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


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.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.

CloudTweaks Sponsors - Find out more!


Top Viral Impact

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

Engine Yard Joins North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and Industry Collaborators to Unveil 2014 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Results SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 25, 2014) – Engine Yard, the leading cloud application management platform, today announced its role as a collaborator in releasing the results of the fourth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey,…

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues

Cloud Computing Adoption Continues Nowadays, many companies are changing their overall information technology strategies to embrace cloud computing in order to open up business opportunities.  There are numerous definitions of cloud computing. Simply speaking, the term “cloud computing” comes from network diagrams in which cloud shapes are  used to describe certain types of networks. All…

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

Cloud Computing Offers Key Benefits For Small, Medium Businesses

A growing number of small and medium businesses in the United States rely on as a means of deploying mission-critical software products. Prior to the advent of cloud-based products — software solutions delivered over the Internet – companies were often forced to invest in servers and other products to run software and store data. The…

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud Infographic – The Power Of Cloud Disaster Recovery Preventing a Cloud Disaster is one thing. Recovering from a disaster is a whole other area of concern. Today’s infographic provided by CloudVelox outlines some best practices and safeguards in order to help your business make more informed decisions. About Latest Posts RobertRobert Shaw was an…

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

You can help continue to support our community by social sharing, sponsoring, partnering or contributing to this great educational resource.


CloudTweaks Media
Phone: 1 (212) 763-0021

Join our newsletter