Around 500 BC, the Kings of Lydia achieved dominance of their region by inventing money to replace direct barter of goods. In the 1980s, Singapore automated all export/import paperwork on a computer called TradeNet and became the busiest port in the world in terms of shipping tonnage. Countries that use technology in unique ways to develop their economic workings have often done well. A nation with fully functioning public electronic markets should be able to stand aloof from trends that other nations will have to accommodate in the age of linked online economies. New efficiencies and a galvanized domestic economy could create unequalled appeal for investors that transcends short-term considerations, such as interest rates or business cycles. The nation would, for instance, be particularly attractive to inward investors. Take, for example, a Korean company debating where to set up their European manufacturing facility. If, say, Spain had a GEMs system the company could open an account in a Madrid bank, then a GEMs account, based perhaps at their Spanish lawyer’s address. Before leaving Seoul, they might access GEMs on the Internet and use their account to book an office suite and hire bi-lingual secretaries willing to work particularly long hours. Long-stay accommodation for a forward team and dependable support for their domestic lives could likewise be arranged in minutes. After putting purchased holds on various production facilities for hire on the system, then selecting a site, they could engage highly flexible staff, in their hundreds if necessary, to start work the following Monday. If there were a shortage of skilled workers, fitters qualified to work on a certain make of machine for instance, the company’s demand would show up on market overview screens studied by mechanics around the country, who should then be able to click their way to the training required.
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