At the cross section of economics and international trade lies the theory of comparative advantage. Comparative advantage is the ability of one country to produce a particular good or service at a lower cost over another country. Even if one country is more efficient in the production of all the goods in question over another country, both countries will still benefit by trading with one another so long as there is some margin of superiority.
On a smaller scale, we see this in local businesses and governments. Separate businesses and government departments provide particular goods and services such that they optimize efficiencies. Flower shops create flower arrangements, courier services deliver packages and manufacturers produce widgets. Companies will cross sell products and extend service offerings; they innovate to remain relevant but in order to maximize profit, they sell the product or service that they are best at selling and procure the other products or services from other sources.
At a human capital level there is a similar trend. Quite simply, doctors practice medicine, lawyers interpret and apply the law, and accountants crunch the numbers. Optimization of skills requires civil engineers to be “just’ civil engineers, industrial engineers to be “just” industrial engineers and electrical engineers to be “just’ electrical engineers.
But in today’s economic reality does this same concept of comparative advantage apply? In this seminar we will explore human capital as it relates to comparative advantage. In the world we are living in, today’s technology may become obsolete tomorrow. New inventions are of no value unless you can commercialize your product. Today an engineer needs to be an entrepreneur and a lawyer needs to understand business and business development. Understanding this intersection between different fields of study and engaging in knowledge integration results in a competitive advantage in our knowledge society. The ability to adapt to new conditions is required to stay relevant. It is no longer enough to be “just” an engineer or “just” a lawyer… Nowadays it’s important to go Beyond “Just”.
Aliya Ramji is an international lawyer and acts as legal counsel at CSA Group. Aliya attended the University of Toronto where she studied Genetics and Biotechnology, and Queen’s University for her Law degree. She articled with the law firm of Gowlings LLP, was called to the Ontario Bar in 2008, and joined CSA Group’s legal team in 2009 to work on the CSA’s intellectual property portfolio. More recently, she attended NYU School of Law in 2011 and earned her Masters in Law in International Legal Studies, and was further licensed to practice in New York in May 2013. Aliya has spent a considerable amount of time working and studying abroad in the UK, Hong Kong and most recently New York.
Friday, November 1, 2013
Environment 3, room 1408
200 University Avenue West
Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1