“The World Is Flat” by Thomas L. Friedman.

Abstract

This paper aims at reviewing and analyzing the literature of Thomas L. Friedman. In the analysation of Friedman’s literature entitled The World is Flat, largely depicts the issues about globalization most especially in the 21st century. Primarily, it conveys a comparative figurative language where in the world is flat or level in terms of commerce and competition where in all the competitors have an equal and balanced opportunity. The book attributes the description of the title and also portrays the historic changes in the perception of people and their realization that the world is not really flat but is round. The similarity of changes in people’s perception also depicts on the book as it requires the countries, companies and individuals want to maintain on its competitiveness in the global market. This also considers that ten flattening forces that contributes to the flattening of the world, triple convergence and explains the Dell Theory of Conflict. This concludes to the result of what the author portrays on the development of communication as a major tool in achieving a balanced world.

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Introduction

Originally, this book was first made available in the market by the year 2005, and was released as an expounded and more recent edition after a year and still more updates came in 2007. This book illustrates the journey to Bangalore, India, and after realizing that globalization has changed the fundamental economic concepts. The author suggests that the world is flat basically in the conceptualization of the competition that arises between the industrial and developing market of the countries. According to Friedman, this kind of flattening is a result of a union of the personal computer with fiber optic micro cable with the rise of work flow software. And specifically, Friedman coined this idea as Globalization 3.0 that recognizes this period from the previous Globalization 1.0 that means the countries and governments are the major protagonists and the succeeding form of Globalization concludes that multinational companies led the way in driving the global integration.

Friedman considers a lot of examples of companies that are based in India and China where in by giving labor from typists and call center operators to accountants and computer programmers, have been greatly important parts of multifaceted global supply chains for companies such as the Dell Company, AOL and Microsoft. In fact, Friedman reveals the Dell Theory in his book and this Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention is shown in the penultimate part of the book (Friedman, 2005).

Moreover, the author of the book redundantly utilizes lists as one of the organization’s tool in order to communicate the key concepts that are commonly numbered and more often tan not comes with a provocative label. Some of the examples of the list are the ten forces that flattened the world and the three points of junction.

A brief history of the twenty- century is what Friedman use to define his literature in a narrower sense. The history of the world way back twenty years is said to be the most crucial part of the development. This comprises various happenings that took place such as the World Trade Center attack on September 11th and the Iraq war (Williams, 2003). The union of the innovations on technology and the events that tolerated India and China to be part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing creates an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world’s two of the biggest nations and portraying a large benefit in the success of globalization (Friedman, 2005). The flattening of the globe primarily scopes the evolution and development of the world when it comes to competitiveness of businesses around the globe. This makes the people become wiser as they maintain their significant roles in the society in every aspect such as the political scene and as individuals of a certain country.

In Friedman’s book, the award winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman revealed the brave new world for his readers that allow them to make sense of the usual bewildering global scene relating before their eyes. With the author’s inimitable capability to translate multifaceted foreign policies and economic issues, Friedman justifies how the flattening of the world took place at eh dawn of the twenty- first century. This covers the meaning to the countries, companies, communities and individuals and how largely the governments and societies can link to it (Friedman, 2005). The world is flat indeed is like a timely and important update on the globalization sense such as its successes and discontents are firmly illuminated by Friedman.

Discussion

The evaluation of Thomas Friedman of the influences that molds the business and competition in a government which is largely made up of technology is a call to action for governments, businesses and individuals who must stay ahead of these trends to be able to sustain its aggressiveness.

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Through the case studies, interviews and statistics, Friedman’s point of views are apparent. Principles such as promptness most especially in this era are important because this observable fact does not actually consider any individual. Without any expression or scare tactics, Friedman illustrates a picture of a world moving more rapidly than most that can continue keeping up. As we explore place of America in the quick growing world profitable stand, Friedman presents not only the troubles we face, but anticipatory measures and potential answer in dealing with these dilemmas.

As Friedman moves towards the end of his literature specifically in presenting the theories, he advises of the forces that could critically slow the flattening of the world which specifically the threat posed by terrorist networks. The author’s perspectives is stimulating in a media led greatly by alarming tactics and fright-triggering as he gives confidence a pragmatic and objective loom to this threat. The perception of people are now becoming open and have the ability of collaborating, competing and sharing with other areas such as in culture, religions, languages and educational background, the book is significant to check the reality in able to bring the elements into an outlook and put forward the answers and drive to reveal the solutions.

Globalization of the Local

Chapter thirteen of the book covers the globalization on world cultures. Through this, people realize that globalization id seen by many as the Americanization forms a hostile response by those who thought that they would be molded and characterized into being mini- Americans. However contemporary forms of communication and innovation opens a global platform for the sharing of work, opinion and entertainment. Friedman chiefly agrees that globalization serves more to enhance and protect culture than to devastate it. The context defines as well that each individual is given their own way to voice and move their own expression through technology such as websites, podcasts and the like. The origin of the problems is like that the antagonist will always be present with the protagonist. As humans and businesses link online to be able to share ideas, therefore, the terrorists and the predators also do connects with each other (Tapscott and Williams, 2006).

