Two new types of workers are rapidly emerging in the global economy. The first is the data-processing programmer or clerk who prefers "telecommuting" to reporting in a structured way to a traditional office. The benefits and pitfalls for these workers and their employers are many, and several million people may be formally engaged in this fashion already. The second type of off-site worker is the off-shore data entry clerk based in low-wage countries, employed by Fortune 1000 companies. Such off-shore telecommuting is generating enormous savings to major U.S. firms, but it also may be depriving an entire generation of entry-level clerical and low-tech jobs to American youth at a time when they are desperately needed in the economy. This article explores many of the implications of both forms of telecommuting and poses a number of political, economic, and social issues for further research.
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