The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century
by Thomas Friedman
Reviewed by: Darrell
This book examines the implications of the flattening of the world. “Flattening” is Friedman’s term to describe how everything and everyone is becoming more and more connected by advances in communications and technology. His premise is that this flattening will alter the way we live, work and think about the world.
This is an excellent book and I think Friedman has some valuable insights into the forces that are shaping our modern world. One of Friedman’s key ideas is that the entire globalization of our planet can be viewed as three distinct phases. The first of these phases occurred from the dawn of history to about 1800, the second from 1800 to about 2000 and the third from 2000 to the present. This third phase, which we’re in now, is characterized by a huge increase in global connectedness and therefore true global competition. Friedman makes the point that we are now at a stage where we’re essentially competing with the entire world for our daily bread.
It’s not just high-tech jobs that are going overseas, even many service sector and administrative jobs can and will be done in lower cost countries. His message is that if we are to survive in this flat new world we need to wake up and adapt to this new reality. Everything from our educational system to our political framework has to evolve to accommodate this new world.