Forces That Flattened the World

According to Thomas L. Friedman (2005), there are ten forces which affect the flattening of the world and intensify the globalization trend even more. The first one is the fall of Berlin wall in 1989 where in it emptied the balance of power across the world towards a democratic free market and away from an authoritarian rule. The second flattener is characterized by the ability of people to express their opinions and ideas world wide with the use of the internet as it was introduced in 1995. And through the use of the free workflow software around the world, people could then utilize this as their link with each other in order to work together and share ideas for the better outcome of certain goals. And the next flatteners attributes to the innovations in communication which should be used by people in order to attain a deeper development for the globalization of businesses around the world. Names of internet and technology companies are mentioned by Friedman and given credit like Google and Toshiba for their great participation in hosting these kinds of development. Outsourcing, supply chaining as when Wal-mart collaborates horizontally with the sellers and suppliers to protect the value and the steroids or the computers that allows people to make possible wireless communications like cellular phones are also accounted as world flatteners. Thus, Friedman widely senses that the form of communication in the twenty- first century has come into the perspectives of innovating for the success of global market.

Triple Convergence

These ‘triple convergence’ allow the ten flatteners to operate accordingly and accounts for the worldwide web, the development of new ways to collaborate horizontally and the opening up of China, India and the former Soviet Union.

The ten flatteners most especially the use of innovations with regard to the internet sources is up until the year 2000. The flatteners at that time are semi- independent from one another however there has been a time when they are converged with one another. This resembles the complementary goods where in a particular flattener enriches the other flattener (Tapscott and Williams, 2006).

A new exemplar of business was then needed to succeed. Instead of working together in a vertical manner, or the top down way of union where the innovations come from the top, the businesses have to converge in a horizontal manner which is the reverse of the vertical one (Friedman, 2005). The deeper meaning of working in a horizontal manner depicts that companies and people work together with other departments or companies in order to add value and creation or innovation. Friedman’s portrayal of the second convergence presents a relationship between horizontalization and the ten flatteners.

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After the first flattener took place which is the fall of Berlin wall in 1989, countries that followed the Soviet economic model which includes India, China, Russia and the nations of Eastern Europe, Latin America and Central Asia started to open up their economies to the world. After there key players united with the rest of the globalize market place, they added new brain control to the whole playing ground and improved force influential political affairs and economics in the in the early years of twenty first century.

The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention

People start with a thorough study of the supply chain that is described by Friedman when he used his own self when he bought a computer in one of his case studies. Thus, this leads to the evaluation of how the geopolitical conflicts disrupt and slow down the growth of globalization. The theory of Friedman is that the two countries invested in a business together by being an element of the same global supply sequence are less likely to have a conflict as they are now a lot spent in the accomplishment of the business scheme. Any disturbance to that supply sequence would be significant. As people echo on the development of supply chains and the end product that they have had on the area of politics and the constancy of countries they have an effect on. As people keep in mind that Asia, as contrasting to the Middle East, has turn into a more established and stable place because they are components of a lot of supply chains and for that reason more are interested in doing such good business. Generally, the price of conflict is superior than it used to be and expected and certain countries will have to take account of the effect of these conflicts on their place most especially in the business world. Friedman also travels around both the China-Taiwan associations and India-Pakistan as paradigms of how the flattening of the world and supply chain have a consoling result and drive countries to reflect reasonably and logically about the true cost of conflict which will make the diplomatic resolution and explanation more likely (Friedman, 2005).

Thus, as the people views the darker side of the observable facts in a supply chain, it gives ideas on how to understand the scenarios that occurred in terrorisms and its networks that concludes to a mutant supply sequence for the goals of negative destructions and for profit. In a flat world, Friedman illustrated that the transmission of terror is very much easier and the examination of the people’s capabilities to disrupt the nuclear threat through the use of abilities to disturb the chain of the terrorists is a major factor for a better world.

Destructions

Examining the two significant dates in the world which is the November 9th and the September 11th is an example of the author’s creative imagination for the first date and a destructive date for the latter one. With the November 9th date, the destruction of the Berlin Wall was the start for a freer, flatter and more democratic world. And on the other hand, the September 9th date particularly resembles the view of a world to try a snap shut from the external threats basically recognized as terrorism. This is basically on e of Friedman’s sign for a more positive creativity and gives people the methods to do positive things with what is at hand by opening the doors of various aspects (Chomsky, 2001).

People see the innovation and creativity that Bin Laden, the leader of the terrorists, has put in his plan on the September 11th bombing and this appeared to be terrible as it was. Apparently, Friedman states that the elements that flatten the world can be utilized in order to bring everyone up on the same degree or perhaps down to the same degree. The people who live in free and advanced societies should lead other people to use their imaginations without tolerating their imaginations in getting the best. Technology can not safeguard people though, so people should harness that technology and manage it according to the benefit of all. Thus, this has to be described as determining the line between the precaution and fear to maintain things in point of view of a flat world. People are bounded to remember who they are to be bale to get rid of missing their own identity in a balanced world. Just like exploring eBay as a community of visible ones, India as the second biggest Muslim country where the fact and imagination are various than in other parts of the Arab world adds up to the issue. In addition to, the oil in which it keeps the countries moving forward in businesses presents the creativity that people learn in different areas.

