We have all been confronted with the various “benefits” of outsourcing in this era of globalization. We have had Indian operators answer the phones on various call center tasks and most of our tee shirts and baseball caps are now made in China. We have benefited from this as consumers (cheap goods and services) while we have been questioning this as workers (will my job be next to go?). This is the subject that Thomas Friedman has explained so well in his excellent book: The World Is Flat.

The next new thing: Crowdsourcing. Wired, in a typically excellent article, defines it as “The new pool of cheap labor: everyday people using their spare cycles to create content, solve problems, even do corporate R & D ». These spare cycles are even less expensive than the low cost corporations of India or China since what’s being sold is something that had no exploited value before. This is again a new way in which the web monetizes society. Welcome to more of Web 2.0 !

Jeff Howe, the author of the Wired article, has devoted a blog to this subject : crowdsourcing.com.