Wednesday, January 24, 2007


This is the era of competition. "May the best man win" is an axiom that is played across geographies. What happens to the people who are not good enough? They will have to settle at a place in the value chain which is in-line with their skill level. The ultimate 'Ayn Randes'que celebration of capitalist instincts.

Will people be able to do this easily? After all we all passed through academics and have played sports where you end up or losing. It should not really matter as long as each individual feels he is giving his best. But it does not end up being so simple. It is one thing to lose your job, its something beyond to live with the fact that your job has been taken over by someone you consider'racially' inferior. Or someone who does not belong to your group. That is protectionism comes into place, that is the reason you have anti-outsourcing protests.

Of course, what needs to be understood is the fact that the 'best man' is a generic term for a total package. Someone in Europe can be very talented, but when compared to someone in India with somewhat lesser talent but coming in at atleast 40% cheaper, the companies will take call. Right now the trend is for 'cheaper' quality but this if may change in the future. Even more frightening is the prospect that someone who has been the best in his field for years ( a steel technician in US) will find that he has to increase his skill sets, take a pay cut, move to a more cost effective location, change his field(with age learning new skills to change fields becomes that much more difficult) or find himself out of a job. This is where governments of the land come in. They provide the back up in terms of financial incentives for salaries or facilities for retraining. This is where India could find itself hammered for some time. US and Europe have for long had a social security net, but India could find itself hardpressed for financial resources if a large portion of our work force becomes redundant because of alternative cost-effective locations. A large number of educated youth entering the work force means that new skills will easily be learnt(Indians know the art of survival) but re-skilling remains an underlying problem.

Compassion for others, caring for the poor etc are virtues across all religions precisely because if every individual were to become a cut-throat capitalist then people who have no skill have no hope of survival. The governments are the only hope then and that is dangerous.

Unguard, fight to survive.

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