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Peter Drucker Sets Us Straight ( On jobs, debt, globalization, and recession)
Fortune Magazine ^ | 12 October 2003 | Brent Schlender

Posted on 01/03/2004 3:57:44 PM PST by shrinkermd

You can always count on Peter Drucker to provide a new way of looking at things. After all, he is the man who first recognized that management is a discipline worthy of deep and formal study. Long before anyone else—in the early 1950s, no less—he predicted how computer technology would one day thoroughly transform business. In 1961 he presciently called attention to the rise of Japan as an industrial power, and two decades later he warned of its impending economic stagnation. And we can thank him for coining the concepts of "privatization," "knowledge workers," and "management by objective."

At 94, Drucker is still full of insights that seem to elude others, and he is as opinionated as ever. His interests range from economics to psychology to philosophy to opera to Japanese art; his experiences include consulting with literally hundreds of companies, governments, small businesses, churches, universities, hospitals, arts organizations, and charities. To this day, leaders of all stripes make the pilgrimage to California to learn from the master, who continues to lecture at the management school that bears his name at Claremont Graduate University.

Drucker recently invited FORTUNE editor-at-large Brent Schlender to spend the better part of a day at his home in Claremont. It was two days before his birthday, and the professor was in fine fettle. You could tell, because the first thing he said was that he could certainly improve upon the list of questions and topics submitted beforehand ...

Question: You say that the U.S. economy today suffers from profound misperceptions. Can you give some examples of what you mean?

Answer: The structure of the U.S. economy is remarkably different from what everybody thinks. Nobody seems to realize that we import twice or three times as many jobs as we export. I'm talking about the jobs created by foreign companies coming into the U.S. The most obvious are the foreign automobile companies. Siemens alone has 60,000 employees in the U.S. We are exporting low-skill, low-paying jobs but are importing high-skill, high-paying jobs.

Question: But isn't it true that labor costs are much higher in the U.S., and that moving more manufacturing abroad harms our balance of trade?

Answer: Wage cost is of primary importance today for very few industries, namely ones where labor costs account for more than 20% of the total cost of the product—like textiles. I don't know what proportion of the cost of a typical American product is attributable to labor, but it's a small and shrinking one. Take automobile parts. Because of my consulting, I happen to know the internal cost structure for one of the world's biggest auto parts makers. They tell me that it is still very much cheaper to produce in this country—or maybe in conjunction with a maquilladora plant along the Texas-Mexico border—than to import, because the parts, while labor-intensive, are also very skill-intensive to design and make. When that's the case, you're still better off producing in this country. So the belief that labor costs are a main reason for producing outside the U.S. is justified for only a very small segment of industry.

Consequently, the industries that are moving jobs out of the U.S. are the more backward industries. The U.S. remains the cheapest place in the world to produce for many of the more advanced industries. I say that not because our wages and salaries are so low. They aren't. But employee benefits are much cheaper than in Europe, and American workers are more flexible. I don't just mean you can move people out of accounting and into engineering here; I mean physically moving people from Chicago to Los Angeles. Don't you dare try that in Germany. They won't go. That's one of the absurd byproducts of their huge and restrictive employee benefits: It's cheaper to allow someone to remain unemployed in the Ruhr than to move him to Stuttgart for a real job. The same thing is true in Japan.

So what I call "invisible" costs are quickly beginning to be more significant than direct labor costs. These are pension costs, benefits and health-care costs, and especially something nobody has yet assessed, which I call "reporting" costs, which are basically associated with complying with regulations, taxation, labor relations requirements, and the like.

Question: What about the widespread impression that the U.S. has an unemployment problem?

Answer: Nobody seems to realize that we have the highest proportion of our population in the workforce by far than any other country in the industrialized world. We have the lowest long-term unemployment rate in the West. Most of the unemployment we do have is not the long-term kind, but the short-term kind when people are between jobs for at most a few months. And we have easily the highest availability of good jobs for educated people who want to enter the labor force. We basically have no unemployment for college graduates, as they do in much of Europe. Now they all may not get the job they would like, and they may not get $70,000 a year the first year, but they get employed. And finally, when you think about it, in less than three decades we absorbed all the women who wanted to work into the workforce with no upheaval. It's quite remarkable.

