Guest post by “ecofreak”. Check out the blog at http://economicsoftheworld.blogspot.com
This article is inspired by the readings from Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat where he discusses how over time, especially in the last decade the world has become a “level playing field”. Specifically during the IT bubble era, massive investments were made to connect the whole world through broadband and undersea optic cables. Computers became cheaper and widespread, and there was advent of e-mail, IM clients which made communications amongst people in various parts of the world cheaper and convenient. Availability of information was made easier by search engines like Google and Yahoo!. Propriety softwares were engineered which could divide the work into logical pieces and distribute one part to Bangalore, one part to Boston and one part to Beijing where they would be developed simultaneously to be later assembled as a complete product.
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There are uncountable benefits of such kind of a product development process. It not only makes the production cost come down but also adds a new dimension to the product. Production cost is reduced significantly as the parts of the job are assigned to the places where they can be done at the lowest cost. For instance, the design process of the Apple products is done in USA while the manufacturing is done in Taiwan. Hadn’t it been like that, Apple couldn’t have afford to sell an I-Phone for $200. Moreover, people from various cultures, where the needs vary can add new dimensions to the product in order to make it globally usable, thereby increasing the market size for the product. Consumers gain by the competitive price and high quality of the product. All in all, people with best possible skills come together to develop a product.
There is no doubt that America is one nation driving this change in product development process. Be it Google or Yahoo! or Microsoft or Amazon, all are the creations of American nationals. It is due to the research going on in American universities that we have such high speed internet connectivity and companies can now do round table video conferences with their colleagues in other countries, discuss the prototype along with planning and distribution of tasks. But has USA really gained from it, from a long term perspective? Recently, there has been a lot of hue and cry over jobs being send overseas. People of America are for sure facing tough competition from their counterparts in Bangalore and Beijing. But that is the strength of our character; we are always at our best when challenged. Instead of wasting our time on putting up rallies on this issue, we should accept the fact and face it with wit and vigour. We should learn lessons of hard work from Indians and Chinese. And always remember one thing, be it good or bad, the time always changes for “Nothing but only change is permanent”.