Monday, June 30, 2008

Transportation and Communication

Two sectors of the economy that are usually mentioned in a single sentence are transportation and communication. They are the twin facilitators that make the difference between living in a worldwide economy and living in a purely local economy. The latter situation was common and normal in the nineteenth century and earlier, and people lived their lives at a slower pace because of it. With the advent of accelerated oil pricing increases, whether due to shortages, increased demand, speculation, hedging, or sinister plots, we have to try to decrease our oil requirements by emphasizing communication over transportation. Fortunately, computers and the internet have been moving in the correct direction for this increased reliance on communication. It is much easier, quicker, and less expensive to keep in touch with people by e-mail than it is with postal mail. I have been involved with international commerce for many years with only a minimum of international travel. With the developing capability for video links and electronic conferencing who wouldn't prefer efficient communication over waiting in airports due to delayed and cancelled flights. A major tool for offsetting increased transportation costs definitely lies in improved communication, and we should all try to emphasize moving thoughts and words rather than bodies and physical objects whenever possible...Now if we could only do something about spam and telemarketing from the other side of the world, we'd really be doing a better job of communicating.