Many people admire companies like Uber or Amazon for the speed with which they build market share and “disrupt” the competition. There is more and more talk about “Uberisation” and when retailers go bust, they are said to have been “Amazoned.”
But we should perhaps stop and think: are we in fact praising nothing else but the return to old-fashioned exploitation? These companies’ main, crucial competitive advantage is cheap labour. OK, technology helps, but if they were to treat people who work for them properly and pay them higher wages, they would not be as rich as they are now.
I was reading the other day on the blog of excellent Bucharest-based economist Radu Craciun his latest article: “Is Eastern Europe the EU’s scapegoat?” When I read the headline, I thought the article was about Brexit; but in fact, Radu writes about how some experts in the EU claim that the single currency was created as a way to maintain the unity of the Union after it expanded “too rapidly” to the East.
Well, that’s new. I didn’t realise that, besides causing English people to behave irrationally against their own interests and vote to leave the world’s biggest trading bloc, Eastern Europeans are also guilty of inspiring what could turn out to be the world’s least successful currency union.
A common thread binds all developing and developed nations today – the issue of skill-creation. Dynamics of commerce are shifting, and in these changing times, our skill capabilities can help keep our countries competitive and relevant.