Our Coinage, Their Coins
This week, the New York Times’ renowned foreign affairs columnist and authority on globalisation, Thomas L. Friedman, devoted his column to the phenomenon of the ‘zippie’. It was on the pages of this magazine that the word ‘zippie’ first figured (The Zippies Are Here, Jan 12, 2004) on the "young city or suburban resident, between 15 and 25, with a zip in the stride". The zippies, we noted, are "liberalisation’s children" and suffer no guilt pangs about huge salary packages. Friedman—author of The Lexus and the Olive Tree, a comprehensive pro-globalisation guidebook—quotes generously from the Outlook article, pointing out how the educated and ambitious zippie will do American white-collar jobs for a fraction of a dollar salary.
"Indian zippies are one reason why outsourcing is becoming the hot issue in this year’s US presidential campaign," writes the right-winger who is bullish on free markets and global capitalism. But Friedman is optimistic about its long-term benefits. "As zippies soak up certain US or European jobs, they will become consumers, the global pie will grow and ultimately we will all be better off," writes Friedman. Such views have made him the pet hate of WSF proponents.
Friedman, who supports outsourcing "basic jobs" to India and China as long as the US is able to maintain its edge in high-end technological innovation, cautions there’s a need to "get real" on policy. The zippies, after all, can’t be allowed to zip too far ahead.
By Anupreeta Das