Thursday, August 18, 2005

Flat Earth

My review of Thomas Friedman's book on globalism in business, The World Is Flat , appears in the August issue of Carolina Journal, page 20.

RALEIGH -- Many of us have spoken with call-center operators in Bangalore, India, and would be only slightly surprised that Wal-Mart is China’s eighth largest trading partner — larger than most nations. I was surprised, though, to hear a Hispanic acquaintance worry over the impact that globalization was having on his friends’ businesses in Mexico. Thomas Friedman says our NAFTA partner hears the "giant sucking sound" in stereo.

Welcome to Thomas Friedman’s new book, The World Is Flat. In it, he posits three historic periods of global development — the age of discovery and colonization, followed by a period of business consolidation and growth across national boundaries, and now dawning on an age of information transfer and knowledge workers, spread out and settled in wherever an Internet connection can be made. As the traditional model of vertically integrated, heavily hierarchical corporations converts to a horizontal and collaborative network of contractors, partnerships, and offshore talent, Friedman says the world is flattening, and barriers to trade, culture, and thought are coming down. Not everyone likes it, though.

RTWT here.

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