American economist, Richard baldwin is a professor at the Institut de Hautes Etudes internationales et du Développement, Geneva, Switzerland. In his latest book, “The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics and the Future of Work” (2019, untranslated), he questions the role of digitization and automation on employment in the service sector. He announces new relocations: after the massive wave that transferred industries and workers’ jobs from developed countries to low-wage countries, the same movement is now possible on almost all value-added jobs, those of which we said they would stay in rich countries …
We now know that office work can be done remotely. So, that it can often be done from a small provincial town… or from abroad. Should we fear a new wave of relocations, this time in services?
This phenomenon had started before. But the pandemic has had an accelerating effect. The transition to this new phase of globalization has been shortened by five years, perhaps even more.
The fundamental change with the pandemic is that companies have learned to manage workers remotely. Everyone knows how to hold a meeting by videoconference, it has become natural! Managers know how to manage teleworkers, teleworkers know how to organize themselves, they know how to use software and have the necessary equipment.
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