I was in Kansas City in April for a Sales Management Conference at the University of Missouri at Columbia. This involved a two hour drive through flat tranquil fields and then to a surprisingly high tech and rather grand University of Missouri. I must confess that the "O" word crossed my mind during this drive as the farmland looked "flat" and reminded me of Friedman’s "The World is Flat". It’s rather ironical that one of the first news reports of a senior academic talking about the "O" word should come from some of the "flattest" terrain in the US that I have seen.
The news reporter has a wounded headline " KU Provost touts outsourcing" and reports that the new KU Provost Richard Lariviere told the audience of 70 at the Alvamar Country Club that outsourcing was not only inevitable but desirable for the growth of the US. Clearly the reporter did not take kindly to the erudite Provost’s remarks and judging by the comments on the news story , neither do several readers of the Lawrence Journal World of Kansas City. From reading the news report all that Dr. Richard Lariviere asked for was a greater focus on educating the American work force in the right skills and manner to take advantage of the global outsourcing phenomenon. Unless the community starts recognizing the new world reality it is hard for the existing workforce and more importantly the academic community to start re-tooling the curriculum to enable the American worker to continue enjoying the best living standards in the world. A bit like "unless you are in it you cannot win it" – simply denying globalization is not useful for anyone. But Dr. Richard Lariviere has made a start and I wish other academic leaders start speaking out as well.