Let's talk about the productivity of the U.S. economy. The numbers measuring productivity keep going up and up, even in this period of sluggish growth. I don't think you can trust all the productivity improvement figures that we see. But there's no doubt that in manufacturing we're seeing some basic changes in philosophy and in systems that may be comparable to the industrial revolution of the 1920s. The changes are coming, not by computerizing and automating production in the literal sense, but by systematizing production. In the past, the way to increase your productivity was to specialize. Today we design manufacturing and to some extent distribution not so much to maximize it but to optimize it. And the new manufacturing systems build flexibility into the system, which may actually result in a loss of immediate productivity by the way we currently measure it.

You see, these figures measure the productivity when work is being done, but they do not measure the loss of productivity when work cannot be done, such as when you're setting up a plant to make something different. I would suspect that the productivity increases are actually greater than all the figures we see because the new, more flexible manufacturing processes practically eliminate setting-up time, when manufacturing has to cease. In some cases this setting-up time has come down from three hours to four minutes. This does not show up in our productivity figures. Nor do the figures address the value of being able to change the mix of production, because they focus on the pure output of traditional mass-production industries. We don't quite know yet how to measure productivity in some of our newer industries.

Question: How can the productivity of knowledge workers be measured and improved?

Nobody has really looked at productivity in white-collar work in a scientific way. But whenever we do look at it, it is grotesquely unproductive. As you know, most of my work these days is with universities and hospitals and churches, which are three of the biggest knowledge-worker employers, and their productivity is dismal. In part this is because knowledge work by definition is highly specialized, and that means that the utilization of the knowledge worker tends to be very low.

The inefficiency of knowledge workers is partly the legacy of the 19th-century belief that a modern company tries to do everything for itself. Now, thank God, we've discovered outsourcing, but I would also say we don't yet really know how to do outsourcing well. Most look at outsourcing from the point of view of cutting costs, which I think is a delusion. What outsourcing does is greatly improve the quality of the people who still work for you. I believe you should outsource everything for which there is no career track that could lead into senior management. When you outsource to a total-quality-control specialist, he is busy 48 weeks a year working for you and a number of other clients on something he sees as challenging. Whereas a total-quality-control person employed by the company is busy six weeks a year and the rest of the time is writing memoranda and looking for projects. That's why when you outsource you may actually increase costs, but you also get better effectiveness.

Question: Many high-tech CEOs are worried about the higher-education system in the U.S., and especially the fact that there are fewer people studying technology. Does this concern you?

That's perfectly true. But there are two things they forget. We are the only country that has a very significant continuing-education system. This doesn't exist anywhere else. And we are the only country in which it is easy for the younger people to move from one area at work to another. That's impossible in Japan. If you're an accountant, you're an accountant. That's equally impossible in Europe. But here it is easy.

Consequently, our most important educational system in the U.S., unlike Europe, is in the employee's own organization. I'm conscious of that because my European friends, when they move into this country, are overwhelmed by the expectations they face. Look at the career path for many people here. Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of GE, worked in about half a dozen different categories—in sales, in design, in different product groups. In contrast, the head of Siemens never held a job outside Germany until he became CEO.

Question: What do you make of the recent so-called recession?

What we have been going through these past three years is most definitely not a recession. It's a transition—a transition with a lot of incongruities. Let me tell you a simple incongruity. We are going to have both fewer young people because of our own birth rate, and yet more young people because of immigration. For educated American young people there is no recession. But the immigrants have a mismatch of skills: They are qualified for yesterday's jobs, which are the kinds of jobs that are going away.

This also is especially hard on uneducated urban American blacks. Their great ladder of opportunity since World War II is going away. When Mr. Bush talks about the manufacturing crisis, that's what he's talking about. But it doesn't touch anybody else. And in reality there is no crisis: Manufacturing production in this country has doubled in the past ten years, even as factory employment has gone down. So our productivity improvement has to do with the shift from the old way of manufacturing to the new, more systematized form that happens to require less unskilled labor.

