Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Is the U.S. dollar the new Schrute Buck?

Schrute Bucks, you'll recall, were the dubious currency created by Dwight Schrute on last season's final episode of "The Office," when he was briefly promoted from his position of assistant to the regional manager of Dunder Mifflin to regional manager. Along with other bright ideas like painting his office black to intimidate subordinates, he came up with Schrute Bucks as an incentive for his minions. They stood to get an additional five minutes for lunch if they accumulated 1,000 of the pseudo bills.

They came up when T and I were reading the New York Times yesterday morning and came across a couple of stories touching on the weakness of the dollar and what it means. The one that addressed the issue directly was the Op-Ed by Stephen S. Roach , the chairman of Morgan Stanley Asia. His view was dire enough, but the real eye-opener was the front page story Outsourcing Works, So India Is Exporting Jobs. It was about how India is outsourcing jobs that it received from the U.S., among other places, to less developed parts of the U.S., among other places. One reason is the weakness of the dollar.
Wipro, another Indian technology services company, has outsourcing offices in Canada, China, Portugal, Romania and Saudi Arabia, among other locations.

And last month, Wipro said it was opening a software development center in Atlanta that would hire 500 programmers in three years.

In a poetic reflection of outsourcing’s new face, Wipro’s chairman, Azim Premji, told Wall Street analysts this year that he was considering hubs in Idaho and Virginia, in addition to Georgia, to take advantage of American “states which are less developed.” (India’s per capita income is less than $1,000 a year.)

For its part, Infosys is building a whole archipelago of back offices — in Mexico, the Czech Republic, Thailand and China, as well as low-cost regions of the United States.
That's when T turned to me and said, "It looks as if the dollar is the new Schrute Buck." She had a point. The way things are going, soon we'll all be working for Schrute Bucks. Could be worse -- everyone can use an extra five minutes for lunch.


Dr Diablo, gold bug said...

Thanks for posting a warning in this venue. Although the financial press is full of detailed accounts of how the dollar will inflate into Funny Money and our financial system will collapse, I don't think your audience of lefty bicycle-riding Wiccans tracks exchange rates very closely.

Please tell your readers to swap their paper money for gold and silver coins in small denominations. That way, when they're burning the coffee table to fight off winter's chill and eating grass wherever they can paw away the snow, they will be able to barter with their coins. In this way, they will be able to scrape along until Bush suspends elections and uses his dictatorial powers to restore a gold-backed currency.

Most important of all, tell you readers to stock up on firearms and ammo, and to learn how to use these weapons. When marauding bands of the desperate underclass surround your house to demand your last jar of Tang, brandishing an AK-47 will cause them to go next door. A bazooka is better yet; these are freuently available at garage sales.

To be fair and balanced, I should also mention that your post might be postdictive rather than predictive. Viewed as a contrarian indicator, we should look for a dollar rally and an easing of the spot gold price in the next couple of weeks.

Dr Diablo said...

I forgot to mention something. It has nothing to do with the coming financial Apocalypse--except that it might take our minds off of it--but it is time-sensitive info.

Tomorrow night, 9-28-07, the Madison Area Open Arts Studio extravaganza kicks off with a mammoth three-hall exhibition of works by over 150 local artists. I believe they are self-selected, the only criterion for admission being the belief that one's work is worthy of the public's attention.

Since you're always bemoaning the neglect of local artistic talent, I hope we can count on you to attend, and to photograph the most prepossessing masterpieces. I think they'll have some free hors d'ouevres and punch, if that's an inducement.

Myself, I'm going to sit it out. I've seen enough still lifes of fruit heaped precariously in baskets, not to mention multimedia pieces with toothpaste and ceramic tiles plastered onto canvas. I like really bad art as much as the next person, eg, the hilarious stuff they post on the website of the Museum of Bad Art. However, it is not worthing driving Downtown to celebrate the Pedestrian, an aspect of Life which surrounds us daily.

I was going to submit an entry myself, but they rejected my ceramic ashtray. I guess they do have one exclusionary criterion.

Wren said...

You mean I haven't already been living on Schrute Bucks for 10 years now? Could have fooled me.

Madison Guy said...

Wren, what do you do with the extra five minutes of lunch?

New York Crank said...

Hey, you're not gonnna believe this bujt the dollar actually is good for something.

Toilet paper.

I've begun kvetching about the same subject on my own blog, but I must say, your catching the story that India is outsourcing the work it gets to underdeveloped parts of the U.S. kind of puts the icing on the cake.

The Bush Administration is turning the USA into a third world nation.

But the good news is, with the inflated price of houses -- even during the deflating bubble -- every homeowner is now a millionaire.

Too bad all a million bucks buys these days, besides a house, is two Hershey bars and maybe a bottle of Ex Lax.

Very crankily yours,
The New York Crank