The World is Flat

8 Feb

Will you believe me if I tell you that the world is flat? Yes, indeed, the world is flat. This metaphor is used by Thomas L. Friedman in his book The World is Flat to refer to the processes of globalization in the twenty-first century. Friedman speaks about ten forces that flattened the world in order to clarify the flat-world platform.  This platform is a phenomenon which enables, enjoins and empowers individuals,  small groups, and companies more than ever before to cooperate and compete globally. You can learn more about Globalization 3.0 which differs from the previous epochs not only how it is shrinking and flattening the world, but also how it is empowering many more divers individuals to “plug in and play”.

Friedman explores a brave new world by visiting different countries, conducting interviews and analyzing the convergence of ten main political events, innovations, and companies which create the tools for cooperation and competition. He stresses the importance of 11/9/89 – the fall of the Berlin Wall. The author dwells upon 8/9/95 when the Netscape went public and the Internet became interoperable by taking in mind the relevance of fiber optic cable. The third force, according to Friedman,  is the work flow software which encompasses computer protocols (HTTP, IP etc.) and languages (HTML, XML etc.).  Further, the author describes uploading which entails blogging, Wikipedia, BitTorrent, Facebook, and all different community developed software. Out-sourcing, the fifth flattener, is relevant because it enables a company to take some specific function that it does in-house and have another company perform that function.  Off-shoring, the sixth force, is when a company takes one of its factories to another locality. The last flatteners are supply-chaining (the retailers deliver all sorts of goods to the consumer), in-sourcing (form of collaborating which helps small companies act big enabling them to create supply chain), in-forming (Google, Yahoo, MSN Web Search), the steroids (all sorts of technologies that amplify the other flatteners).

You can get a close view on how companies like JetBlue, UPS, Dell, Wal-Mart work and what their place in the world economy is. While reading the book, you can realize that in the world which Friedman describes, you need to be able to learn whenever is necessary, think horizontally and have a conscious working ethic in order to adjust to the fast pace.  Not coincidentally, he highlights the advantages of liberal arts education.

The author talks extensively about the individuals in China, India, East Europe who embrace the flat-world platform in order to succeed and be competitive. However, terrorist organizations can also embrace the tools of the flattening world to collaborate in a deadly activities. Consequently, there are references to 9/11.

The World is Flat contains comprehensive account on why culture matters and remarks that there are still people in the world who cannot participate in the flat-world platform. The book may lead to a debate about the role of the nation-state and the role of the individual in the globalized world.


One Response to “The World is Flat”


  1. The world is flat? | I'm a teacher but also a learner! - 06.06.2011

    […] June 6th, 2011 · No Comments · Uncategorized I’m gaining such pleasure from reading this article by Claudia Wallis that I don’t want to stop to start blogging about it – but the views must be shared, so I’ll do my best to summarise it for you all thanks for this image […]

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