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The World Is Flat

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ASSIGNMENT: The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman Discuss the book in general and what he means by a "flat world" and what conditions make it flat. Focus on at least one specific topic such as 10 flatteners or the 7 rules for companies

The book by Thomas Friedman, "The World is Flat", discusses the enormous changes regarding technology and communications which have altered the lives of people all over the globe (1). A large aspect in regards to the "flat world" is that we are competing with foreigners all over the world for jobs, status, and power.
Friedman states that the world is flat because he sees it as a "level playing field" with converging opportunities (4). He discusses events such as the creation of global supply chains, the Soviet bloc, and the capitalist restructuring of China which have broken down the "vertical walls" and created a single global marketplace (4). He also focuses heavily on the increasing use of technology and its ability to connect entrepreneurs all over the world. Friedman feels that the world is flattened due to the new globalized economics which have connected collaborating and competing individuals that are seeking opportunities.
Friedman discusses the oneness of the world, by writing about the flattening of our world due to several key event and forces. Friedman is overall a "technological determinist", because he focuses on the idea that technology determines what is possible for us (3). He states that our flat world has given us the exposure to several possibilities. The coming of supply-chaining as well as outsourcing are factors which contribute to the oneness of our world (3).

The 10 Flatteners The core of the book discusses the 10 trends which Friedman thinks are changing the world. The first two flatteners concern the end of communism as well as the ever-increasing rise of the Internet. Friedman states that these two aspects are exemplified by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the initial public offering of Netscape stock in 1995 (2). The 10 flatteners are: The coming of IBM personal computers, the coming of the Netscape web browser, development of software programs that allow computers to communicate with one another, development of open-sourcing, outsourcing, off-shoring, supply-chaining, in-sourcing, in-forming, and coming of wireless technology (1).
Another flattener that Friedman feels is important is the open source movement as something with a global affect. "Open source" regards the technique of developing software. Open source software is developed by a team of engineers which distribute the software freely over the Internet and is available to anyone who has the source code. The problem with open source is that it has become somewhat of a "cult movement" (2). The increase of the Web has created the "Internet Utopians" who are constantly in search of free information without the associated costs.

In regards to outsourcing, Friedman discusses the "dirty little secret" his idea of hiring foreign workers for cost considerations and because foreign workers are often more competent then their American counterparts (3). The secret is the fact that these workers are more motivated to work harder because they know they are "lower down the totem pole" (3).

Some of Friedman 's proposals and ideas seem to make complete sense such as the one for a "grand China-United States Manhattan Project, a crash program to develop clean alternative energies" this sounds great especially since America has and is going through what seems an energy crisis. But for all his imagination and compassion and élan, Friedman 's portrait of the world we 're entering is a lot less attractive than he seems to realize.

Even under the best of circumstances even if all the best radical middle proposals for energy independence, health care, education, etc. were voted in by Congress (an inconceivable thought) we Americans would all be running faster and faster to stay just ahead of the competition from India, and the Indians would be running faster to stay ahead of the Thai competition, and so on down the line. I don 't know about you but I feel that this world especially America is running way to fast already. When was the last time you stopped for a moment to appreciate the simple things in life. I believe that this is a question that we all must ask ourselves. Are we willing to trade in simplicity and beauty for technology and speed?

Bibliography

 Friedman, Thomas. "The World is Flat"." New York Times "Foreign Affairs" (2005)
13 November, 2006 .

 Drum, Kevin. "Falling flat: Thomas Friedman 's recycled view of globalization." The
Washington Monthly May, 2005 1-3. 16 Nov 2006 .

 Satin, Mark. "Thomas Friedman 's The World Is Flat: Where 's the depth?" Radical
Middle Newsletter 15 May 2005 1. 16 Nov 2006 .

 Lotta, Raymond. "IMPERIAL TUNNEL VISION AND THE REAL WORLD." A
Jagged, Unjust, and Obsolete World: 10 Sept 2006 16 Nov 2006 .

Bibliography:  Friedman, Thomas. "The World is Flat"." New York Times "Foreign Affairs" (2005) 13 November, 2006 .  Drum, Kevin. "Falling flat: Thomas Friedman 's recycled view of globalization." The Washington Monthly May, 2005 1-3. 16 Nov 2006 .  Satin, Mark. "Thomas Friedman 's The World Is Flat: Where 's the depth?" Radical Middle Newsletter 15 May 2005 1. 16 Nov 2006 .  Lotta, Raymond. "IMPERIAL TUNNEL VISION AND THE REAL WORLD." A Jagged, Unjust, and Obsolete World: 10 Sept 2006 16 Nov 2006 .

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