Was Jack Welch, General Electric's famed former leader, a kind of founding father to offshore outsourcing? That's the argument in a recent Wall Street Journal article, reprinted here.
According to the story, GE put its faith in India in the 1990s, essentially laying a foundation for the country's later rapid expansion in information technology and business process outsourcing. "Indian executives say early investments by GE in India gave their technology and business service sectors crucial credibility and cash when other companies still viewed the country as a risky backwater," the story states. "Moreover, exposure to Welch's culture of cost-cutting and efficiency taught them business skills they are now using to compete globally, often against U.S. firms."
An interesting piece of the history is that Welch initially went to India to sell his wares rather than create a new era in international commerce, according to the story. But he was open to the idea of buying Indian software.
So GE may have helped bring offshore outsourcing to life. The question remains, though, was that a "good thing" for skilled workers in the U.S.?