A New Excuse?

Geeks generally don’t know much about politics. This is not where to start

Before I start, I have a question. Since when did it become a requirement that one must go into hysterics/temper tantrumz when criticizing the current President of the United States? I ask for information only.

The gist of the article seems to be that the IT industry is in the pits of hell solely because of the [fill in the blank with any and all evil terms] Bush Administration.

The article is too silly to deserve serious comment.

Rather, let us look at the real reasons for this.

A Bubble Burst

When an important technology reaches the public, people overreact to it. That’s the one sentence explanation for the tech boom and bust.

Has anything like that occurred before? Sure has. Matter of fact, that’s just what usually happens. In the 1840s and 1850’s, railroads were the Internet of their day. In the 1920s, it was radio.

These were important technologies, and certainly had major impact on the world. It’s just that they didn’t weren’t as profitable as pretty-crazed people thought at the time.

So the bubbles burst, and people riding the bubble got hurt a lot, and there were enough people on the bubble to affect societies as a whole.

When people have been hysterically optimistic, and have that optimism blow up in their faces, they tend to go to the opposite extreme for a while.

But even after that reaction, they never regain the hysterical optimism they once had. This is a good thing. People now look upon the matter in proper perspective, and are not going to be so uncritical of IT projects that promise everything.

You Don’t Grow Six Inches A Year When You’re Twenty Five

If you look at PC sales figures over the past few years, you’ll find that Asian sales are very robust, European sales have been lackluster, and American (i.e., U.S. and Canadian sales) have been terrible.

If you look at the percentage of people in these regions who have computers, you’ll see that they are the inverse of recent sales. If most people have a computer, sales are bad. If they don’t, sales are good.

In the U.S./Canada, if you want a computer, you already have one. There’s no new big markets to exploit, and it’s not a matter of lots of people not being able to afford one. If you drop the price, you won’t get a lot of new buyers, you’ll just have the old buyers upgrading for less.

So long-term growth is limited to business and population growth plus the gradual replacement of pre-PC generations in the population with post-PC generations.

The rest of the world is a different story. Europe is a mixed picture. The Scandinavian countries have PC penetration rates as high or higher than American rates, but in general, Europe trails.

One the whole (and there are exceptions), Asia is generally just getting into the swing of computer buying, so sales are expanding rapidly. Since incomes are generally lower in the more populous nations compared to America/Europe, price cuts help out more.

I Can Tell People To Plug Their Computer Into A Wall, Too…

I Can Tell People To Plug Their Computer Into A Wall, Too

As telecommunications makes physical location irrelevant, companies start looking around for the best deals in providing services. If a better-educated person in India will tell Joe Sixpack to RTFM for half the salary someone in Indiana demands, and he or she does it at least as well, in a cut-throat price environment, guess what? You’re going to get Hindu over Hoosier.

Those with high skill levels in the developed countries will be little affected by this. Neither will those who need to be where the action is. It is those with fewer, lesser, more easily duplicable skills that will lose out.

It’s really KMart thinking coming to high tech.

What Do These Three Things Have In Common?

None of these long-term trends have been nor can be significantly affected by who is in the White House. The tech bubble would have burst no matter what, and the U.S. economy would still be in some state of hangover. Grannies wouldn’t be stocking up on PCs if Al Gore had become President. Companies would still be moving lower-end IT services overseas for exactly the same reason.

The situation, at least for this, would be pretty much the same if the other guy had gotten in.

And do you know what? If the U.S. gets itself a new President in 2005, he’s not going to be able to do much about any of these trends, either. There are just some things an American President can’t do much about.

The irony is that the author of the article gets rabid about the United States becoming some Nazi-like police state (obviously having not the slightest clue what a Nazi-like police state really would be like), but seems to want a different cop to enforce the rules he wants.

Well, really, what would you call a country that:

  • Forced American companies to spend more on IT projects.
  • Forced Americans to buy computers.
  • Forced American companies to use only native IT help.

    Since I’m not in hysterics or taking a temper tantrum, it’s not a police state, but on the whole, it’s a little closer to one for the average American than what we have now.

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