Virtual Imperialism: Easing the White Man’s Burden

Foreign Policy‘s Prerna Mankad brings us up to speed on the latest merging of the Internet and cheap foreign labor: the rise of “virtual personal assistants” (VPAs) from India who perform various mundane tasks for a nominal-to-Americans price. This, apparently, has created an ethical dilemma for some:

Is employing a VPA in India to respond to your every whim a neo-imperial, exploitative phenomenon? (Jacobs did experience other pangs of guilt as he found himself making stranger demands simply because he could.) Or is it a genuine win-win transaction, where clients in the West make the most of their purchasing power while entrepreneurs in the East expand their markets?

The answer, quite obviously, is Yes.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    Was a web-cam involved in any of his “stranger demands”?