Competing in a global market, like it or not

Companies don't fit comfortably inside countries anymore. It used to be that multinationals were unusual - GE, HP, and IBM each have more revenue that the GDP of some smaller countries; their employees have more in common with each other than they do with many of the people in the country where they are located.

As travel costs and communications costs have dropped, it is easier for companies to address a global market. This affects almost every business, even the kind of small company service business which used to be secure from global competition. Plumbing is a location specific business, but plumbers, (the 'Polish plumber' so feared by the French last year) and plumbing supplies, are international. Emergency medical treatment must be local, but Brazil, India, Mexico and the UK compete in the elective surgery market.

This also means that whether you like it or not, your company is in competition with the rest of the world, not just with the companies in your local geography. The digital media market is a excellent example. Realtime Worlds (Grand Theft Auto franchise) has customers everywhere; headquarters in Dundee, Scotland; and investors in Dublin, Dallas, and Menlo Park.

This has immediate consequence for your business - your operation is affected by several tax regimes, by different legal systems, by foreign exchange rates, and international politics.

It has consequences for individuals, too - people self-identify with their peers in the communities where they participate, independent of location and of nation-state.

Think of it as the modern multivariant practice of comparative advantage, with many more countries, more granular products and much faster trading velocity than in the original. If you can not use it to your advantage, it will be used against you.

Polish Plumber
Theory of Comparative Advantage

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