Will Cloud Computing Be To Labor What The Internet Was To Capital?

Will Cloud Computing Be To Labor What The Internet Was To Capital?

In 1992, the CME Group launched the first electronic trading platform, which heralded a completely new age for anyone with capital to spare. Electronic trading and money transfers meant a whole new world of opportunity for potential investors.

In essence, the Internet freed wealthy (and even not-so-wealthy) investors to move their money wherever they wanted, whenever they wanted, at a negligible cost. The result has been hedge funds, day traders, a huge uptick in emerging market investments, and a veritable explosion of highly complex “financial instruments.” (Plus, grandpa gets to trade stocks at home.)

And the ultimate effect? The past two decades have been a boon for capital (i.e. people with money to spare) but less than stellar for labor (people who work for a living). As evidence, take the United States:
Median hourly wages (adjusted for inflation) have remained virtually flat since 1992, while the networth of the top 10% of households has grown from an inflation-adjusted average of $1.8 million to $4.2
million (a 133% increase).

But is it possible that cloud computing could reverse the trend? Answering that requires a clear understanding of capital’s current advantage over labor: Investors can fling their investment dollars around the world to find the best opportunities at virtually zero cost. Labor, on the other hand, has much less freedom to move to wherever demand is highest, especially when that demand is in another country.

Thankfully—for labor—that’s an area in which cloud computing is already transforming the marketplace.

Cloud-based communication and collaboration software, online workplaces like eLance/Guru/GetACoder, and even educational platforms are all working together to give many potential employees (mostly knowledge workers) the opportunity to send their labor to wherever demand is highest.

For example, a quick survey of elance job contractors shows the following:

  • Bangladeshi mobile app developers earning $12/hour.
  • Belize-based database administrators earning $35/hour.

In each of these cases, workers are earning far more money for their labor than they typically could locally in their home countries. Most of these workers are also being employed by small business owners who would never be able to launch their startups without access to such competitive labor rates.

But on the flipside, cloud computing makes the outsourcing of knowledge workers to cheaper markets easier than ever. A small business in the United States looking to employ the above contractors locally could easily pay $75/hour for a developer, $40/hour for a writer, and as much as $100/hour for a database consultant.

Nevertheless, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics has shown that local demand for most knowledge worker positions continues to rise. BLS estimates project employment increases of 31% for database administrators, 30% for software developers, and 17% for technical writers over the next 10 years.

Such statistics offer little comfort to workers who’ve recently been laid off or who find themselves bidding on contracts in an online workplace that pay far less than they’re used to. But ultimately, cloud computing offers workers the opportunity to move their labor from one market to another just as efficiently as investors can move their capital. In the short-term, that could cause some pain in the developed world (along with a wave of easy money in developing nations), but a longer view suggests a net win for the world’s educated workers.

By Robert Shaw

About Robert

Robert Shaw was an early entrant into the cloud computing sector, working as a consultant for Accenture on server virtualization and software-as-a-service migration. He has also been a technical editor for eHow and other web properties and still provides local IT consulting services.

View All Articles

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

How To Overcome Data Insecurity In The Cloud

Data Insecurity In The Cloud Today’s escalating attacks, vulnerabilities, breaches, and losses have cut deeply across organizations and captured the attention of, regulators, investors and most importantly customers. In many cases such incidents have completely eroded customer trust in a company, its services and its employees. The challenge of ensuring data security is far more…

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Adopting A Cohesive GRC Mindset For Cloud Security

Cloud Security Mindset Businesses are becoming wise to the compelling benefits of cloud computing. When adopting cloud, they need a high level of confidence in how it will be risk-managed and controlled, to preserve the security of their information and integrity of their operations. Cloud implementation is sometimes built up over time in a business,…

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Moving Your Email To The Cloud? Beware Of Unintentional Data Spoliation!

Cloud Email Migration In today’s litigious society, preserving your company’s data is a must if you (and your legal team) want to avoid hefty fines for data spoliation. But what about when you move to the cloud? Of course, you’ve probably thought of this already. You’ll have a migration strategy in place and you’ll carefully…

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle different functions, a multitude of apps require public and private-facing components to work in tandem. Placing these apps in entirely public-facing platforms and networks simplifies the process, but at the cost of security vulnerabilities. Locating everything…

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Your Biggest Data Security Threat Could Be….

Paying Attention To Data Security Your biggest data security threat could be sitting next to you… Data security is a big concern for businesses. The repercussions of a data security breach ranges from embarrassment, to costly lawsuits and clean-up jobs – particularly when confidential client information is involved. But although more and more businesses are…

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Using Cloud Technology In The Education Industry

Education Tech and the Cloud Arguably one of society’s most important functions, teaching can still seem antiquated at times. Many schools still function similarly to how they did five or 10 years ago, which is surprising considering the amount of technical innovation we’ve seen in the past decade. Education is an industry ripe for innovation…

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

5% Of Companies Have Embraced The Digital Innovation Fostered By Cloud Computing

Embracing The Cloud We love the stories of big complacent industry leaders having their positions sledge hammered by nimble cloud-based competitors. Saleforce.com chews up Oracle’s CRM business. Airbnb has a bigger market cap than Marriott. Amazon crushes Walmart (and pretty much every other retailer). We say: “How could they have not seen this coming?” But, more…

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise Of BI Data And How To Use It Effectively

The Rise of BI Data Every few years, a new concept or technological development is introduced that drastically improves the business world as a whole. In 1983, the first commercially handheld mobile phone debuted and provided workers with an unprecedented amount of availability, leading to more productivity and profits. More recently, the Cloud has taken…