Thu, 11 Dec 2003 15:36:59 GMT

Brainpower is Getting Cheaper.

Edward Hugh and Marcelo Rinesi write in The Straits Times:

The 'new new economy' way – one that recognises that well-educated human minds are as much of a commodity as any standards-compatible central processing unit – involves software written by bright maverick programmers (maybe tucked away in an East European 'transitional economy'), the incredibly cheap communication infrastructure of the Internet, and literal warehouses of Indian mechanical-mental workers typing away for what to us may appear as bargain basement wages (but which are still more than they could otherwise earn).

This is how individual ingenuity, cheap technology and cheap intellectual labour defeat corporate R&D and expensive technology. Any American company that insists on playing by the old new rules, using a top cadre of shut-in experts, geographically centralised operations and sub-planetary mindsets, will find itself outflanked, outsmarted and eventually outstripped by a few guys with the right network.

Politicians and losing businessmen call it 'unfair competition', while the businessmen that are making money out of it prefer the expression 'emerging outsourcing platforms'.

We see it simply as an extension of Moore's Law to human beings, which can be put simply like this: The knowledge, expertise and ingenuity that you can rent for US$10,000 (S$17,300), or US$1,000, a year is rising exponentially.

[E M E R G I C . o r g]