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New players to shape new game

There are two inspiring thoughts in Thomas L. Friedman?s life that nudged him to author a book called ?The World is Flat? and both own their genesis to Bangalore.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 01:55 IST

There are two inspiring thoughts in Thomas L. Friedman’s life that nudged him to author a book called ‘The World is Flat’ and both own their genesis to Bangalore. During the making of a documentary on ‘The Other Side of Outsourcing’ in Bangalore, Nandan M. Nilekani told him how the global economy playfield is leveling off. That triggered the purgation for Friedman to clear the twentieth century cobwebs from his thought process. “My software is out of date”, he told his employers at The New York Times and took a sabbatical to discover a world that is fast becoming flat.

“But just when the world was becoming flat, India, China and the former Soviet Union infused nearly three billion new players into the system. And what is interesting is that these three billion players will shape the history in the times to come,” Friedman said at the Nasscom 2006 being held in Mumbai.

And the NYT columnist has his own distinctive way of capturing the new imbalance that the entry of India and China have contributed to the world order. “When I was young, my parents would tell me: “Have your food. There are thousands in India and China who are starving.” Now I tell my kids, do your home work. There are thousands in India and China who are wanting your jobs.”

According to Friedman, who has become an ambassador for the Indian outsourcing story, “The jobs of the future will be what I call the untouchable jobs. When the world becomes flat, the caste system will turn on its head. The survivors of the outsourcing era will be the ones whose jobs cannot be touched – be it a heart surgeon or a specialist in any other area. The other sets of untouchable jobs will be the localised ones – from your baker to the nanny, or nurse or the dentist.” The biggest opportunity for the new business is anything that is green, he said. “With the 3 billion new consumers walking into the system, there will never be enough power to fuel their high-end consumption patterns and therefore any form of green industry will sell.”

To sum up, Friedman’s message is: In the next decade, anything to do with the left side of the brain will be done faster and better by computers and Indians. Anyone else who wants to survive the Indian and Chinese outsourcing and offshoring story will have to cultivate his right brain.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 01:55 IST