Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Poetry of Change

Starting to read Tom Friedman's "The World is Flat", which in some ways is about my own little world of technology, change, global economic realities, and how things are changing at the speed of cash and technology.

Advertisers at my travel websites over the past few years have come from all over the world - in addition to Google ads which cover the globe, money will sometimes come in from England, Japan, and other places - easily wired into my bank or sent via Paypal. I've never met or even spoken with most of the people who pay for advertising at the sites.

At Online Highways we have a team of data / text editors working for us in the southern state of Kerala. Language has been an issue and it's not clear that the quality of English is high enough to justify outsourcing for writing, though it appears programming quality is equivalent in all but cost.

So from a business perspective the results of my flat world are mixed, but I'm very optimistic for the poor of China and India who, over time, will increasingly fill the thousands of niche service and industrial markets in USA, Japan, and EEC, bringing a higher standard of living and better infrastructure to many in those countries.

I've never been very sympathetic to the socialist notion that the developed world prospers by exploiting the undeveloped world. On the contrary I think it's the absence of advanced capitalist markets that keep the downtrodden ... down. Excellent "experimental" evidence supporting this comes from a comparison of the "capitalist free" economy of North Korea with the capital intensive economy of South Korea.

There are exceptions to the rule that capitalism is the answer for the poor, but I see globalized entrepreneurial capitalism as a solution far more than a problem, especially for those mired in undeveloped world poverty. The sooner they can get a higher level of participation in the globalized, developed world economies the faster they can bring needed infrastructure improvements to their countries and raise the standards of living.

I expect the forces now swirling in these directions to slightly lower the standard of living in the developed world, but this is a small price to pay and may even have benefits that are hard to anticipate. Are Smoking, Obesity, and Alcoholism correlated positively with affluence? A good research project for later.

JoeDuck's Blog

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