A Phenomenon That is Changing the Lives of People Around the World

Hear ye, hear ye about a phenomenon that is changing the lives of people around the world

Clothes are sewn in Bangladesh, iPhones are made in China, cars are assembled in India. And everything is done inexpensively. The big companies have been doing it for years.

But what about that presentation you need for work tomorrow? And what about that Sisyphean job moving all your payments over to your new credit card? Booking a flight, disconnecting from the cable company, or even sending flowers to an acquaintance? Isn’t there anyone in China to do it for me?

I’d like you to meet – the Internet! Sites such as oDesk, e-Lance, Get Friday, Ask Sunday, People per Hour – and the list goes on – offer you just that. Someone to handle life’s bureaucracy for you; a personal assistant to do any personal task that can be handled with a telephone, a computer and English.

And this isn’t some expensive and convoluted Israeli service. This is a real live Chinese person. This is outsourcing, just like the big corporations do, only for the littler life, and it costs, accordingly, only a few shekels per hour. A mere pittance. It’s called Life Outsourcing.

I tried it a few years ago. For a while, I had a personal assistant in China, who prepared reports and presentations. She saved me hours of work, allowed me to spend more time with my family, more time to rest and more time to handle important things at work. Someone at the other end of the world, put a little order into my life and in return, earned a wage that was considered excellent for her country’s middle class, and was affordable for my country’s middle class.

What is wealth? More money? More leisure time? If the life outsourcing industry moves ahead in the right direction, without abusing one of the sides, each side will be richer.

And this is what has happened: the Third World has developed. There are still hundreds of millions of cheap unskilled laborers. What has changed is that, in addition to the unskilled workforce, there are now in the Third World, hundreds of thousands of skilled worked, academics, software developers, bookkeepers, secretaries, personal assistants and event producers. They are still inexpensive, at least in out terms. Many of them are looking for work, freelance jobs, and are populating more and more websites for assistance services by the hour.

Already, anyone who can surf to Amazon and buy a book, can go to one of these life outsourcing sites and find an industrious freelancer who speaks English and will handle his arrangements by phone, buy tickets online, and take care of all those boring parts of life.

Written by Nadav Brandstater

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