Why TikTok hustlers are talking about the ‘young Indian method’

A social media trend suggests that exploiting workers in countries with lower wages is the key to getting rich.

Every day, it seems like we get a new slice of dystopia as a treat. Today, it’s the “young Indian method.”

A man in a suit smiling while throwing money around against a blue background.

Jason Koebler of 404 Media recently wrote that the most disturbing thing he’d seen for sale in a Discord for TikTok hustlers was a ~$9 PDF explaining how to make money by doing mostly nothing.

What is the young Indian method?

As hustlers across social media explain it, it involves two steps:

  • Start a business where you offer a service, such as graphic design, content marketing, video editing, or web design.
  • Use Fiverr, Discord, or other online platforms to hire workers in countries where wages are typically low — such as India — for much less than you charge. Keep the excess for yourself.

The document Koebler found also discussed keeping workers “hungry” for more to prevent laziness and extract “maximum effort.”

Is this for real?

You can find videos explaining it as though it’s a viable path to entrepreneurship, but it’s unclear how serious anyone was about the young Indian method when the trend began or if anyone’s actually made bank using it.

But, more broadly, outsourcing work is something larger companies have done for years. Oftentimes, they pay those workers more than they’d receive from domestic employers.

However, David Levine — a business administration professor at Berkeley Haas who focuses on health in poor nations — said high turnover indicates workers still don’t cherish those jobs, and noted that larger companies rake in profits, likely sharing without their surplus.

“If you see a branded product from Apple, Nike or whatever, the assembly workers received a very small share of that value,” he said.

So, it’s nothing new?

It seems like it’s more something sad — the idea that with just a little hustle, you can exploit others just like the big guys.

But don’t you worry, because we may be well on our way to replacing underpaid workers with unpaid bots: One study found 44% of companies expect to replace workers with AI in 2024.

What could go wrong?

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