“As everyone knows, the world has been flattened for the past three decades. This has opened the doors for dozens of nations and billions of people to enter the global economy. What many do not realize is that this era is coming to an end. Not that global integration is over or even slowing down. Far from it. But the developing world has reached the end of its rapid path to rising GDP and per capita income. Some call this the “middle income trap” – the idea that it is a lot easier to go from a lower income to a middle income economy than it is to jump to the next level. As if that weren’t challenging enough, this shift is happening at the same time all around the world. Every market is now in a competitive race with all the others, which have also been sprinting for the last 15 years to arrive at this same spot.
Simply put these growth markets have plucked the low hanging fruit of Global Integration Act 1. Now they face a radically more competitive arena, requiring higher degree of regulation, higher standards and higher expectations for everything – from product and service quality to working conditions to protection of intellectual property and the rule of law. The pay field is still flat, but the game is moving to a higher plateau. Despite the gloom and doom one hears, this moment actually presents exciting new opportunities for the developed world”
These are the words of Samuel J. Palmisano, the present Chairman of IBM in a recent article written by him for the NYT.
His words were an eye opener for me and reflecting on them certain thoughts came to my mind. For starters a commonly known phenomenon that, America has now acknowledged that people from other countries have entered / encroached into their yard and would soon enter their doors. But the realization has sparked into them zeal to take the game of catching up to a higher level. There is no despair in their voice. It’s a challenge now that they have accepted to remain ahead of the world and they don’t envisage vacating that slot as of now. America views itself as the global leaders amongst men; the best the human race have produced. Amusingly this premise or assumption or what else one may want to call it, has taken a ring of permanency and has gone beyond the ordinary ‘taken for granted’ type views. However the positive optimism that comes from these words is remarkable and far reaching. The never say die spirit is abundantly evident which has to be appreciated. Whether they succeed in retaining their image is a story for time to tell.
Another thought that hit me was the emphasis on levels of income and its direct link with degrees of regulations, standards, and expectations. It’s also obvious that every economic activity today would get hyphenated with money but what’s striking is how significantly has prosperity and advancement been associated with neat, clean and organised living. A common perception to judge the progress of human race has become the standard of living and quality of life visible in that nation. For example man living in societies has progressed from living in caves, to bundling a few huts together, to a disorganized caste centric village, to an organised urban ghetto, to a walled and gated city community which caters to every need like hospital, shopping, office, entertainment and sports. Every country has moved on this path and imitation of this trend has percolated to every small and big city around the globe. I believe that the future will see some quantum jump in living standards in the way we cook food, travel in cars, spend our leisure, live in harmony with nature, organise the workspace, and parenting kids. The future also would be considering these benchmarkings as sacrosanct to identify the advanced nations or in other words countries where people would love to stay. I presume that the coming centuries will see better living conditions being built across the globe, with higher degree of regulation higher standards and still higher expectations, with sizable funds being spent on issues concerning harmony, beautification, convenience, comfort and efficiency. It would be my wishful imagination to consider that once the community and governmental focus gets centered on this objective, many other problems like violent crime, law and order, clean energy, war, disease and epidemic, will scale down considerably. Citizen themselves who become exposed to such good living would not like to disturb the apple-cart, create or allow to continue such unpleasant situations. Of course I can see other pressing problems like food production and labour oriented industries because today they are associated with toiling hard against the elements. Man has to find alternatives to hard manual work and very soon this will become a necessity.