Questin: You sound fairly sanguine about the state of the U.S. economy. Do you see any danger signs?

Oh, yes. The biggest problem I see is our total dependence on foreign money to cover our government debt. Never before has a major debtor country owed its debt in its own currency. It is unprecedented in economic history. Japan, by contrast, owes all its foreign debt in dollars. Now if you devalue the dollar, the Japanese economy benefits, because their imports become much cheaper. And the value of their debt goes down also. The individual Japanese companies that invest in dollars would lose, but the overall Japanese economy gains. But we have no experience about what will happen here when we owe so much debt in our own currency and we're forced to devalue the dollar. Sooner or later, we're going to find out.

What's more, there is an enormous amount of surplus capital in the world for which there is no productive investment. The supply greatly exceeds the demand. So there is a very jittery body of excess money that is desperately in need of returns, and it could become panic-prone. We have no economic theory or model for this.

Question: Does the U.S. still set the tone for the world economy?

The dominance of the U.S. is already over. What is emerging is a world economy of blocs represented by NAFTA, the European Union, ASEAN. There's no one center in this world economy. India is becoming a powerhouse very fast. The medical school in New Delhi is now perhaps the best in the world. And the technical graduates of the Institute of Technology in Bangalore are as good as any in the world. Also, India has 150 million people for whom English is their main language. So India is indeed becoming a knowledge center.

In contrast, the greatest weakness of China is its incredibly small proportion of educated people. China has only 1.5 million college students, out of a total population of over 1.3 billion. If they had the American proportion, they'd have 12 million or more in college. Those who are educated are well trained, but there are so few of them. And then there is the enormous undeveloped hinterland with excess rural population. Yes, that means there is enormous manufacturing potential. In China, however, the likelihood of the absorption of rural workers into the cities without upheaval seems very dubious. You don't have that problem in India because they have already done an amazing job of absorbing excess rural population into the cities—its rural population has gone from 90% to 54% without any upheaval.

Everybody says China has 8% growth and India only 3%, but that is a total misconception. We don't really know. I think India's progress is far more impressive than China's.

Question:What is the most important impact of information technology on business?

Information technology forces you to organize your processes more logically. The computer can handle only things to which the answer is yes or no. It cannot handle maybe. It's not the computerization that's important, then; it's the discipline you have to bring to your processes. You have to do your thinking before you computerize it or else the computer simply goes on strike.

This enforced discipline has some disadvantages, because it often forces people to oversimplify. Also, the process of arriving at business decisions isn't always systematic enough to be supported by computers. You have to take the assumptions out of the mind of the decision-maker and put them explicitly into the process, along with a method to check them, and only then can a computer help you manage it. Older executives find it excruciating to have to be that explicit, because they just don't want to be. Besides, as we all know, many decisions are ultimately made by the hydrostatic pressure in the boss's bladder.

Question: Given all these systemic changes in how businesses plan and operate, do you think the role and status of the CEO is changing too?

In every boom there is a tendency toward hero-worship of CEOs. The smart CEOs methodically build a management team around them. But many of those celebrity CEOs who are so highly regarded don't know what a team is. Moreover, the compensation inflation for CEOs has done very real damage to the concept of the management team. In an executive program I have at Claremont, the typical students are general managers of major divisions at very large companies, and they are very well paid. But it's fair to say they are contemptuous of the excessive pay that many of their CEOs receive. J.P. Morgan once said the top manager of a company should have a salary 20 times that of the rank-and-file worker. Today it is more like 400 times that. I'm not talking about the bitter feelings of the people on the plant floor. They're convinced that their bosses are crooks anyway. It's the midlevel management that is incredibly disillusioned. And so the present crisis of the CEO is a serious disaster. Let me again quote J.P. Morgan, who said, "The CEO is just a hired hand." That's what today's CEOs have forgotten.

Question: Looking back on your career, is there anything you wish you had done that you weren't able to do?

Yes, quite a few things. There are many books I could have written that are better than the ones I actually wrote. My best book would have been one titled Managing Ignorance, and I'm very sorry I didn't write it.

