Photo of the Week - modern tech easing… | Beyond the Bike @ tutor2u

Beyond the Bike

Stuart & Claire’s 2015/16 tandem trip from Canary Wharf to China



Photo of the Week - modern tech easing information flows

One of the key assumptions in economic theory relating to markets is the notion of "perfect information", and costless transactions. Whilst these assumptions don't hold true in many circumstances, this week's first Beyond the Bike Photo of the Week identifies how smart phone technology is helping to improve communication between people speaking different languages.

In this image, Stuart has resorted to pen and paper to communicate the type of ticket needed for himself, Claire and their bikes on a train. Whilst the images make it reasonably obvious what is needed, the conductor used his smart phone to translate from Thai to English. I made similar use in China last year of an app called Waygo, which used my phone's camera to translate Chinese characters into English.

Some questions for discussion in the classroom:

  • To what extent do language barriers affect global mobility of labour?
  • To what extent do language barriers affect the activity of multinational companies?

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