Arguably the most famous and useful book on business strategy is Porter's competitive advantage. In it he claims long term competitive advantage is about value, instead of cost, and asks two fundamental questions:
- How attractive are different types of industry over the long term?
- What position can be taken in that industry relative to the competition?
He suggests that low cost labour and few resources are ubiquitous (ie all industries have to cope with low cost labour and a lack of resources), and so the better strategy is for a project to produce high quality results offered at high prices. This results in "good competition" in an industry and leads to industry attractiveness, compared to "bad competition", which has the opposite effect.