Professionals Need to Compete Globally

Source: Economist, Sep 2011

The best and the brightest of the rich world must increasingly compete with the best and the brightest from poorer countries who are willing to work harder for less money.

David Autor, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), points out that the main effect of automation in the computer era is not that it destroys blue-collar jobs but that it destroys any job that can be reduced to a routine. Alan Blinder, of Princeton University, argues that the jobs graduates have traditionally performed are if anything more “offshorable” than low-wage ones. A plumber or lorry-driver’s job cannot be outsourced to India. A computer programmer’s can.

Thomas Malone of MIT argues that these changes—automation, globalisation and deregulation—may be part of a bigger change: the application of the division of labour to brain-work.

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