Saturday, February 19, 2005

Globalization - For the Lazy?

While perusing through the IT Toolbox newsletter a link took me to the blogs there ( where a post named “Perspectives on Globalization” by Indranil Mukherjee caught my eye. With several of his colleagues Mr. Mukherjee put forth a premise that “the human race is basically lazy and whatever progress (or otherwise) in Civilization we have made so far has been largely instigated by our desire to exert less to achieve quantitatively similar or higher results.”

This axiom he then tossed out for comments from which most seem to focus on events in civilization that resulted in major changes in how life was lived.

The fact that people are lazy comes as no surprise. I resemble that remark if I can. But I have to stand opposed to the premise stated above. Globalization is used in a business context in this writing and it is intimated that outsourcing of IT services to India might be part of this process.

Outsourcing has nothing to do with lazy. It has everything to do with getting work done at lower cost. Nothing inherent about that says that there is less work!

In an entrepreneurial stage of my life I spent two years building business plans to raise money. The first plan raised $300K and added several people, the second version of the plan raised $900K and added a few more. The third version of the plan raised $1.2M and the fourth raised $1.6M which got us commitments for $45M in real estate and working capital lending which got us $22M in equity.

That was two years of work just to get ready to work. For once we had the capital we had to start the startup and operate the business which took another two years. The business was a vertically integrated international (multiple continents) supply chain for perishable food goods. That was some globalization which made progress in the industry we were in and no one got to ‘exert less to achieve similar or higher results’.

In fact the US for example, and most industrialized nations work hard to improve productivity each year so that they can increase outputs with fewer inputs and increase profits. As a business process practitioner I would not say that the result of those increase profits has anything to do with being lazy.

Eli Whitney’s cotton gin had nothing to do with lazy, it had everything to do with speed and quality. From one pound of clean cotton a day per person to 50 pounds per person with the cotton gin.

In closing, lets take about Mr. Mukherjee’s axiom and say that business is always looking for progress to ‘exert less to achieve quantitatively similar or higher results’ but laziness is not the source or intent of the action. It is productivity and the increase in the profit of the activity. Pure capitalism and entrepreneurship.

It might be interesting to ask the author of the premise to change it removing lazy and inserting PROFIT instead. Capitalism would also work. That is why people do things as necessity is the mother of invention (preferably with a profit motive behind it).

Those of us who have been or are entrepreneurs and are capitalists (in varying degrees) will testify that they are not working less (though many would LOVE to be lazy).



At 2:36 PM, Blogger Ralph said...

Somehow I fail to understand how outsourcing call center operations is because companies (or the humans comprizing these companies) are lazy. Given the difficulties in running such operations in the same facility, its is certainly not laziness that would cause you to move the operation 5,000 miles and several time zones away and staff it with people with a different culture and idiom (if not language). I think it might be the un-pc profit motive. But hey, I'm a mindless blogger (reference IMAO).

At 2:46 PM, Blogger Ralph said...

As usual. I can't manage to complete my thinking in one post (or at least create a good complete statment). I did not make the point about how critical call center operations are and the risk engaged by outsourcing them. Somebody may be lazy in this decision but certainly not the people being held responsible for the activity. Traceback to my blog for the IMAO blog quiz.


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