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Alexandre Perrin

Hi,
It seems that globalization is not such a new concept ! I think that new technologies and trans-national agreements have increased the pace of globalization. In France, globalization means "delocalization" for a lot of people. They cannot accept that an Indian worker do the same job, at half price ! We are now in a post-industrial society, says Peter Drucker. If it is the case, Europe has to be the first knowledge-based economy in the world (http://europa.eu.int/comm/lisbon_strategy/speeches/index_fr.html).

Eric Briys

Alex,
Good point! Globalization is by no means a new concept nor a new phenomenon. As a matter of fact, it is fair and accurate to say that the pre-1914 world was by far more globalized than it is today (see Suzanne Berger's book for evidence of this)! However, it is true that a lot of people worry about this Indian guy who is going to steal their job from them. But, this has always been like this and the net result has always been more wealth for everybody. David Friedman, Milton's son, has a nice metaphor about this. Indeed, the US-Japan trade deficit has triggered a lot of criticisms from US workers who complained about Japan car manufacturers killing their industry. They asked for tariffs and protection. David Friedman simplifies what is at stake by saying that there are two technologies for producing cars. The first one is the traditional one whereby you get steel, aluminium, perspiration, assembly lines and in the end cars in Detroit. The other one is about ships carrying corn, navigating to Japan and coming back with (Japanese) cars on them. So, if you protect Detroit (which you might want to do, especially if you're a local politician) you do this at the detriment of the Middle West farmers! Again, there is what is seen and what is not seen. Politicians are incredibly smart at calling your attention at what is seen only!!!
You're right, knowledge is the key to all, especially knowledge of what is not seen!

Alexandre Perrin

Yes ! unseen knowledge (ie tacit knowledge) is a key concept to understand the cultural differences between countries. To come back to the example given by David Friedman - i love this example! - the difference between the US and Japan is the utilization of tacit knowledge. Ikujiro Nonaka (a japanese professor in Stanford), in his seminal book The Knowledge Creating Company, explains how japanese companies such as Canon mobilize and organize tacit knowledge transfer to innovate. In Japan, the team or the group is more considered than the individual. Tacit knowledge transfer are effective in teams. In the US, individualism is widespread and the culture of "knowledge is power" is more generalized. Another difference is the high utilization of technologies (intranet, extranet, collaborative softwares or even blogs) inside US companies. To conclude, I would say that the US (and Europe) is good at exchanging explicit knowledge and Japan workers are good at transfering tacit knowledge.

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