The Smoking Analogy

It's funny how the world goes these days... we had this rapid race for globalisation where barriers were broken down primarily for greed economic reasons; western companies quickly saw that they could reduce costs by employing far-flung foreign workers to do jobs for a fraction of the cost of a westerner. Why pay a Brit/US/Euro web designer/developer a top wage for the skills he or she was told were in huge demand and they'd spent years studying and qualifying for when someone in India would do the same job for a quarter of the cost?

The same goes for call centre staff: Why pay Steve in Basingstoke to work out why your broadband connection isn't working when you can get "Steve" in Bangalore to read a script over a premium rate line?

Manufacturing doesn't escape the orbit of globalisation either: British engineering used to be a fine skill touted from the workshop of the world but when market forces and economic factors exerted their influence that workshop relocated to China.

Despite being disrespectful, contemptuous and greedy these thought processes have been rife in the west, aided and abetted by all and sundry. It's not just the bosses of the companies that have perpetrated these crimes it's the consumers too. Consumers. Thirsty word that. Because they want everything cheap they've helped their own local economies go down the pan. You want a 54 foot widescreen LCD plasma reactor HD TV? Don't worry that the electronics factory down the road just shut and all your friends lost their jobs - you can impress them inviting them 'round to watch Richard & Judy and all the other daytime pap on your shiny new egovision set.

And that's why we're here discussing globalisation; it's not always good, we've always said that and there's the smoking analogy. If you smoke you'll damage your health; the least you'll do is develop some sort of respiratory disease or you may end up with cancer. Whatever the route there are people that have been saying "don't do it" for years and do people listen? Of course not; they get angry, blow smoke in your face and carry on regardless. Then one day they say "I wish I'd listened to you, you were right."

Like all addictions, be it oil, cigarettes or cheap gadgets, we love them. We don't want to stop. We care little for the consequences just as long as we had a good time getting there.

And once we're there was it worth it? We can't afford the petrol to go out to get the expensive food so we sit at home and watch the doomy news of the demise we accelerated towards in high definition with stunning dolby 7.1 cinema surround sound. Wow!

It doesn't take a genius to tell us that globalisation is over; it's been a discourse amongst us for a while now. Chris Baskind reckons it's time to stop gloating over the fuel price issue too. True. There are better things to do like roll up our sleeves, got on with boosting local economies, drink the local ale, help out our neighbours, lag the loft, grow our own veg, cycle to work, buy a small second-hand car, switch those lights off, stop polluting, stop consuming.

It might be a good time to stop smoking too.