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The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
Don't miss out on
global markets, October 21, 2007, 2D.
In his book, The World is
Flat, Thomas Friedman describes three eras of global trade. The first stage occurred between the time of
Columbus until around 1800Friedman named that era Globalization 1.0. The moving force behind the trade was countries
and governments. Global commerce and trade
was conducted by and between countries.
Globalization 2.0, as described by
Friedman, lasted from 1800 until 2000. The
driving forces in this era of trade were multinational companies. Falling transportation costs, brought about by
the steam engine and railroad, and later falling communication costs helped drive the
expansion of companies and the distribution of their products into new and international
Around the turn of this century, we
entered a third era of global trade and commerce. In
this new era, Globalization 3.0, the driving force is not countries or multinational
organizations; it is individuals. Todays
information and communication technology allows individuals to collaborate and engage in
global commerce and trade like never before.
Amazon.com and eBay.com are two of the
most popular retail destinations on the web. Both
allow individuals and small businesses to sell products to the millions of web surfers who
visit and shop their sites. Most small
businesses have traditionally been limited to sales in their local markets. By offering their products for sale through the
web, small businesses can reach and exchange goods and services with customers in distant
marketsacross the country or around the world.
Personally, I have sold books and college
apparel to dozens of customers across the country through eBay and its affiliated
companies. I have also bought hundreds of
items through eBay and Amazon over the years including: wooden racquetball racquets,
college apparel, shoes, books, DVDs, CDs, electronics, sporting goods, appliance parts,
toys, and childrens clothing. Almost
all of the eBay exchanges and many of the Amazon purchases were conducted with individuals
and small business owners. Very few of the
transactions occurred with people located in Texasmost occurred with buyers and
sellers from across the United States.
One of my favorite purchases, and one
that clearly demonstrates Friedmans Globalization 3.0, was my acquisition of a new
nickel-plated, pocket trumpet. The instrument
sounds like a full-size trumpet, but is much smaller.
Through eBay, I bought the trumpet for $92.00 (including shipping and a
money order fee) from a seller in New Delhi, India. The
trumpet was delivered to my house about three weeks after the transaction was completed. By linking up with a seller in India through eBay,
I unknowingly engaged in a Globalization 3.0 business transaction. By quickly setting up an eBay account and listing
his products, the seller in India was able to offer his goods to millions of potential new
customers in the United States.
The transactions just described did not
occur as the result of trade agreements between countries or through the reach of
large-scale multinational companies. Rather,
they occurred between individuals and small businesses that found each other through
worldwide e-commerce websites. Is your
organization missing out on todays global market?
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