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Tom Peters on Outsourcing

February 26th, 2004 · No Comments

Tom Peters has “16 Hard Truths”. Among them:

1. “Off-shoring” will continue; the tide cannot be reversed.

2. Service jobs are a bigger issue than manufacturing jobs, by an order of magnitude.

3. The automation of business processes is as big a phenomenon in job shrinkage as off-shoring.

7. The wholesale, increasingly upscale entry of 2.5 billion people (China, India) into the global economy at an accelerating rate is virtually unfathomable. Unfathomable = Unpredictable, exceptional challenges, amazing opportunities.

11. Job creation is entrepreneurially led, especially by the small fraction of “start-ups” that become growth companies (Microsoft, Amgen, FedEx et al.); hence entrepreneurial incentives including low capital-gains taxes and high R&D supports are a top priority.

12. Primary and secondary education must be reformed, in particular to underscore creativity and innovation — the mainstays of high-value added products and services. Children should be nurtured on risk-taking, with a low expectation of corporate cosseting.

16. All economic progression is a matter of moving up the “value-added chain.” (This is not “management speak”: Think farm to factory to R&D lab.) The good news: Technology change is so vigorous for the foreseeable future that those who can “seize the moment” have lots of room to play.

Adds John Robb: “[Tom’s] conclusion: we need to train many, many more creative, risk-taking entrepreneurs. That will require a massive shift in how we educate our youth. The only reliable indicator of whether you will be an entrepreneur: you are the son or daughter of an entrepreneur. If that skillset can’t be transferred more generally, most people will be left behind.”

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