I am an economist by training, and also an investor in cross-border startup teams. On both fronts, the original article strikes me as unfair and inaccurate.
The fact is that there are scores of successful valley start-ups and product tech companies, with successful teams of product engineers in good ol' India writing their core production ready code - (not low cost "back-end", whatever that means) - I could name dozens of such companies.
Equally, there are new several start-ups founded in India going after global internet product markets (see freshdesk.com, recently funded by Accel Partners).
Like in the Valley, some of them hire great programmers, some average, and some awful. This reflects the labor pool of a deep market of available talent.
The "original" OP is clearly being unfair to hard working entrepreneurs and hackers in low-cost economies. As well as disregarding, basic economic theory of a connected global labor market. (Sorry Paul Krugman!).
Disclosure: I am investor in the OP who wrote the response.
p.s: Replace "India" with low cost country of choice.
The OP is clearly guilty of over generalizations. Some of the most effective startups I know are successful because of the cost/speed advantages they have been able to realize by utilizing developers in India, E. Europe, Phillippines, etc.
>Some of these programmers are terrible. Some are awesome. I dare say, just like in NYC? :)
Only with a different percentage of terrible and awesome.
>Do all Indian/Pakistani/Egyptian/etc. hackers deserve to be painted with the same brush?
No, of course there are great Indian/Pakistani/etc programmers.
But generalising is not about being fair or accurate.
Generalisation is a compromise between being accurate and making a decision in time.
It's about being accurate _enough_ to make decisions as correct as possible without getting lost in the minutiae.
And the reason people generalise about Indian/etc programmers is because they have been burned a lot of times by them (and not as many times by NYC programmers).
If I had a nickel for every "please sir, solve my programming problem from me" type by an Indian programmer in an internet forum I would be rich. And a lot of those posters are not kids in school. They openly admit they work for a company, programming.
Agree with you that generalizations are statistical. However, that does not condone them. I don't want to take up racial examples, stereotypes don't help communities. Nuanced debate and constructive debate does.