The Fall of Stardom
The superiority tag that has identified the United States of America for quite a long time is surely fading off. This has been due to many activities that are taking place in the East. The emergence of China as a global economy is still a force to reckon with if the America and the West are to continue being at the helm of global forums. In the book, the author is trying to tell us how exciting, the flatter World would. (Friedman, 2013) We are doomed if we do not keep up with it, and take ownership of this great challenge cum opportunity. The author looks at the oneness of the contemporary World, and explores the associations of the modifications that have resulted from improvement in communication and technologies. This book is going to deal with the changes that have rendered the world flat as well as the efforts that we should put in a bid to keep up to date with the mention global changes.
Friedman begins his book with a profound statement, ‘’I think the World is flat. ‘He goes ahead on to say that the global playing field is being leveled. He believes that the flattening of will soon connect all the knowledge centers on the Planet together into a single global network which could usher in a new amazing era of prosperity and innovation. The author believes that we are heading to a phase where we are going to see the digitization, virtualization and automation of almost everything. Much benefit will be accrued from all these leveling. The advantages will be gains in productivity (Friedman, 2). This information has led to a lot of uproar from th literary and political world. people continue to argue on the rationale that the author might have followed to come up with such a general observation. However, there are people who agree with him. indeed, globalization has opened the world to inconceivable levels. It is upon his critics to take up this matter politely or end up at longer heads with the current system. in this light, he author has endeavored to spend enough time and presented facts on his claims.
Although at times it may appear that, the world got flat almost overnight, this is simply not the case (Friedman 13,) three stages of digitization have taken place to be where we are. Each of the stage flattened the world to some extent. With the increased technology, the flattening of the world is at its climax. Phase 1 took place in the 1800s.Business relations amongst European nations opened up. It was driven by the fact that each nation wanted to expand its military operations. The success of a nation was attributed on the amount of raw materials that it possessed, as well as the number of chariots and man soldiers. The second phase was effective from the 1800s-2000.It is during this stage that economic integration reached its peaks. Nations had moved from the horse era to auto motives. This had largely to do with the industrial revolution that had swept America and European nations.
According to Friedman, the current phase Globalization 3.0.In this phase, no matter where people are, they have all the tools they need to apply Key field are computerized. The advances in technologies have flattened the global economic arena. He also cites other causes that enhanced the leveling. Looking at this statement, it is evident that much of the change is indeed pushed forward by technology. The author acknowledges that technology has continued to reduce the former space that existed in the world. This notion is true to some extent. However, there are other contributing factors which out to be addressed.
At one time in a meeting, in India,the author hears a software executive speaking of how the World is flat. For a variety of reasons, what economists call “barriers to trade” are being destroyed .It is now possible for an individual company any part of the globe to merge and compete globally. The author uses various factors to drive his point of a flat world home. Some of the companies used by the author to show how companies are going global include the Hewlwart-Packard, Dell and Wal-Mart. These companies have decided to stretch their limits and explore the global markets instead of depending on America and the West. The consequence of this has been an increase in their market base leading to much profit.
Some practices are becoming obsolete in the world of today, it is now possible to acquire knowledge from anywhere and apply it to any country you wish. One of the main flattening forces is outsourcing. It is the practice of transferring skills or knowledge from one geographical location to another. Examples of outsourcing cases in the book include the movement of students from one country to another in search of academic knowledge. Occupation mobility is rampant as workers are importedfrom India and China to the West.
It is now possible to work away from the office. This was never the case during the non-flat era. This concept is referred to as home sourcing. A good example in the book is the point at which Jet Blue Company decides to home source, and one grandmother was more than glad to be working from her house than in the office. The major advantage of home sourcing is the enhanced flexibility and comfort ability it comes with. Workers are able to work at their own convenient time.
There is an increase in unmanned missions and the result acquired by the commanders at a given control Centre. This has decreased the number of casualties in a given battle. It is also easier to combat terrorism than it was a while ago when the only means were guerilla. What makes this story interesting is that it provides an actual clue to what “flattening” really means: lower-level officers and enlisted men have access to command and control information, and are able to make decisions about what action to take. What is being “flattened” is the organizational hierarchy. What is distributed is not only information, but also power (Friedman, 90)
Off shoring has also flattened the world in a very dynamic way. It is now possible for companies to send the whole factory overseas. This has led to the emergence of export processing zones in many countries. As it was in the past, raw materials need not be imported from their country of origin. All a country has to do is to send its whole team to that country and do its businesses from there (Friedman, 45.)
It is clear that the flattening of the world has created profound challenges, as well as opportunities, for the Americas and the West. Friedman cites that the challenge of staying relevant in this flat world is only comparable to that of the threat that America faced from the Soviet Union in the 1960s.He advises nations to encourage their citizens to not only be focused but also energetic. They should be creative in improving the infrastructure and improve on healthcare in a bid of ensuring that they become more employable especially at this age where there is no guarantee in employability. It is surely a survival for the fittest affair. Those who do not respond to the dynamism are at a great risk of outdated (Friedman, 102.)
In as much as globalization is taking place at a much faster pace, it is still facing inhibition by factors such as terrorism, inequalities amongst nations. There is a notion that Third World countries are reluctant in trading with other nations especially where they feel they exploited. This has had the effect of killing the spirit of globalization.
Not everyone takes Friedman case as the gospel truth. Various writers and essayists have emerged to criticize Friedman’s theory of a flat world. According to the New York Times magazine, Friedman should not be taken seriously. They believe that the book is overly glib and contains too much self-satisfaction anecdotes and annoying neologisms. He cites that Friedman has committed a grave mistake against reason and serious research in his contribution to the field of political economics.
Friedman, Thomas. The World is Flat. New York: New York Press, 2012.