Alrighty, I'm full of coffee now. Time for an indeterminant ramble on economics, design, and fish.
As globalization really hits the pipe, everything that can be done by telecommuting can be done by someone somewhere else on the planet. The communication barriers of language and cultural difference have tended to keep out-sizing within countries so far, but as the size of the world's globalized culture expands, this erodes.
So at the end of the day your employability boils down to how much fun you are.
The job pool an employer is looking at is no longer physically restrained to how many people live nearby, it extends to millions. Thousands of which will have exactly your skill level. So you better be good company. You better be the sort of person people just want to work with. And want to continue working with.
So ... while globalization is gutting what's left of stabilized cultures, it's also informing a new world culture where being nice is one of the most important things.
Wow. I really didn't see that one coming when I started down this line of thought.
Meanwhile there's sticky details like costs of living. I live in a cold country. Not only do I have a much higher standard of living than most other nationalities, but there's the plain fact that it much more costly to produce anything in a place covered with ice half the year. This naturally makes for considerable resistance to free trade. What to do?
One way could be to tie employment nationality and sales nationality: you can only make a percentage of your sales to a country based on the percentage of employees you have in that country. You've only got 20% of your staff in Canada? You may only sell 20% of your product there, and only 80% of your product can be sold elsewhere.
A second benefit of this scheme would be to replace company growth as the number one corporate strategy. Since your employment % is pre-known, and changing levels of employment is cumbersome, a company's economic focus would become optimizing that potential 20%, which would probably be best served by ensuring quality and customer loyalty.
This is also a nice thought because it avoids the cold-war backlash of being called "socialist" thinking. Meaning it has slightly better than the snowball's chance in hell that most nice economic ideas have.
(Yes ... I am appalled that I started thinking about economics when what I meant to do was sit back with my coffee and surf some flash sites.)
The internet really buckles all the ways we used to do everything.
Oh yeah. Design...
Remember streamlining? Remember 101 design books telling you that this decorative effect was the result of cultural fascination with airplanes and rockets and all those fast flying ("aerodynamic!") manmade things that were so new?
Well the underlying "style" of all the multiple types in the vogue right now is Change. What is unique about our time from all the times before is the rate of change. That is Velocity now. Not how fast you can throw something through the air, but how fast ways of doing and thinking change. Constantly changing style IS the style.
Enough is changing that all things are changing. The world and its ways of doing things was a 3d geometric spider's web of relationships radiating out from you. Now all of those connections are pulling as some lines snap, others form, some lengthen and some shorten. The equilibrium has been thrown, and this dancing web tugs maddeningly as it changes itself in all directions in dissonant waves.
So, people have kinda noticed this. We see we've noticed by the preferred "style": a different shape every day. Our attention is on Change.
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© 2001 Owen Briggs
last modified on 18feb01