelled phonetically since he didn't seem to know English at all), including checking the disc for scratches, cleaning it again, yadda yadda yadda even though I already told him I did that already. The conversation was also constantly interrupted by him constantly putting me on hold for 5 minutes after everything I said so he (apparently) could go ask someone to translate my English into his native language. Then we go on to getting my address, which is a huge undertaking since the rep couldn't understand why my state (he insisted on calling it a "county") would be spelled with just two letters. And since he didn't speak English, none of my attempts to explain the concept of abbreviation would go through to him. I did get put on hold a number of times, though. Eventually I got transferred to someone back in the States who noticed that my address was already on file (I had tried to ask the guy from India if they had my address on file since I'd called before, but he of course had no idea what I was asking).

--

With the first rep, the call would take about 5 minutes. With the second rep, the call took somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes. However, the first rep is the guy who'd be fired, because unfortunately for him, he lives somewhere where the law requires him to be paid a minimum wage, and cheap is the new good.
Did the first scenario happen or are you just theorizing that is what would happen if you were to speak to a good ol' American boy?
     
Railroader
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Jun 4, 2006, 11:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Agasthya
Did the first scenario happen or are you just theorizing that is what would happen if you were to speak to a good ol' American boy?
You must have missed this bit:
Originally Posted by CharlesS
Eventually I got transferred to someone back in the States who noticed...
I hope that helps.
     
Agasthya
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Jun 4, 2006, 11:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
You must have missed this bit:

I hope that helps.
But why would the guy in the first scenario ask for his address if it was already on file? I don't think the first scenario happened... he's just assuming that is what would happen.
     
Albert Pujols
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Jun 4, 2006, 11:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by CharlesS
That's a good question. How would you compete with that guy from India? By doing a better job? By making customers happier? Well, American tech support personnel already do that, but they all get laid off anyway since companies don't give a crap about their customers once they've already got their money. Consider this scenario:

Me: Hi, one of the install discs that came with my iMac (G5, Rev. B) is defective. The first disc works fine - it's Disc 2 that fails. Whenever I try to access a file on the second disc, I get I/O errors. Naturally, this causes the OS installer not to work if I try to do a basic install or a custom install that includes anything that would be on the second disc. I've tried copying files from the disc to my hard drive in the Finder, and accessing files on the disc in the Terminal, with the same results - I/O errors. All the aliases at the root of the drive to install the Classic environment and whatnot are broken, and thus show generic icons. I've already checked the back of the disc for scratches, and I've tried cleaning it with a soft cloth to no avail. I'm pretty sure the disc is faulty. I'd appreciate it if you could send me a new Disc 2 for the iMac G5 Rev. B.

With an American rep, that'd go sort of like this:

Rep: You mean the ambient light sensor model?

Me: Yeah, the latest one (at the time, this was true).

Rep: Okay, can I get your address?

Me: <address>

Rep: Okay, we'll send a new disc out.

--

But with "that guy from India" who didn't understand a word of my opening paragraph, it was going to be the same damn checklist he's got in front of him (probably with everything on it spelled phonetically since he didn't seem to know English at all), including checking the disc for scratches, cleaning it again, yadda yadda yadda even though I already told him I did that already. The conversation was also constantly interrupted by him constantly putting me on hold for 5 minutes after everything I said so he (apparently) could go ask someone to translate my English into his native language. Then we go on to getting my address, which is a huge undertaking since the rep couldn't understand why my state (he insisted on calling it a "county") would be spelled with just two letters. And since he didn't speak English, none of my attempts to explain the concept of abbreviation would go through to him. I did get put on hold a number of times, though. Eventually I got transferred to someone back in the States who noticed that my address was already on file (I had tried to ask the guy from India if they had my address on file since I'd called before, but he of course had no idea what I was asking).

--

With the first rep, the call would take about 5 minutes. With the second rep, the call took somewhere between 60 and 90 minutes. However, the first rep is the guy who'd be fired, because unfortunately for him, he lives somewhere where the law requires him to be paid a minimum wage, and cheap is the new good.
I think the worst part of the story is that Apple (or whoever) would hire someone who doesn't speak English for that type of job. Anyone who gets a decent education in India speaks English. So I assume that they are hiring people with substandard educations. Knowing that, is it even surprising that people have bad experiences with tech support?
     
PB2K
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Jun 5, 2006, 01:23 AM
 
i worked at a callcentre a few months, i hated the job, and i know that management does anything to keep costs low. we all got a training for 2 months that basically was all about learning how to use a database that contained the FAQ. the most talented employees wouldn't be rewarded by money but with a compliment, it's just all about keeping costs low so the best leave to get another job. eventually you end up with these hardcore callcenter people who are just odd members of society in one way or another they are all hooked on the internet and dress funny. i liked the diversity of nationalities though, on fridays we would get really pissed
.
anyway, what i am trying to say that when it comes down to solving problems, ordinary callcentres have nothing to add. only premium support packages do. (like adobe has in the UK, you pay way more but have direct access to the 3rd line support.


and it's not necessary to quote the whole text while its obvious you are referring to that 1 time experience by charless !! look at how you mess up this thread
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Jun 5, 2006, 01:46 AM
 
     
Doofy
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Jun 5, 2006, 06:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by Albert Pujols
I think the worst part of the story is that Apple (or whoever) would hire someone who doesn't speak English for that type of job. Anyone who gets a decent education in India speaks English. So I assume that they are hiring people with substandard educations. Knowing that, is it even surprising that people have bad experiences with tech support?
I don't think it's anything to do with them not speaking English. It's the accent differential.

Heck, didn't the film "The Full Monty" have subtitles added for the US release or something? (even though it was in English)
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tooki
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Jun 5, 2006, 11:19 AM
 
Originally Posted by Albert Pujols
I think the worst part of the story is that Apple (or whoever) would hire someone who doesn't speak English for that type of job. Anyone who gets a decent education in India speaks English. So I assume that they are hiring people with substandard educations. Knowing that, is it even surprising that people have bad experiences with tech support?
The Big News in India is that the pool of qualified employees has dried up, so Indian wages for qualified people have been rising. If Apple was hoping to pay cheap wages, then they would be hiring subpar employees.

Indeed, Indian outsourcing is proving to be a failure in many ways. Sure, the people may be only a fraction as expensive, but their productivity is much lower still.

tooki
     
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Jun 5, 2006, 11:27 AM
 
Originally Posted by tooki
The fact is, we'd all be better served by policy somewhere in between.
No, we woud not. We already drifted too far onto the side of the inhumane American elbow-capitalism. We would all be better off when the well-being of humans would be put above the well-being of corporations again.
     
tooki
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Jun 5, 2006, 12:03 PM
 
The socialist stance has the side effect of collapsing the economy, which is in no way good for the people.

A middle ground is practicable. Neither extreme really is.

tooki
     
   
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