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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
Less play, more work Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Cardenas, United States Nov 21, 2007
Education , Technology , Globalization   Opinions


When you see poor people in undeveloped countries, talking on cell phones, text messaging, sending e-mails, surfing the web, using chat rooms, blogging, tagging, playing video games, downloading or uploading music, pictures and videos; you may ask yourself: Well then, how come economic progress keeps on dodging this people, since they do not seem to be in the loosing side of the digital divide. But they are.
If we deduct like the economist writer Thomas L. Friedman when he describes in his latest book “The World is Flat” a competitive environment where people around the world are in equal terms through the access to information technology. Since IT is the essential tool to set a platform that sustains the new global economy of workflow, uploading, outsourcing, off-shoring, supply chaining, in-sourcing, in-forming and portability. Nevertheless, people in undeveloped countries find themselves foreign to these obvious concepts in the global market. Its like they have discovered TV and have been having lots of fun watching MTV and American Idol, but when it comes to News and the Stock Market the information turns into gibberish.
Well, the sad awakening comes when we realize that to move the economy one cannot be just a consumer, but also a producer that innovates, creates and delivers; and for that to happen a huge leap must take place. The ‘digital divide’ it turns out is a fast increasing gap of knowledge, digital knowledge that is progressively piercing every system in modern society. Although undeveloped countries are increasingly acquiring more and more PCs with all the bells and whistles, they are still far behind the ability to control e-commerce tools such as Databases, electronic financial mechanisms, marketing, etc, in their traditional business. In few words buying the goodies will not bring the ‘know-how’.
Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Bangladesh is perhaps a good example of fast economic progress implemented with a combination of IT knowledge and the right set of language skills within a stable political environment; like a well greased machine this region of the world has been transformed overnight by large corporations willing to bring their workloads to get things done literally while we sleep.
The affordability of PCs and mobile phones has definitely revolutionized thousands of small towns around the globe, who otherwise would remain in isolation. The mere use of text messaging has represented a change bigger than the Fax during the cold war era. But such phenomena have plateaued and it needs to progressively generate a cycle of production-consumption that can provide financial benefits for their own, otherwise the consumption curb will vent over and die like any other market where buyers do not consume for lack of knowledge rather than for a lack of money.
We are living a radical transformation in the way business is done around the globe. Those that produce will achieve progress and for that they need to master their trade within the complex dynamic of global exchange of goods. Products nowadays are planned, designed and manufactured across several countries almost simultaneously; using parts and labor from distant parts of the planet in a synchrony of schedules, information and transportation; possible only through the proper management of digital information. Such information is creating complex technology that requires experts to update themselves constantly, which makes the demands on education even bigger for future generations. Young professionals have to embrace IT as a basic tool to succeed in business and need to innovate based on knowledge and experience almost like a conditioned reflex, in other words poor countries in the digital world need to do less play and more work.



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An Ecuadorian & US citizen, who has worked with community based organizations all his life.
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