Outsourcing, taken to extremes

If backward time travel is also somehow possible, maybe firms in the
future will choose to outsource some of their operations to the past,
locating their manufacturing and other services in lower-wage time
periods. This opens the possibility of transtemporal gains from
trade… assuming, of course, that governments don’t implement
effective trade barriers.

That is Glen Whitman, here is more, interesting throughout.  By the way, Stephen King was right: the movie Jumper is quite good, albeit it requires a taste for conceptual science fiction counterfactuals.  It’s the best treatment of teleportation I know, with of course references to Plato’s Ring of Gyges.  Catch it on video if you can.

Comments

Aric presupposes that they would want to come here. Hmmm....

"Luckily, the fact that we are not inundated with tourists from the future seems to rather strongly indicate that backwards time travel is not possible."

Or that the human race will go extinct before it can develop the technology.

Asimov also dealt with intertemporal trade in a more serious manner in The End of Eternity, the eponymous "Eternity" being the agency developed to facilitate intertemporal trade.

6:37pm - Of course, in every serious treatment of time travel I've seen, you *can't* alter history, so that wouldn't really be a problem. I remember Isaac Asimov wrote a novel (called "The End of Eternity") about inter-century trade relations, but his understanding of economics was not so great. I also remember thinking the novel was bad for Asimov when I was a freshman in high school, so I shudder to think how bad it actually is...

Seeing no current outsourcing from the future, that fact alone seems to indicate that, if this idea of time-sourcing is possible, labor costs are not time-source optimal at the present. That could mean that there are previous times that are more affordable, or that labor costs in the future will be cheaper. (Lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-yous in this hypothetical, but bear with me...)

With our current expectation that labor costs will always increase, perhaps that means that sometime in the future there is a catalcysmic event that fundamentally changes labor cost structure.

Scotty, beam me out of this post.

I echo Andrew's sentiment. However I did not see Jumper. I could not bear the thought of sitting through an "Anakin" movie. However, one of the benefits of science fiction is that a good story and concept can overcome crappy acting.

"Maybe all of his contemporary followers were actually future Christians?"

Video proof!.

I thought the book version of Jumper was overwhelmingly better than the movie.

"The Stars My Destination" by Bester and "Born to Exile" by Phyllis Eisenstein are the classic novels of teleportation, and credited as such in the book version of "Jumper"; also the novella "Flash Crowd" by Niven.

Soham Das: Indeed, I can't believe no one's brought up Back To The Future 2 yet (where Biff gets a hold of a sports almanac from the future and uses it to get rich from betting on sporting events).

On the other hand, if backward time travel became possible and commonplace, it might signal the death knell for gambling altogether, for obvious reasons.

Is it realistic?

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