Communication is one of the most powerful tools that humanity has at its disposal. It allows the transfer of information, the sharing of knowledge, and builds bridges that span the gaps between social differences, erasing the lines which separate us on the map. Communication is the single driving force behind the most important changes in the history of our species, because without the distribution of knowledge shared by many individuals spreading knowledge, no one would have ever known about these innovative ideas and worked to improve them.
Communication on a global scale has affected every aspect of how we (humanity) do business on a daily basis. Over the course of human history every time you have a product you want to market, you worry about your local presence. What is your target demographic? How much is shipping going to cost? How much do you have to pay your employees? What is your competition selling their product for? How much are they paying their employees? Everything related to the business venture has to take into account the minute details regarding what your competitors on a local basis are doing, and communication with local businesses and individuals gets you that knowledge.
As far as business ventures go, some things have remained the same, but others have changed. First and foremost is how communication has affected the way we (humanity) do business in the 21st century. The spread of the Internet beyond the US and the UK has allowed economies around the world to burst onto the market, and they are running at breakneck speed to catch up with countries who had a decade or more head-start in various industries. This broadening of communication has directly affected how businesses operate because there is no such thing as a local market anymore. When a company looks at how they need to market a product, they look beyond the mere local presence to the global network of potential customers, competitors and employees, because the playing field is far wider than it used to be.
One of the first mistakes many individuals make when they consider the global market is the assumption that anyone from outside of the US and the UK has an inferior education, and therefore should not be considered as competition. However, there is a reason that special effects companies—for example—are outsourcing to companies in India or New Zealand, and telemarketing companies are outsourcing their customer service reps to places like the Philippines. Many of the shoes Americans wear are made in foreign countries, as are many of the vehicles they drive. Outsourcing to “foreign” places has been a business practice for many companies over the years, but as we progress further and further into the 21st century and communication becomes available on a wider basis, the outsourcing is more relevant than ever.
The reason for that is simple: education levels in developed countries around the world are not only on-par with education in the US, but in many cases they are superior. For example, most European high school diplomas are the equivalent of a US high school diploma plus two years of traditional college, meaning that high school graduates in the EU are two years ahead of students who graduate in the US. In the US, foreign language courses are electives. In the EU they are mandatory in most cases. Not only are international students graduating from high school with a two year head-start against their US counterparts, but they fluently speak at least one more language. The gap only increases with higher levels of education.
With education levels around the world being what they are, companies are outsourcing their work to employees in countries around the world. Not only are these new employees better educated in many cases, but they are able to work for far cheaper rates due to their reduced costs of living in comparison to the average American. As more and more companies begin to realize that there are people around the world who read, write, and understand the language better than native speakers—and have higher education levels to boot—they begin looking to these other countries as a means of employment. Communication on a global basis has allowed them access to a pool of international candidates for the jobs at hand.
How does this affect you as a writer? It directly affects the rates charged for work, which is a result of a larger pool of writers available for employers to choose from, which is a direct result of global communication. When you add in the fact that many individuals from the European Union and elsewhere have higher education levels than most Americans, which means they not only grasp the grammar of the language more firmly than many writers in the U.S. and can thus write more clearly and concisely than their traditional counterparts, combined with the fact that their lower cost of living means they are willing to work for far cheaper than the average American writer is, you are faced with a reality that has most U.S. writers gnashing their teeth in frustrating as work that was traditionally theirs and theirs alone is now shipped out overseas and outsourced. It’s just smart business. Employers can get writing that is just as good in terms of quality (and in many cases, better), and they can get it at a fraction of what it would cost them to hire a writer from the United States.
At the end of the day, no one can afford to be bound by local constraints in the 21st century, because local no longer means your city, state, region, or country. Communication on a global scale has allowed for the entire world to be considered local, and with a global pool of educated individuals sharing the skills required for the tasks at hand, the competition is greater than ever. Global awareness is key to a successful business. What are you doing to stay globally aware?