Musing about global and opensource

I missed this the first time around, and then only noticed it because I use WordPress. I quote from a Matt post on the WordPress blog:

Looking for something fun to do this summer? All college and university students around the world are invited to apply to get paid $4,500 USD to work on your favorite open source project this summer. WordPress is among the 131 accepted to Google Summer of Code, of more than 300 projects that applied

We have eight committed volunteers who are enthusiastic to mentor, learn, and make WordPress a little better in the process.

Check out our ideas for projects, or propose your own. You must apply
by March 24
. Good luck!

Somewhere in that statement is the reason why any form of wage arbitrage is a short-term game. The $4500 on offer is to students worldwide. Worldwide. There isn’t one rate for India. a different one for China, yet a third for Brazil, and so on.  The sooner we learn that going global is not about wage arbitrage but about the war for talent, the better we will all be.

Of course there are significant local variations in demographics and environment and context and culture. That’s like saying there are significant local variations in temperature and humidity and rainfall. In the same way as we speak of “global” warming, in the same way as we realise there is only one ozone layer out there, we need to understand that there is one global expertise market. One market worldwide, with its health, education and welfare challenges. The web was  meant to be about the death of distance, and one day it will be.

Global is not just different from local, it is different from international; global, at least to me, translates to “the same everywhere”. Opensource communities are global, the “price’ paid for effort expended and outcome gained is the same everywhere. Something worth bearing in mind.

One thought on “Musing about global and opensource”

  1. Yeah, but I suspect it is going to be an arbitrage opportunity for a very long time. Software development still doesn’t employ as many people as there are people looking for meaningful work.

    Also, so long as the arbitrage opportunity exists, others will continue to fund and sponsor these kinds of events. I suspect that supply is limited but increasing, and will continue to increase until the supply of programmers world-wide is saturated.

    There are lots of non-economic barriers too, and those will be around for a while, but I suspect the generation up and coming will have less hesitancy opening up to the global knowledge force than the current generation (including myself).

Let me know what you think

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