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Understanding Business Trends: Past, Present & Future

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  • 0:07 Change: Opportunities and Risk
  • 0:39 Globalization
  • 1:20 Technology
  • 2:43 Health Care
  • 3:20 Knowledge-based Economy
  • 4:22 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shawn Grimsley
We can often use past and current trends to predict where we will be in the future. In this lesson, you'll learn about some important business trends occurring right now that may have important consequences to new students and graduates.

Change: Opportunities and Risk

Meet Sally, who is about to start her first year at college. She wants to work in the world of business, so she meets with her adviser, Professor Peterson, to discuss her future career path. Professor Peterson sits Sally down and explains to her that she will be entering the job market in a time of great change. If she prepares for the changing times, she will find great opportunities; if not, she may be left behind.

Globalization

The professor tells her that the trend of globalization will continue to speed up in the future. Globalization is the process of integrating countries and other political units into the global system. Globalization can affect a country's economy and its businesses because globalization tends to allow goods, services, capital, and labor to move much more freely across international borders. Globalization opens up new markets for a business to conquer but also places a business' domestic market under attack from cheaper imported goods and services.

The professor explains that countries and their businesses will have to adjust their strategies to compete in the global market. They will have to focus on their comparative advantage, which is focusing on the production of goods and services in which they are the most efficient. For example, technologically advanced countries, like the United States, who have high labor costs, will tend to focus on high-tech businesses and complex service industries, such as financial services, leaving basic manufacturing to countries and businesses with lower labor costs and a less skilled workforce.

Technology

The professor explains that technology will continue to play a large role in business. The automation, or use of computers and robots, in manufacturing processes will continue. This will remove the need for many unskilled workers but also create a greater need for skilled workers, such as computer programmers and engineers in areas like software and robotics. Opportunities in fields like bio-technology and nano-technology should continue to grow. Technological advancement will require a workforce well-educated in mathematics, science, and engineering.

Health Care

Professor Peterson also explains that the future population demographics in advanced economies, including the United States, will provide continued opportunities. One of the most important demographic trends is in the aging population, which continues to enjoy high life-expectancies. The 'graying' of the advanced countries means health care and related industries will continue to grow. There will be new drugs, medical devices, and health care services to discover, develop, and provide.

Knowledge-Based Economy

Sally's adviser further explains that another important, related trend is a transition in the United States and other advanced economies to a knowledge-based economy. A knowledge-based economy is centered around the acquisition and use of knowledge and information to generate income. This type of economy requires a highly skilled workforce.

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