Thursday, February 14, 2008

Spinning a Global Plan -

Pretty good interview with IBM's Sam Palmisano talking about global ambitions.

Once again the issue comes up about foreign workers being a competition to US ones. I find this line of questioning to be uncreative.

1) This competition will push US workers into higher value jobs.

2) Opening markets abroad is essentially a form of global income redistribution. IBM (or any other company) actively doing business abroad creates jobs and wealth, which in turn creates new markets for goods and services.

Here are some money quotes:

WSJ: There's a lot of worry that globalization means fewer jobs and lower pay for U.S. workers. Is that a legitimate worry?

Mr. Palmisano: It's actually a big opportunity. Why not take advantage of it? The leading nation in the global economy is the United States of America. Great schools. Great capital formation. A system that works.

WSJ: Some would say that if you're helping Vietnam or South Africa build their education systems, it takes away job opportunities from Americans.

Mr. Palmisano: There is a real issue here where I think we need to do something more [in the U.S.]. IBM announced programs where we'll match money put in a learning account, and you can apply those tuitions to get future skills that you think are necessary for you.

WSJ: Can you give an example of a smaller country where your work has expanded rapidly?

Mr. Palmisano: Egypt's growing like crazy. We have a huge software laboratory in Egypt. It's doing development for IBM: software components and middleware. At the same time, it's doing commercial work, which they would view as an export business, you know, for clients around the world. The commercial business is growing double digits, right? Egypt is one of the largest populations in the Middle East and has a government that's trying to modernize its economy.

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