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Thread: The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

  1. #1
    Cyburbian GeogPlanner's avatar
    Aug 2001
    Capital Region, NY

    The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman

    [in progress]

    Friedman's prose makes this subject very readable by most. The target audience appears to be those who have so passing knoweldge about technology and current events. Friedman's main idea here is that globalization has entered its 3rd era where individuals are shaping the world as we know it from many points. Whereas nations and corporations had previously been the driving forces in globalization; common computing platforms, the proliferation of the Internet and the over-investment in fiber optics have enabled nearly anyone with access to a computer terminal to be a player in today's world.

    Perhaps the pulse that Friedman has his finger on best is the role of Google in this new world. Note: I am posting this a bit premature as I continued to finish Friedman's piece because of this news story. Recently, Business 2.0 announced the possible development of a wi-fi network by Google that would create the nation's largest ISP in the US. What is also interesting is that Google has been buying "dark" fiber in US cities, a direct result of the over-investment Friedman acknowledges. Friedman also cites the advances in Wi-Fi in other nations like Japan and the lack of significant Wi-Fi availability in US cities. More and more people question the ability of the US to stay competitive in a new economy because of it's networks of older technology that companies are reluctant to abandon in favor of new ones. Friedman points out that in China, home phone service is increasingly available to the Chinese however, the Chinese are instead relying on the cellular phone as thier primary phone service, stepping right over what was an step in techology for the rest of the world and saving money by investing in a newer technology right away.
    "A day without sunshine is like, you know, night." --Steve Martin

  2. #2
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
    Jun 2003
    at the neighboring pub
    haven't actually read the book yet, but I have heard good things. I read his Lexus and the Olive Tree about a year ago and thought it was excellent (though I did not agree with everything he said). I've been meaning to read this during the summer, but it just hasn't happened yet.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  3. #3
    May 2006
    Chicago, Illinois
    My problem with this book is it would have been a 3 page magazine article rather than a giant book

  4. #4
    Cyburbian geobandito's avatar
    Feb 2005
    Quote Originally posted by burnham follower
    My problem with this book is it would have been a 3 page magazine article rather than a giant book
    I like the book, but it easily could have been about half as long. I thought it was a good summary of the current world situation. I really want to recommend it to all my insular relatives back in Ohio who think that outsourcing manufacturing jobs is anti-American and that Walmart creates good jobs.

    My only quibbles... one, he was very focused on how globalization can make people, particularly Americans, rich. He didn't really address what happens to places like Africa in his future scenarios. Second was his cheesy infatuation with his phrase "the world is flat" and how he obviously proposed it to his interviewees thereby forcing them to use it in their replies.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
    Apr 2003
    Somewhere between the mountains and the ocean.
    While I have not read it yet, the under graduate planning students at Western Michigan University are required to read it for one of the classes. My prof has said good things about the book, not so much because of what is said, but more so because it makes people think about the how different aspects of socialization, globalization, and economics influences the choices that people make.

    I am on the waiting list at my Library to get a copy so I can see for my self.
    If you want different results in your life, you need to do different things than you have done in the past. Change is that simple.

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