REPORT #30 Jan 1999

Produced by the Belize Development Trust
There is a strange phenomena going on in the world. With a jump from 50,000 computers in 1992 to 350 million computer users in 1998 and a projected billion computers worldwide in another 5 years. Plus over a billion web pages now on the internet, mostly related to business and economics, the world is seeing a fundamental change.

One of the things being effected is the large centralized corporation. Because information can be shared instantly and inexpensively among many people, the value of a centralized decision making and expensive bureaucracy in corporations decreases. It is being found that individuals can manage themselves more efficiently from at home. As networks become more efficient the shift to home workers promises to accelerate. Already, there are a host of new work providers utilizing home based persons on their computers, scheduling their hours as they need. Should this continue, the organization of the future may not be a stable, permanent corporation, but rather an elastic network that may exist for no more than a day or two, for specific projects. Small teams of people will respond to electronic want ads and form a network until the job is done.

This phenomena is most often seen in the consulting area and also in services, particularly technical assistance areas, which are now outsourced to short term trained home computer operators. Some fields like programming encourage the at home programmer to do assignments in surroundings they prefer at their own pace.

In the USA and Canada, this type of business is exploding. There is even smaller inroads being made into the Caribbean with this type of computer based business. ( not in Belize! ) The fact is, anywhere you can get direct dial telephone and an internet connection, a lot of expertise and technical businesses can now work scattered all over the world, from individuals in many different odd locations. Even niche markets and exports are working out this way.

The countries suffering from lack of this huge explosion in economic activity are those with censorship, or organizational and financial prohibitions. Belize is one of these! It is a shame, because all the ingredients are in place in Belize, but lacking are competition in telecommunications, fair pricing practices by market competition and government that lacks foresight and appropriate leadership. The problems of being left behind in this worldwide economic industrial explosion are not only that of Belize. Even some European countries are suffering from the same strictures. The paradigm of government and what it is and should be done and how it should function will have to change in the less democratic countries, if they do not want to be rejects in the New World Economic Order. It may already be too late for Belize to play catchup.

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