I don't regret turning down Henry Luce when he asked me to be foreign editor of Time magazine, and later to be managing editor of FORTUNE. I wanted to keep teaching, and I wanted to do my own writing, which you can't do when you're working for a publication.

I'm also glad that another job I was supposed to have didn't materialize. After teaching at Bennington College, I planned to work with a friend at Columbia University who was starting a department of American studies. Dwight Eisenhower, who was then the president of Columbia, vetoed the funding. He was a cost cutter. I had already been approved by the trustees and already had a contract. All it needed was Eisenhower's signature.

On the day I was told I didn't have the job, I left Columbia and was going into the subway at 116th Street when I ran into another old friend, who taught at New York University. He told me he was going to Columbia to look for some teachers to help him staff a graduate school of management at NYU. Before I even got on the subway, I had signed up. And that is how I became a professor of management. So in retrospect I'm exceedingly glad the job at Columbia fell through.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Government
KEYWORDS: debt; globalization; jobs; peterdrucker; recession; trade
Marvelous article by a marvelous man. Fortune costs a pittance but remains well written, insightful and helpful to anyone who invests or thinks about current economic and political conditions.
1 posted on 01/03/2004 3:57:45 PM PST by shrinkermd
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Move your locale up the leaderboard!

2 posted on 01/03/2004 3:58:49 PM PST by Support Free Republic (Happy New Year)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: shrinkermd
Information technology forces you to organize your processes more logically. The computer can handle only things to which the answer is yes or no. It cannot handle maybe. It's not the computerization that's important, then; it's the discipline you have to bring to your processes. You have to do your thinking before you computerize it or else the computer simply goes on strike.

Eerily enough, I recall a snippet from a book whose name is forgotten, written ( possibly- it's been decades ) by Roberto Vacca, which asserted that it wasn't "computerizing" a business that made it more efficient so much as it was the re-thinking of processes necessary to implement the computer's use.

A streamlining of how things were done that eliminated redundancies, cut out deadwood, etc.

4 posted on 01/03/2004 4:13:11 PM PST by backhoe (--30--)
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To: pray and forgive
94-year-old?! Is this the same guy who wrote "In Search of Excellence"?

No, that was Tom Peters. But Drucker wrote a lot of other books and articles and pointed out many trends. I believe he got his education in Vienna, in the 1920s.

5 posted on 01/03/2004 4:44:49 PM PST by ikka
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To: pray and forgive
94-year-old?! Is this the same guy who wrote "In Search of Excellence"?
No.
Authors were:

Thomas J. Peters and Robert H. Waterman, Jr.

Drucker has been in the highest tier of Business and Management thinkers, writers, teachers for many decades.

And he is insightfully optimistic, in this interview. Sharp for 94.
6 posted on 01/03/2004 4:49:55 PM PST by truth_seeker
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To: backhoe
You are absolutely right.

You have to do your thinking before you computerize it or else the computer simply goes on strike.

I've been an IT professional for a quarter-century, and this statement applies to everything from applications design to systems engineering. If you haven't thought it out before it hits the processor, the only cure is to throw obscene and unnecessary amounts of money at the problem or give up and start over. I've profited from both.

7 posted on 01/03/2004 5:00:54 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: truth_seeker
Peter Drucker is one of the greats.
8 posted on 01/03/2004 5:02:25 PM PST by freekitty
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To: Billthedrill
What I vaguely recall ( this was about 30 years ago, in the era of mainframes ) was that he also asserted that sometimes the step up to computers was not even necessary- streamlining the flow of information was sometimes enough to get the desired efficiency.

I *think* the book was "The Coming Dark Age"-- but I wouldn't bet on that.

