Thursday, March 04, 2004

Op-Ed Columnist: Small and Smaller

Op-Ed Columnist: Small and Smaller "...The first era, from the late 1800's to World War I, was driven by falling transportation costs, thanks to the steamship and the railroad. That was Globalization 1.0, and it shrank the world from a size large to a size medium. The second big era, Globalization 2.0, lasted from the 1980's to 2000, was based on falling telecom costs and the PC, and shrank the world from a size medium to a size small. Now we've entered Globalization 3.0, and it is shrinking the world from size small to a size tiny. That's what this outsourcing of white-collar jobs is telling us — and it is going to require some wrenching adjustments for workers and political systems.
Globalization 3.0 was produced by three forces: First is the massive installation of undersea fiber-optic cable and bandwidth (thanks to the dot-com bubble) that have made it possible to globally transmit and store huge amounts of data for almost nothing. Second is the diffusion of PC's around the world. And third (what I missed most) is the convergence of a variety of software applications — from e-mail, to Google, to Microsoft Office, to specially designed outsourcing programs — that, when combined with all those PC's and bandwidth, made it possible to create global "work-flow platforms."

(Thanks to Richard Eckel)

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