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Universal Adoption of English and Free Access to Information is Transforming the World

A major issue for the creation of regional wealth at this stage of the Innovation Economy is the use of English as the universal language for knowledge workers everywhere. Israeli-born Davidi Gilo suggests that English is the international language of engineers; there is now a mobile world of business in which there is work being conducted 24 hours per day, seven days a week, by programmers and engineers in Silicon Valley, Israel, India, Taiwan, etc. Peter Hall observes that even in Continental Europe, the common language of young Europeans is now English. English-speaking regions, workers, and enterprises have an enormous advantage of being able to access the largest pool of knowledge workers worldwide.

At the same time, freedom of information and perspectives, and the promise of commercial egalitarianism threatens established regional and cultural ways of thinking. During this period of tension arising from the struggle with Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, this aspect of the Innovation Economy takes on even greater significance.

Consider what effect this has on India. Kailash Joshi, President of the Silicon Valley chapter of TiE (The IndUS Entrepreneurs), suggests that one of the reasons the Indian government has been moving to open its markets and eliminate, or at least diminish, the bureaucracy and corruption that have so impeded India's economic development, is that Indians now have access to international broadcasts such as CNN and BBC, as well as a host of indigenous private TV channels. At last, they know how others live and are governed. Joshi believes the popular movement to cut Indian bureaucracy and corruption is inexorable, because the "genie of information is out of the bottle." The government can not hide its own ineptitude and must meet the rising expectations of the people.

Global business and entrepreneurial opportunity accelerate the removal of regulatory barriers between countries and regions. The threat is a great expectation for change that is difficult to implement.

But we are just at the beginning of this change. The implications for the regions of the world to not only catch up, but to adapt, change, and apply these technologies in their own way as part of a greater whole worldwide experience is one of the most exciting parts of the Innovation Economy promise. Every country need not develop its own wine industry, but can import from Europe, California, Chile, Australia, or other regions better suited for wine cultivation. In the same way, every region does not have to graduate all its own programmers and engineers (India can best do that), nor develop from scratch its own mobile telecommunications industry (Finland and Sweden can best do that), nor develop all its own high-tech R&D (Silicon Valley, Germany, and Israel can best do that), nor set up manufacturing foundries and fabs for the semiconductor industry (Taiwan can best do that).

The Innovation Economy dynamics of rapid technological innovation combined with globalization and deregulation will continue to grow, despite the fits and starts of market capitalization bubbles bursting and whole sectors of the Innovation Economy being disrupted.

While beginning as a primarily American experience that seems exported, we believe the Innovation Economy will become even more multifaceted, diverse, and integrated. The hope and promise of this Innovation Economy is that countries and regions of the world, both developed and developing, will all benefit from the application of technologies to increase wealth and improve the quality of life for people everywhere.

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