9 posted on 01/03/2004 5:17:45 PM PST by backhoe (--30--)
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To: shrinkermd
I attended a lecture Drucker gave at Wharton in 1990 or 91 (can't fix the date). He spoke for over an hour without one note and he was superb! You could hear a pin drop in the hall! His books are still unsurpassed in depth and thoughtfulness. Peter Drucker is an American treasurer!
10 posted on 01/03/2004 5:26:55 PM PST by TrueBeliever9
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To: shrinkermd; XBob
I will bump this one!
11 posted on 01/03/2004 5:29:44 PM PST by Cold Heat ("It is easier for an ass to succeed in that trade than any other." [Samuel Clemens, on lawyers])
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To: shrinkermd
Thanks for the post. A very interesting take. Thought provoking - different from some of my impressions.
12 posted on 01/03/2004 5:30:17 PM PST by RAY
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To: freekitty
I get Peter Drucker and Michael Porter mixed up. Have books from both and like Porter best.
13 posted on 01/03/2004 5:37:28 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: shrinkermd
Good article, but I think he may have it backward about owing debt denominated in USD as opposed to currency. My understanding was always that issuing debt denominated in foreign currency is what got you in trouble.

If the US issues debt denominated in dollars then those dollars have to be repatriated in the end of the day.

The vast majority of Japan's debt is denominated in Yen by the way. Dollar denominated bonds are typically issued by emerging countries.
14 posted on 01/03/2004 5:38:05 PM PST by hedgie
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To: hedgie
I think India's progress is far more impressive than China's.

India is a democratic country with more individual freedom than China. Freedom wins every time its tried. Go India!

15 posted on 01/03/2004 5:51:51 PM PST by Jabba the Nutt
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To: shrinkermd; All
In part this is because knowledge work by definition is highly specialized, and that means that the utilization of the knowledge worker tends to be very low.

Wow!!!

This slug was one of the dudes that tried, several decades ago, to "cool out the mark [manufacturing workers] by telling them to "retrain" and become Knowledge Workers.

NOW, he says Knowledge Workers are abysmally UNPRODUCTIVE and Thank G-D for OUTSOURCING!!!

Talk about Chutzpah!!

16 posted on 01/03/2004 6:01:00 PM PST by Lael (Bush to Middle Class: Send your kids to DIE in Iraq while I send your LIVELIHOODS to INDIA!)
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To: hedgie
"Good article, but I think he may have it backward about owing debt denominated in USD as opposed to currency. My understanding was always that issuing debt denominated in foreign currency is what got you in trouble.

That is what I thought as well. Perhaps some more will comment on this. Thanks for the courage to dispute this portion of Drucker's remarks.

17 posted on 01/03/2004 6:01:36 PM PST by shrinkermd (i)
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To: Lael
several decades ago = 1966!
18 posted on 01/03/2004 6:04:32 PM PST by Lael (Bush to Middle Class: Send your kids to DIE in Iraq while I send your LIVELIHOODS to INDIA!)
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To: shrinkermd
He spoke at my older sister's high school graduation (his son was in her class). Little did we know who we were listening to. Most of it went right past us--past me, anyway.
19 posted on 01/03/2004 6:06:00 PM PST by firebrand
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To: shrinkermd
... productivity in white-collar work ... whenever we look at it, it is grotesquely unproductive ... productivity is dismal. In part this is because knowledge work by definition is highly specialized, and that means that the utilization of the knowledge worker tends to be very low.

The inefficiency of knowledge workers is partly the legacy of the 19th-century belief that a modern company tries to do everything for itself. Now, thank God, we've discovered outsourcing, but I would also say we don't yet really know how to do outsourcing well. Most look at outsourcing from the point of view of cutting costs, which I think is a delusion. What outsourcing does is greatly improve the quality of the people who still work for you. I believe you should outsource everything for which there is no career track that could lead into senior management.

Okay. This is typical Drucker. He does identify and have an insight about a failing in business. But he misses why it is there. He brushes off a "legacy of the 19th-century belief" -- aw gee, if it were ONLY such. What other 100 plus year old faulty legacies are there in business? I can't think of ONE.

He doesn't really understand WHY the problem has lasted. In fact, given that the highest skill craft workers are also knowledge workers -- designers, tool makers, etc and those trades have been around for one hundred plus as well, you might wonder why this cultural problem in business hasn't already been addressed and healed long ago.

And failing to give a reason, to identify why the problem is sustaining, if not growing, he has no solution to it.

