Sunday, January 06, 2008

Globalization's Creative Destruction and The Fate of Letter Writers in India

G.P Sawant, a professional letter writer in Mumbai for 25 years, is a winner and loser due to globalization. Mr.Sawant had made a profession out of writing more than 10,000 letters in Hindi for the poor and illiterate, who often traveled miles to the city to get letters written by him. With the telecom revolution, the price of telecommunication has dropped and his customers now use cell phones and ubiquitous telephone booths and stands. Mr. Sawant hasn't written a letter now in three years.

But the same telecom revolution that effectively killed Mr.Sawant's business has created an economic wave for his children's generation to ride. In the very years that the telecommunications revolution was squashing the letter writing business, it was plugging India into the global networks that would allow its IT industry to explode. Mr. Sawant's daughter works for India's IT giant Infosys and earns $9,000 per year, three times as much as her father did at his peak.

Read more here in the NY Times, and watch a video here.

(HT: Sanil Kori)


At 1/08/2008 10:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "example" looks more like technology was made available that rendered a specific job obsolete.

Kind of like what happened to a number of lower level bean counters/book keepers in the 1980s when Lotus 123 reared it's head and recalculating a spreadsheet could be done cheaper by a personal computer instead of by a human.

No jobs were outsourced to another country in making Mr. Sawant's job obsolete.


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