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12/29/2008
09:29 AM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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#1 Job Threat Is Technology, Not Globalization

In these high-anxiety times, are you worried your company will send your job overseas? The authors of a new book say you're right to be afraid -- but not of outsourcing. They contend the real job-grinder has been the productivity engine of IT and that fears of outsourcing and other globalization issues are "wildly overblown."

In these high-anxiety times, are you worried your company will send your job overseas? The authors of a new book say you're right to be afraid -- but not of outsourcing. They contend the real job-grinder has been the productivity engine of IT and that fears of outsourcing and other globalization issues are "wildly overblown."A review of the book in The Wall Street Journal starts off with a jolt: "Worried about your job being sent to China? If so, then you'll never see the bigger threats lurking on the other side of the cubicle wall." It then goes on to offer a lively overview of "Globalization: The Irrational Fear That Someone In China Will Take Your Job," noting that the authors put forth a view of today's global economy that is quite contrarian to many widely held views. Here's an example:

Trade as a share of global output rose until 1920, thanks to improvements in shipping, which helped build foreign markets for commodities such as grain and coal. But this trade expansion proved limited and cyclical. Commodities became cheaper and thus commanded a smaller share of household budgets. Consumers were able to spend more money on manufactured goods, such as washing machines and automobiles, that were harder to globalize because they depended on local sales networks and consumer preferences. That caused global trade's importance to shrink -- until midcentury, when overseas markets heated up again.

The review was published on Dec. 24 and I bought the book on the 26th but due to the vicissitudes of Christmas-related traveling and merry-making, I confess I have not read it and therefore have no original thoughts of my own to offer. But the subject itself and the stimulating picture of the book presented by the WSJ review would appear to make it a must-read for Global CIOs looking to develop the right strategies for success in these uncertain times.

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