20 posted on 01/03/2004 6:14:35 PM PST by bvw
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To: shrinkermd
Wage cost is of primary importance today for very few industries, namely ones where labor costs account for more than 20% of the total cost of the product—like textiles. I don't know what proportion of the cost of a typical American product is attributable to labor, but it's a small and shrinking one. Take automobile parts. Because of my consulting, I happen to know the internal cost structure for one of the world's biggest auto parts makers. They tell me that it is still very much cheaper to produce in this country—or maybe in conjunction with a maquilladora plant along the Texas-Mexico border—than to import, because the parts, while labor-intensive, are also very skill-intensive to design and make. When that's the case, you're still better off producing in this country. So the belief that labor costs are a main reason for producing outside the U.S. is justified for only a very small segment of industry.

That calls for a mega-bump

The issue that I would take though is as follows:

Consequently, the industries that are moving jobs out of the U.S. are the more backward industries.

No, not really. From a sheerly theoretical perspective he should be right. He isn't taking into account market interruptions and predatory practices from one country to another.

I know we always hear about China's currency, but here's another example of that just to show a point.

Laptop manufacturers have found a way to discount the price of their wares.

If the components of the laptop yada yada make up 95% of the cost ...the components should cost the same then manufacturing should be done here.

Yet because of some economic practices in China, the computer companies are getting a 'dollar discount' by manufacturing in China.

The competitive environment between the two countries is not on equal footing.

21 posted on 01/03/2004 6:17:24 PM PST by maui_hawaii
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To: shrinkermd
Kudos to Drucker.

I agree, he is a marvelous thinker.

He predicted the demise of the USSR simply by noting that it was the first industrialized country in history to experience a lowering of life expectancy.

He has also written that when a society experiences an influx of foreign born to where they are over 5%, it is too much to assimilate successfully, resulting in societal tension.

He's like that old commercial; when he talks, we should listen.

22 posted on 01/03/2004 6:19:04 PM PST by happygrl
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To: swarthyguy
there is an enormous amount of surplus capital in the world for which there is no productive investment. The supply greatly exceeds the demand. So there is a very jittery body of excess money that is desperately in need of returns, and it could become panic-prone. We have no economic theory or model for this.

Among some insights.

He has some very complimentary things to say about India.

23 posted on 01/03/2004 6:32:31 PM PST by happygrl
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To: bvw
he has no solution to it.

The solutions are in understanding the problems.

Although, I believe the problem he was addressing was misconceptions.

Therefore, he offered the solution to that problem.

The correct assessment.

24 posted on 01/03/2004 6:39:22 PM PST by Cold Heat ("It is easier for an ass to succeed in that trade than any other." [Samuel Clemens, on lawyers])
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To: backhoe
it wasn't "computerizing" a business that made it more efficient so much as it was the re-thinking of processes necessary to implement the computer's use. A streamlining of how things were done that eliminated redundancies, cut out deadwood, etc.

and, in this context, threatens to reduce the human guts of business, which is a tragedy, because business exists to serve people (not vice versa) -- and does so best when people actually make the decisions (as opposed to having someone's algorithm make them).

25 posted on 01/03/2004 7:04:35 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (do not remove this tag under penalty of law.)
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To: shrinkermd
The dominance of the U.S. is already over. What is emerging is a world economy of blocs represented by NAFTA, the European Union, ASEAN. There's no one center in this world economy. India is becoming a powerhouse very fast. The medical school in New Delhi is now perhaps the best in the world. And the technical graduates of the Institute of Technology in Bangalore are as good as any in the world. Also, India has 150 million people for whom English is their main language. So India is indeed becoming a knowledge center.

Holy cow, it's because the U.S. doesn't produce anything with outsourcing being the coup de gra.

26 posted on 01/03/2004 9:09:18 PM PST by Mel Gibson (Sometimes the invisible hand gives you the shaft.)
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To: Mel Gibson
Dominance and leadership are not the same. He does not say that our leadership is over, he only points out the reason why it could be. His points about CEO's are extremely good.
27 posted on 01/03/2004 9:50:01 PM PST by AmericanVictory (Should we be more like them, or they like us?)
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To: Lael
Actually, its very true. When I was managing a group of junior IT architects, we spent most of our time taking escalations and putting out fires than doing real redesign and automation work.

