The World Is Flat
A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century
by Thomas L. Friedman
Phase one lasted until 1800, when the world was run by states. Then, between 1800 and 2000, phase two saw the rise of multinational corporations. The third phase of globalization, in place since the year 2000 and continuing into the foreseeable future, is distinguished by individuals seeking to take control of their economic destiny.
That, in a nutshell, is the thesis of The World Is Flat, first published in 2005. Friedman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, journalist, and New York Times op-ed contributor, claims that "When the world is flat, you can innovate without having to emigrate."
But what does he mean by "flat," and how did the world get that way?
Friedman believes the world is flat in the sense that the competitive playing field between industrial and emerging market countries is leveling; and that individual entrepreneurs as well as companies, both large and small, are becoming part of a large, complex, global supply chain extending across oceans, with competition spanning entire continents.
The author suggest that the trigger events for this phenomenon were the collapse of communism, the dot-com bubble (resulting in overinvestment in fiber-optic telecommunications), and the subsequent outsourcing of engineers enlisted to fix the perceived Y2K problem. Yet we are only now beginning to feel and understand the full implications of these events.
This book is Friedman's account of the great changes taking place in our time, as lightning-swift advances in technology and communications put people all over the world in touch as never before — creating an explosion of wealth in India, China and elsewhere, turning eBay hobbyists sitting in their livingrooms into prosperous international merchants...and challenging the rest of us to run even faster if we hope to keep pace.
Friedman demystifies this brave new flat world, allowing readers to make sense of the often bewildering scene unfolding before their eyes, and helping them to understand what it all means to countries, companies, communities, and individuals. The World Is Flat is an essential update on globalization, its discontents — and its successes.
To learn more about Friedman and his work, visit:
- His Home Page »
- Transcript of Friedman discussing The World Is Flat at the Carnegie Council »
- "Why The World Is Flat" from Wired Magazine »
- "The Power of Green" — April 15, 2007 article from New York Times Magazine »