Consequently, destruction or terrorism widely plays a major role in the appearance of what the results of these events have affected the businesses in the world. However, Friedman did not address concisely other things that triggered the innovations more but focused on the wars between the conflicting countries around the world.

Resolutions

Friedman proposed resolutions in order to battle with the silent crisis of a flattening world. One is through his belief that the United States should maximize its workforce by the continuous update of the working skills. However, Friedman opposes to the idea of making the work force more adaptable or adjustable because it will keep more employable. Friedman suggests that the government should make it more accessible to change jobs by making retirement repayment and health insurance not as much dependent on the employer of a person and by giving insurance that would partially cover up a probable fall in earnings when shifting jobs. Friedman has a good point in saying that there should be more encouragement and inspiration for youth to be professionals such as scientists, engineers, and mathematicians because of the reduction in percentage of these professionals from America.

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Conclusion

The world is flat does not exempt any one in the quest for answers that will resolve the problems that most can not even define. This starts from simple things up to the bigger ones. The analysis of globalization is an intrepid challenge at justifying and comprehending to the driving forces that leads the flattening of the world though Friedman claims that the very nature of beast stops one from acquiring all the answers. This frankness is for maintaining the theme of the whole book in which the readers must learn how to deal with and teach the readers to stay inquisitive and innovative in order to advance in a global economy (Friedman, 2005).

In reviewing the book of Friedman sums up the world’s emergence on the innovations specifically in the technological sense of communication that connects the people around the globe. He ideally constructed a perspective of having connections with each other and apparently responded to the competitiveness of globalization as a way of clearing diversifications in businesses.

However, the weakness of this literature goes out to the exaggeration of Friedman about the use of technology and that it almost illustrated the whole concept of making business in an everyday life. Indeed, the portrayals made by Friedman to communicate with one another in the world is a kind of explicit explanation that globalization quite relies on the development of such things. Terrorism per se is also attributed to the outcome of globalization and somehow showed significant roles for the discrete crisis today. Apparently, this idea of Friedman that was being conveyed largely affects the businesses around because this triggered the manufacture of new technologies and relatively made more high- tech for better operations (Kearney, 2004).

Strengths of this book include the author’s address for significant issues such as the crisis that took place in the period. His stories about the flat world is really profound though he claims that the world s not really flat indeed. His attention to the flattening world and increasing rapidity is also a good perspective that was discussed. Part of the comprehension should come from the determination of factors that prevents globalization from arising in some people is actually true. People should embrace the emergence of the technologies because it really makes a great difference in communication purposes. Technology connects all people around the world and businesses as well. This gives way to the advancement of such aspect but it needs to be critically understood that this should only be utilized for the welfare of all just like what Friedman wants to depict through his presentations of terrorisms.

The ten flatteners essentially make the world flat and maintain a balanced competition among the key players of a business. The use of electronic gadgets easily contributes to the progress and success of a company and therefore improves the work force. There is also a Dell Theory of Conflict which actually accounts for laptop computers that Friedman used to write in his book. The computer was put together through a supply- chain membership that involves many countries that because of their common commercial interests are not likely to want to engage in war just like what the scenarios happened in the terrorism action in United States. The author’s treatment for the Arabs and Muslim are like a deviation and view this in a globalization perspective. For a complex cultural and historical reason, many Muslim countries are not able to administer the weight of globalization that needs both openness to the external world and an ability to take on board the process of transformation or globalization (Khor, 2001).

As a whole, Friedman have a lot of strong points due to his profound observations in a flat world and what makes up the elements that it requires to have. Though focusing on the technology is not just a way where in innovations can come out. It sounds like the world depends on the technologies which will increase the productivity in companies is some kind of a weak idea because industrialization is just a part of the total workforce (Ghemawat, 2007). Hence, people should also be accounted and increase the skills for the reason that globalization is principally composed of the main actors that are played by the people. Emergence should start from the main actors and then be followed by the technologies. But accordingly, Friedman is undeniably a genius when it comes to his ideas about globalization.

References

Bass, W. (2005). The Great Leveling. Washington Post.

Chomsky, N. (2001) The World After Sept. 11. AFSC Conference Paper.

Friedman, T. (2005) The World is Flat. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

Ghemawat, P. (2007). Why the world isn’t flat. Growth Strategies.

Kearney, A. T. (2004) Globalisation Index 2004. Measuring Globalisation: Economic Reversals, Forward Momentum. Foreign Policy March-April: 54-69.

Khor, M. (2001) Rethinking Globalisation: Critical Issues and Policy Choices. London: Zed Books.

Tapscott, D. and A. Williams (2006). Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything. New York: Penguin Group.

Williams, M. C. (2003) Words, Images, Enemies: Securitization and International Politics , International Studies Quarterly 47: 511-531.

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