After a keynote by Don Tapscott (known as the person who coined the term Wikinomics) in Malmø/Sweden, I was triggered by some of his visualisations. Based on documentation from worldmapper.org he argued that countries in Europe should become better in using their competitive advantage of Internet penetration. One of the reasons for this was that Europe will face a smaller labour force than for example in China. Less people means less knowledge available. Therefore, technologies are crucial in order to absorb knowledge that is generated from an other geographical region. Don Tapscott argued that this is Europe's competitive advantage because it currently has a higher Internet penetration than countries such as China. However, technological developments are changing fast and it is being believed this advantage can easily be lost.
Of course, this is a fair point, but what if some of the things he argued at that time are not valid anymore? The visualisations about the amount of old and young people spread over the world and Internet penetration were published in 2001. Reading the Danish newspaper Weekendadvisen I see a very different development.
Even though China has more than 1,3 billion citizens, it shows signs of a deceasing labour force. This decrease was shown in 2004 and is still going on. Ba Shusong - economist at a Research Institute for Development - argues that this development has not been a short term development. According to him it is a signal or a turning point in society. The salaries are increasing and therefore the daily needs (prices on basic consumption) are increasing. Life becomes more expensive which will lead to less babies in China. Why? Because after a research in the province Jiangsu it became clear that people does not have the resources to take care of one baby. Furthermore, one of the conclusions of the latest counting of the Chinese society shows that Chinese women get in average 1,5 baby - which is much lesser than the 2,1 that is needed to keep society in balance.
This will probably not be the last weblog article about demography. My existing knowledge base influenced by Don Tapscott has been altered by the article in Weekendadvisen. It is now about finding more information and knowledge in order to see or understand a pattern. Therefore, knowledge is not just a thing, it is a process of relating different conversations/views.