Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Globalization, large enterprises and humanity...

In thinking deeply about India and outsourcing, I am starting to conclude that globalization is a symptom of a larger problem...

Folks in the corridors of large enterprises feel desparation as they watch life as they know it disappear. Employees shift into the mindset of there is nothing we can do about it mode. It's a set of habits of management that have become a trend in the nobody has shot us for doing this yet, so let's carry on.

As long as employees are willing to accept that they are worth orders of magnitude less than owners and managers, then "costs" stay down. Once employees get uppity and start believing they're worth a bigger piece of the action, then "globalization" can be created by shopping the employees to a place where they're either willing or forced to accept order of magnitude less compensation.

Over time turnover becomes a meaningless metric which further degrades into interpreting benefit structures as cost centers with little or no return. Over time, employee benefits further erode.

Globalization is the symptom of a larger problem of shareholder greed and the illusion of profit. Enterprisey Widgets sells stock. We buy it. We have no say in how the company is run and will never be paid any portion of the company's profits. Enterprisey releases Widget 2.0 and this stock, which has abso-friggin-lutely no intrinsic value, is suddenly worth more. Welcome to the Wall Street Casino, where we print our own money and the value of any particular currency on any given day is subject to whim and rumor.

When the disconnect between share value and actual production is as dramatic as this, when the whole reason to have a profit is so that the stock will become more desirable, then if you can redefine profit in a way that disconnects it from what you actually earn and actually spend, you can create a balloon of meta-money, sell it for real cash, and step gracefully off the sinking ship onto the deck of the next...

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