I work in a Call Centre. For one of our clients we are running a trial of outsourcing technical support to Pakistan.
It's via a web-based interface; you go to the site, if you can't find an FAQ that helps, you can post a question. You're automatically given FAQs that might answer your question based on keywords in your post, and if that doesn't help a chap in Karachi will respond personally via E-Mail.
We keep it to E-Mail and the agents in Karachi use assumed Anglo names; the client's perception is that Pakistani accents and names would create an unfavourable impression. I grew up in central London, so this attitude makes my skin crawl - I've known people born and educated in India and or Pakistan whose standard of English was higher than many Americans I've met, and I find the accent of 'Indian English' as charming in its own way as a 'Southern' accent, and at least as equally comprehensible, but the client gets what the client wants even if it smacks of small-mindedness. Their written English is excellent (very formal, a little old fashioned, you'd probably think they were English unless you knew how to spot the style of phrasing that points out their background) and their technical ability is very good as well. They have gone from 64% of the quality rating of the agents here in Holland to 8% better in the first two months of the trial.
Several of the agents in Pakistan have worked in the USA, at a far higher level than they are currently employed at, but due to the down-sizing in the IT industry and post 911 attitudes changing (from inoffensive polite cheap immigrant worker to potential terrorist being clutched to the bossom), they've had to return home.
Their jobs are very very good jobs for the area, and the company who work for us is NOT one of the five story 5,000 worker antfarms where workers have a desk 3' x 2' and are paid according to the number of calls they take (some call centres in the subcontinent are), it's a decent company.
I manage the outsourcing. I just have to make sure I communicate problems to them in way that gets the level of seriousness across or they tend to underreact, as they have a rather more leisurely laid-back attitude compared to the Northen Europeans that represent much of the work force here in Holland. They're a lot like the Spanish who work here; if you want something done quickly, you have to use more forceful words and a little more volume to get the same message across as with a Dutch person. I wrote an E-mail the other day where I practically ripped the Team Leader there a new asshole (in polite business English) as they'd just not reacted enough to a previous E-Mail I'd written 'normally', and got the right reaction straghtaway.
I also know that Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Latin America provide similar pools of cheap labour for similar operations, and that there are call centres in those areas.
Of course, people make one set of noises about American (or European) jobs being lost, and a whole different set of noises when they have to pay more for things! Costs of technical support in Pakistan are around 38% of what they would be in Europe. This probably boils down to 5% on the price of the item, maybe a bit less. Add in the fact the item is already being made in countries where labour costs are low, and you have a potential 60% price hike on most consumer durables. Don't talk to me about losing jobs either; I lost a job last year when a Taiwanese company closed down a Dutch factory as it wasn't cost effective to assemble computers there anymore...
Of course, what you could do is slap massive import tarrifs on things to protect inefficient local operations that would die in a free market place. This means developing countries are denied massive income streams they could win fairly and sqaurely and are often forced to become recipients of aid as a direct result of their ability to trade freely being curtailed. The inefficient local operations probably get government money as we as having trade tariffs fixed for their convenience, and both the higher prices they need to charge, the money that government uses to support these industries directly, and the money given as aid to countries that wouldn't need it if they could trade freely all come out of the taxpayers pocket.
We live on one planet, so we might as well live that way as it's only delaying the inevitable; inefficient industries all eventually die, normally after soaking up billions in government money. And anti-American, this is pro-free trade; the European Common AGricultural Policy is one of the unfunniest jokes going, and a fine example of protectionism.
Sometimes it does matter a shit what your daddy or grand daddy did, or even what you've done for half your working life. Eventually, if you can't get paid enough to do it anymore, you're gonna have to be creative rather than protectionist, as protectionism just puts off less pain today for more in years to come.