📊 EV’s Charts of the Week #90
Globalisation, postdocs, le Roi Soleil, Pakistan, Apple++
Hi, I’m Azeem Azhar. I convene Exponential View to help us understand how our societies and political economy are changing under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies. Every Wednesday, I do this in Charts of the Week.
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DEPT OF GLOBALISATION
Globalisation is changing shape rather than being fully in retrograde, argues Martin Wolf. While the growth in the trade of goods has slowed down, those in services (specifically, at a distance services, like IT support or office offshoring) has grown rapidly.
A few thoughts about where this ends. Offshoring white-collar tasks is another case of labour cost arbitrage. For recipient economies, it isn’t clear that having a large outsourced service sector really helps develop those economies at any scale. (Tata and Infosys are two examples of outsourcers that have climbed up the value chain, but still de minimis for the Indian economy overall.) The client will always be looking for the cheapest place to do business. In addition, improved AI and automation will compete at the low-end. Increasingly large swathes of BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) are being replaced by better software architecture and RPA players, like UIPath.
Any country benefitting from the growth in traded commercial services, needs to figure out its path to building a sustainable economy. And that, I think, needs to revolve around the base of a stronger local economy.
Economists are flocking to tech companies. They combine quantitative tools with a better understanding of human behaviour and so complement the harder statistical skillsets of computer scientists.
Worryingly, the number of postdocs in bio is declining. This could become a key skills bottleneck as we try to scale up the promise of synthetic biology.
Source: Michael Graham Richard
In the previous edition of the Charts of the Week, we asked for how much a Central African Republic citizenship is sold in USD, with the equivalent Sango Coins held as collateral for 5 years. 33% of readers selected the correct answer: USD 60,000.