Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Blue Collar, White Collar, & the Future

When I was in college I was trained a what I believe was and is one of the best public university undergraduate business programs in the country. We were taught how to be corporate soldiers. Whether it was accounting, management, marketing, or Finance, all of us learned the tools needed to run any corporation. What we didn't learn were the operations of what that corporation might do. We didn't learn how to build anything. We didn't learn to design much, beyond a few spreadsheets. Some of us can sell, but we didn't learn about what we are selling.

20 years ago it would take about 25 people to do what it takes 5 to do, in about half the time. The ratio in the future will likely increase in its efficiency. Where will that leave our workforce?

What plans are in the minds of our corporate leaders and political office holders? Are they thinking it will all just work out? Do some think that in 50 years we will not build or make anything and only provide services to the world? It appears that is the model we are heading towards. China, India, and South America will make everything, and we will sell it and buy it. The job skill sets in America are shrinking. There are fewer companies that doing fewer things. Will there be enough jobs to support our economy? How long can we make money when we are just trading sticks of butter, taking a cut in each transaction? Would it not be better to not only sell the butter, but make it too? Do we not in the long run make more money when we don't out source everything? At some point the market for outsourcing will crash, and companies will scramble to find people to answer the telephone, let alone find people to service their Servers or make their toothbrushes. What companies are looking beyond stock price? What are we going to do when consolidate everything as far as we can? Will CEO's ever care about anything other than share price?

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