From Galleons to Laptops: History of Outsourcing

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Ever wonder when does this big outsourcing market all started? Say, year 2000? 1995?

You’ll be surprised to know that the booming industry has been there since the early days of civilization. To take into account, the practice welled out from Chinese traders who, on the scarcity of manpower from their own communities, have to hire tribesmen to grow crops for them. Some historians are also saying that even Egyptians have been getting labor from nearby civilizations so that they could build structures, especially irrigation canals.

But enough of the sneak peek on what’s going on before modern technology came to introduce us to the growing industry we’ve known of, the historic accounts only prove that communities, even those seas apart, were practically partnering to produce merchandise that were good for sale. If you’re going to look at it closely, the structure is fairly simple: when resources from other lands are needed by a certain merchant, they partner with foreign groups to achieve what they want. This is somewhat very the same as finding a good outsource partner.

Prehistoric Barter: The Simple

Getting human resources from foreign land is plain and simple before. You will get help from a certain community and in return, you will be sharing a part of your harvest with them. Until came the era where the merchants became greedy of the yields and invented slavery and collected captive artisans. By this time of prehistoric period, there is a fairly large number of tribesmen who worked for the monarchs and their high officials. Back in the dawn of the history of outsourcing, it is all about pleasing whoever is your master or partner.

Industrial Outsourcing: The Revived

Then came machines from the womb of civilization. People start to build automatic manufacturing mechanisms and the usual jobs farming had been laid off because of the invention of tractors and many other engines. At the youth days of these inventions, there are a very few individuals who know how the engines tick. So the need for specialists, machinists, and engineers are so high that these professionals always get the better of the deal from foreign lands.

Businesses that started using automation for their production started to outsource artisans for a very high price. Unlike in the ancient times where the craftsmen are being slaved, the gear turns the other way around because of the scarcity of skilled workers.

Modern Offshoring: The Complex

As of today, there are no more slaves and favored classes because everything is bound in a mutual agreement. However, the greatest change in the history of outsourcing is not on the moral nature of the trade, but on the improvement of technology. There is so much convenience and practicality of outsourcing because of economic differences between countries and because you can now transact real time with overseas manpower because of the Internet.

Truly, what changes the face of communication also changes the behavior of global economy. The outsourcing industry became a very complex commerce that there are varied opinions about it.

What will change next will depend on the next innovation that will get intertwined with the industry.