Two of the worlds oldest civilisations are coming together to form a mammoth beast to take on the economic world. They are home to one third of the entire global population - 2 billion people. These people are not just "people", they are capitalists who are new on the block and they all want a slice of the "old money".
Ever since the Soviet Union was no more, the U.S.
has been the global dominator, or at least dreamed of it. But more recently there have been a few movements, some in opposing directions but toward a common goal - diluting the domination of the U.S. across the globe.
The first of these movements is the loosening of the grip that the US has on education and the creation of highly intellectual individuals who later become engineers etc. In 2004, India had five times more graduates of engineering than the US. China has 8.
5 times as many.
Again in 2004, 70 chemical facilities were shutdown and another 40 marked for closure. One could argue that this is because the cost of employer a chemist in the US is 5 times more expensive than China and 11 times more expensive than India. Globalisation and the concept of fractional work mean that these Chemists overseas are now very easily available for work in any country, for multiple clients.
The trade balance of the United States in high-technology goods swung from a positive flow of $33 billion in 1990 to a negative flow of $24 billion in 2003.
High-technology firms have to be on the leading edge of scientific and technological progress to survive. Intel Corp. Chairman Craig Barrett has said that 90 percent of the products his company delivers on the final day of each year did not exist on the first day of the same year.
To succeed in that kind of marketplace, U.S. firms need employees who are flexible, knowledgeable, and scientifically and mathematically literate.
OK, so we need flexibility and knowledge. We are all knowledge workers, this is the knowledge economy. We can sell our knowledge to anyone and with technology the buyer can be anywhere.
Another movement is the strengthening grip that China and India, Chindia, have both achieved in the hardware and software industries respectively.
Technology has enabled flexible work which in turn has allowed countries across the globe to have economic engagements with Chindia, India particularly. The time difference between Europe and India has proved to be an advantage (contrary to popular myth) as work can literally take place 24 hours a day with India working while Europe sleeps and vice-versa.
More generally, the U.S. is becoming self mutilating through excessive regulation in the era that we are in now post Enron, Global Crossing, OmniMedia scandals (to name only a few).
This regulation further slows the reaction time of companies to their respective markets. It increases cost base due to the increased headcount required in order to "manage" regulation. This of course increases sale price.
As if price competition with the East was not hard enough already, it just became harder.
The U.S. needs to forget about being a global dominator overnight.
"Put down your weapons"! The traditional gun-ho approach is not going to work here. Piecemeal is the way forward. In-source work, low volume, perhaps low (relatively) revenue. Build on this, don't try to build a corporate to take over the world, regulation won't allow that anymore. Plus if you try to take on the world, many will try to stop you - it's human nature.
But, if you try to work with someone else, they will try to work with you - that's human nature too. Some call this collaboration.
Only those who breed and foster creativity & innovation will survive. "Out of the box" is out, personalised is in.
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By: Stuart Oliver