World Is Flat

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The phrase: "the world is flat" can be interpreted in many ways. Basically what Friedman means by "flat" is "linked." The falling of trade and political barriers and technical advances have made it possible to do business, instantaneously with billions of other people around the world. It has allowed for parts of the world, which had previously been cut off, like China and India, to successfully compete in the world market. Thus, the playing field is being leveled, and no one nation has an advantage. Friedman could also refer to a "flat world" in a metaphorical sense. In a spherical earth you cannot see around the world and cannot recognize the opportunities far from where you live. If the world were flat you could see it all. There would be no barriers to get in your way. This is the equivalent to a smaller globe which allows one to reach far away opportunities.

The three Globalizations contrast in many ways. Globalization 1.0, lasting from 1492 to about 1800, was about countries and muscles. Its force driving the process of global flattening was the amount of "muscle" your country had. The key agent of change in Globalization 2.0, which lasted from 1800 to 2000, was the power of multinational companies, which went global for markets and labor. Globalization 3.0, beginning in 2000 flattened the playing field even more. The dynamic force was the power by which individuals could collaborate and compete globally. They could do so digitally with the convergence of the personal computer with fiber-optic cable. Globalization 3.0 differs from the previous two not only in how the world is flattening, but also in the types of people involved. In Globalization 1.0 and 2.0 it was mostly American and European businesses who contributed to the globalization where as Globalization 3.0 is driven more by non-Western individuals.

In the new global economy, the US may no longer easily dominate. As a result of the flat world, new parts of the world are beginning to successfully compete. Two of the more powerful ones are India and China. These emerging nations are now competing not just for low-wage manufacturing and information labor but, increasingly, for the highest-end research and design work as well. As Friedman mentions in his triple convergence, roughly 3 billion people from India, Russia, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Asia are now joining this, "plug and play" world in which they can basically compete and collaborate equally. While these nations certainly pose a threat to historical U.S. and European prosperity and power, the proper response is not to fight it, but rather to embrace it, in order to thrive in the new world.

The ten "flatteners" in The World is Flat are 11/9/89, 8/9/95, work flow software, uploading, outsourcing, offshoring, supply-chaining, insourcing, in-forming, and the steroids

11/9/89: The Berlin Wall for many years served as a barrier between West Berlin and East Germany. It prevented a global view of the future as well by forcing the population of East Germany to be totally secluded from the rest of the world. The fall of the Berlin wall on 11/9/89 changed everything. Not only did this weaken communism, it tipped the balance of power across the world towards democratic advocacy, consensual governance and a free-market economy. The effect was felt not only felt in Germany; but in other socialist nations as well. Their economies started opening up to global capitalism and they began taking advantage of the world market. The fall of the wall opened the way for new technological advances, one being the personal computer. With the launch of the first Windows operating system in 1985, the desire to gather information and communicate became more evident. Ultimately, the fall of the Berlin Wall and the release of the personal computer were the first steps in allowing us to think of the world as a whole.

8/9/95: The next great breakthrough in connectivity was the emergence...
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