» Archive for March, 2002

Killed by Proximity

Friday, March 22nd, 2002 by Jonathan Spira

Killed by Proximity

The Death of Distance: How the Communications Revolution Will Change Our Lives, by Frances Cairncross, published by the Harvard Business School Press.

The Industrial Revolution changed the rules of commerce by making it practical for a merchant to travel relatively rapidly to a distant town or city.  In this volume, the eminent Economist journalist Frances Cairncross explains what happens in a world where distance no longer controls the cost of communication.  The “Death of Distance” will, predicts Cairncross, become a force to be reckoned with, a force that will reshape the globe over the next half century.

In clear, concise language, Cairncross shows how this Death of Distance will be both democratizing and liberating, possibly leading to an environment where global conflicts will arise less often due to an increased familiarity among different cultures.

How will The Death of Distance impact relationships between a country and its citizens, employer and employees, parents and children?  What will change in how we view our home and work lives, our personal and business relationships, even our national loyalties?

In what may prove to be a remarkably prophetic “Trendspotter’s Guide to New Communications,” Cairncross outlines the 30 most important developments that one should observe as distance “gasps” for its last breath.  Countries will compete for citizens by offering superior services.  Time zones and language will supplant distance.  Smaller companies will compete favorably with larger ones, and more organizations will take on “virtual” characteristics, similar, the author notes, to how Hollywood forms production companies for a single film.

Cairncross cites contemporary examples of trendsetting companies as an example of the future norm.  And she emphasizes that information will, in effect, become the great leveler of society.  Governments, for example, will be far better informed about what other governments are doing, leaving less room for a misunderstanding to occur.  And the young people of poorer nations may be able to capitalize on the flexibility and creativity  of youth to gain a competitive advantage.

You can order this book online right now.

Jonathan B. Spira is the Chief Analyst at Basex.