OLPC, Followup

As long as the world is enduring the perils of globalization (Potential disease outbreaks, religious conflict, more fast food on Earth) we may as well really make it worth our own while – the most effective means of production we’ve got is also the easiest to divide up and do as chunks in separate hemispheres. I’m aware that international outsourcing is already taking place; that there are call centers and Visual Basic shops in developing countries. I know the setup is not ideal- who would expect it to be at this point? Certainly not those paying for it. But it’s a good start, and the quality of output will rapidly catch up.

But isn’t it a shame to move all those specialized jobs from the United States to a developing country? Absolutely not. The free market demands it, for one, and it’s immensely useful for both American businesses and the global economy I glossed over just a moment ago. If you’re not angry when your iPhone is manufactured in China, why would you mind if it’s programmed there too? I’m immensely pleased with the process. What the developing world craves is more development, and for that it needs to be transacted with freely. It’s far easier to outsource informational tasks than manufacturing orders. I know some people have issues with this:

If you feel protective of American jobs, how would you feel if your state passed a law that no business chartered within its borders was allowed to conduct business in neighboring states? That would harm both affected states and hamper the regional economy. This is a similar situation, if you’re of the mind that people on different continents are as important as the ones who live across the street.

Why is it that it’s so important for this to occur? Wouldn’t it be more desirable to our existing information economy for the second world to continue through the developmental epochs of subsistence agriculture into manufacturing before attempting to broker in information as we do? Absolutely not – any ‘leap’ over large-scale agriculture or crude manufacturing is desirable. Not only for the environment and public health, but for your own interests.

Incidentally, this kind of information brokering has already occurred, where dollars are exchanged for foreign labor in fair markets.

Rent A Coder is a site where you can post software projects or offer to do them. This is different from Craigslist primarily in that coders attempt to underbid each other for the gig.

Gold Farmers will spend hours playing games online so that they can sell you virtual stuff for $USD. Absurd, but completely rational, and a way for children to earn income in a place with no job market, while playing video games like children ought to be doing.

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is a beautiful reduction of the information economy into nearly atomic pieces. You can earn seven cents by coming up with a sports trivia question. One can take it as a suggestion that the third world is ready to enter the information age, and that we would all benefit from it.