Most specialized IT workers spend too much of their time doing low-end tasks that a monkey could do, like doing terabyte data transfers in the middle of the night for a big move after you designed and dropped in the infrastructure :-) ... this when you have a _Move Team_ available 'cuz they don't want to do it...
28 posted on 01/03/2004 11:27:18 PM PST by superloser
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To: Lael
Your tagline is trollish bullcrap.
29 posted on 01/03/2004 11:44:45 PM PST by stands2reason ("Dean is God's reward to Mr. Bush for doing the right thing in the war on terror." Dick Morris)
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To: shrinkermd
Hmmm...if the unskilled labor market is dissolving - so too is the demand for political propagandists ("...watch out fo the little guy", "....tax the rich")- the Dems will need another path.

I don't see it, however. Our decades long neglect of primary educaion will bite us hard.
30 posted on 01/04/2004 2:28:47 AM PST by The Raven
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To: The Raven
bump
31 posted on 01/04/2004 4:09:35 AM PST by tom paine 2
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To: hedgie
The problem with having debt in our own currency is that it's leading to a sense of complacency, leading to the idea that we can support our debt by printing more money.
32 posted on 01/07/2004 1:08:07 AM PST by Cronos (W2004!)
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To: Jabba the Nutt
Chinese economic figures are hyped up -- standard commie practise. The real boomign economies are in Eastern Europe, India, Russia and the ASEAN region, though the ASEAN region is fast maturing, with Singapore and South Korea already acknowledged as developed nations and Malaysia and Thailand (in that order) are nearly there as well. Eastern european states like Poland need to control their unemployment (nearly 20% now)
33 posted on 01/07/2004 1:16:47 AM PST by Cronos (W2004!)
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To: Lael
Nope, what he means is outsourcing to specialised companies. For instance, your company needs to have a data warehouse set up. Which would be simpler: hiring new employees with those skills and make them make the DWH or hire a company with expertise in that area to create the DWH? Like IBM or something?
34 posted on 01/07/2004 1:18:17 AM PST by Cronos (W2004!)
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To: bvw
designers, tool makers

you're not getting it -- for a company that may not need 24/7 tech support it would be cheaper to hire a contractor for the times it needs it, rather than hire a top-notch techie and have him/her working for only a few days a month.

However for smaller companies, if the tech guy doubles up as somethign else -- say marketing etc. it could work, but again, a company can't retain specaialists unless at a high cost. Designers, tool makers are needed on a much more frequent basis. THough even designing is better left to professionals -- Pinninfarina's designs come to mind.
35 posted on 01/07/2004 1:23:24 AM PST by Cronos (W2004!)
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To: shrinkermd
In China, however, the likelihood of the absorption of rural workers into the cities without upheaval seems very dubious.

This is very true, you don't hear about it much, but there are scores of workers who literally INVADE cities looking for work...China is pretty screwed up.

36 posted on 01/07/2004 1:36:59 AM PST by Benrand
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To: shrinkermd
Bump for optimism over pessimism.
37 posted on 01/07/2004 1:51:46 AM PST by laredo44 (liberty is not the problem)
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To: happygrl
He has also written that when a society experiences an influx of foreign born to where they are over 5%,

That does seem logical, but what about durign the 1800s when the immigrant population was way over that percentage. Maybe the fact that immigrants headed west and there were more lands to the west that prevented any such tension.
38 posted on 01/07/2004 4:25:46 AM PST by Cronos (W2004!)
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To: AmericanVictory
Dominance and leadership are not the same
Quite true, I think we couldn't expect to lord it over hte world for eternity, however our leadership is respected by those democratic entities (yes even in France where most folks don't think France could be the leader, just a sort of devil's advocate)
39 posted on 01/07/2004 4:27:37 AM PST by Cronos (W2004!)
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To: Benrand
This is very true, you don't hear about it much, but there are scores of workers who literally INVADE cities looking for work...

Yes, but he says that India managed to reduced it's rural population from 90% to aroudn 60% without any upheaval. I wonder how they did that.
40 posted on 01/07/2004 4:29:31 AM PST by Cronos (W2004!)
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