Sunday, April 03, 2005

Legacies are an anchor, by which I mean: a drag

Last Wednesday, I breifly mused on on how legacy features in Corp. IT helps keep Mac integration out, thus making those shops more vulnerable to changing technological environments. In this week's Times Magazine, Tom Friedman considers the "flattening of the world" by globalization, in part aided by freedom from legacy features:
That is why there is nothing that guarantees that Americans or Western Europeans will continue leading the way. These new players are stepping onto the playing field legacy free, meaning that many of them were so far behind that they can leap right into the new technologies without having to worry about all the sunken costs of old systems. It means that they can move very fast to adopt new, state-of-the-art technologies, which is why there are already more cellphones in use in China today than there are people in America.
Over dependance on oil, microsoft, a strong dollar (dare I include social security?), these are some of our economic legacies, grown strong from maximizing profit yields in the short term, but perhaps a drag overall in the long term. The one thing we can count on is change, not the legacies that we try so desperately to hold on to.

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