Trying To Answer The What's Next Question
from the important-debate dept
CNET's News.com has been publishing their well done series of articles on offshoring this week, and have concluded with two that are worth reading. The first isn't really a part of the series, but goes well with it, explaining (again!) why protectionist plans don't work. This has been explained over and over again, and there are countless examples of how protectionist policies cause many more problems than they solve, but apparently, it needs to be reviewed once more. The second piece is much more interesting. The question that anti-offshoring people always bring up is "what other jobs are there?" They're afraid that all jobs will be offshored and then there will be nothing left (except, the example they love, flipping burgers). Of course, history has shown that's not what happens at all. The US was an agricultural economy for a long time, and we shifted and it certainly made life very difficult for a lot of people - but we innovated and created new jobs and a higher standard of living. We've done so again and again and again. So News.com is looking at what might be next. The problem, of course, is that it's difficult to predict what really is next. So often disruptive advancements seem to come from unexpected places. Researchers working on one thing serendipitously discover a completely different breakthrough that leads to an entire new industry. Of course, to put that all together though, we need to support better education and push for more research and development (which often isn't helped when companies only think in the short term thanks to Wall Street). However, to prepare for "what's next" we need to create a culture that involves constant learning and education focused on useful areas of expertise - and not so much on specific tactical expertise. Understanding how to make a horse and buggy isn't useful - but understanding the basic concepts concerning transportation is still useful no matter what mode of transportation is used. Having that base of knowledge, with constant additional training, let's someone work on buggies, automobiles, trains, planes and whatever else comes next.