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In praise of - outsourcing.

Outsourcing is too often seen as the enemy of the white collar worker.

It's pleasing, then, to hear of an office drone in America – let's call him Bob, because that's the only name the world's media seems to have for him – who outsourced his own computer software job to a company in China. The really clever bit is he was paying them only one-fifth of the six-figure salary he was picking up.

According to Verizon, the auditing company called in when the man's employer became suspicious, Bob couriered his security dongle to China so that someone else could log on as him during the working day. Anyone who checked would assume he was working a normal eight-hour shift. He wasn't.

"All told, it looked like he earned several hundred thousand dollars a year, and only had to pay the Chinese consulting firm about $50,000 [£31,200] annually," said Verizon's Andrew Valentine. Nice work if you can outsource it, as they say in boardrooms these days.

And what did Bob do with his spare time? Watched cat videos, apparently. If you've never wandered down this particular tributary of the digital information stream, here's a precis: cat videos are YouTube videos of cats looking cute or odd or (particularly popular) like Adolf Hitler. There's even an annual film festival devoted to the genre.

Interestingly, satirical US website The Onion recently ran a feature on just this issue, interviewing US workers who had outsourced their jobs to the developing world for peanuts – or rice, in the case of a man in Jakarta. Even weirder, one clip showed a US worker watching what looked suspiciously like a cat video. Still, until we're told otherwise, let's just assume that truth continues to be stranger than fiction.

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