Saturday, March 18, 2006


In The World is Flat, Friedman claims that the flattening of the world - globalisation - is the single most important trend in the world today.

In answer to the charge that he is a technological determinist he pleads "Guilty as charged". If we create the internet, work flow software, cell phones then people will use them in all sorts of ways including many not intended by their creators. New technology changes the world forever and often in unpredicted ways.

So, as implied, he then goes onto say that he is not a historical determinist. We can use the internet to develop open souce software or to make plans to end poverty in Africa, or, alternatively to plant a weapon of mass destruction in New York City. The future is up for grabs.
I am certain, though, that the world has been shrinking and flattening for some time now, and that process has quickened dramatically in recent years. Half the world today is directly or indirectly participating in the flattening process or feeling its effects. I have engaged in literary license in titling this book The World is Flat to draw attention to this flattening and its quickening pace because I think it is the single most important trend in the world today.

But I am equally certain that it is not historically inevitable that the rest of the world will become flat or that the already flat parts of the world won't get unflattened by war, economic disruption, or politics. There are hundreds of millions of people on this planet who have been left behind by the flattening process or feel overwhelmed by it, and some of them have enough access to the flattening tools to use them against the system, not on its behalf... (375)
At the moment US Imperialism, somewhat crazy, and the jihadists, totally crazy have stepped onto the stage of history and are fighting it out. China is the sleeping giant, but not so sleepy.

I've read Friedman's book and am prepared to recommend it as essential reading to understand the world today. Friedman advocates a multifaceted plan to save America from its entitlement mentality that he thinks will destroy the country over the next 15 years unless something is done. I don't advocate his book for that reason but because along the way he presents a deeply insightful analysis of the most important trends happening in the world right now.

He gives us a big slab of the big picture.


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