We are in a great age with many changes. We are faced with quadrupling oil prices and ever increasing commodity prices, strong recessions in United States and hot emerging economies in Middle East, Asia and Latin America. It seems the world order is beginning to change. There are at least the following processes that are going on.

  • Sustaining high oil prices and insatiable oil and commodities needs of emerging economies will inevitably lead industries to alternative energy and food sources, thus creating new industry leaders while crushing old ones like Ford, GM.
  • The oil economy is on the demise, new unpredictable energy source is on the way to glory. It might well be that there will be no dominant force, much like the world’s multilateral politics today. The future is hybrid.
  • The euro is becoming stronger and stronger, with a potential to replace the dollar as a world currency. Much of the emphasis of the rate hike of ECB is in the maintenance of a strong euro to combat inflation so that oil and foods remain affordable for Europeans.
  • The emerging economy is striving to ascend up to the living standards of the few hundred million souls in the West, in which process, a degradation of Western living standards might be under way. In my view, this whole process is a redistribution of wealth among nations. Living standards of West and East will inevitably converge.

And with all these radical changes and problems on the development, the international organizations are also experiencing a difficult time: tie or die. The G8 meeting a an example how useless the discussions and the decisions are regarded by the world community in the face of oil shock, rising food price and the credit crunch. The organization needs serious restructuring or it will die, as posed by the economist.

What is my value? I ask myself. From an economic point of view, I sell my labour, my intellectual labour.

What are the factors that decide the value of my labour? Ahead of everything else, I would say it is education, which is ahead of everything, which cultivates my abilities in every aspect: language, communication, reasoning, systematic thinking. The very ability of communicating in this language, English, is a product of education. This ability adds to my value, undoubtedly. It opens a road to sell my labour to people speaking the language. But what is the ultimate value of my intellectual labour? Why the costs of labour are so different from country to country? I would say that because GDP per head differs greatly from country to country, the costs of labour are disparate. But with the globalization, the world is like being connected by little tunnels of water, thereby leveling more even the costs of labour around the globe. The only thing that US people, or French people could argue against the case of their excessive labour costs in comparaison to Chinese or Indian labour is that French or Americans are more proficient in the language and culture and that  the proficiency facilitates the understanding of specification. The point is:         V=f(E)   where  V: Value; E: Education.

Education is a ladder towards progress in individual life and social life. Education is the gateway to business expertise, managerial experience and international exposure, but also plays an important role in cultivating intelligence and disemminating knowledge. Without education, people just doesn’t have any chance to act in the corporate stage. Education could also be viewed as an entry barrier that is created by people in the high walks of life to prevent the huge influx of labour if not for the education. Education is like quick downloading the principal knowledge of 10000 years of human history, thereby making sensible decisions in today’s world. It is the education that promotes innovation– we are simply much better off than our predessessors because we know much more! Sometimes it could also create the stereotypes in our paradigm, which renders revolution difficult. But overall education has greatly promoted innovation in the 20th century.