Books and Movies Reviews

Book Review of The World is Flat, Written by Thomas L. Friedman

Hundreds of years ago, Christopher Columbus returned from the New World to the Old World to declare that the world was not flat, but round. Now, in the 21st century, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman returns from the developing world to the developed world to declare that the world is flat, as "flat as that screen" on which a budding Indian entrepreneur can "host a meeting of his whole supply chain" (Friedman 7). By flat, Friedman means that globalization has created a level playing field for more and more of the nations, industries, and individuals in the modern, technologically forward-thinking world. Friedman sees globalization, for all of its problems, as a force for good. It has the power to unite more than it has the power to divide, and to create equality rather than increase the tensions between the haves and the have-nots, as is sometimes alleged. However, although his enthusiasm and vibrant prose is at times infectious, ultimately Friedman seems frighteningly unconcerned about the costs to the developing and the developed world of the unchecked power of multinational companies. Globalization may have benefited some people in the developing world, like the young Indian entrepreneurs, accountants, and engineers that so impress Friedman, but it is questionable if their success can be used to stand for all workers in ever hemisphere of the globe.
Friedman's thesis revolves around the proposition that the world is flattening quickly because of convergence of factors. The collapse of the Berlin Wall ended the divisions between the communist and capitalist nations of the world. While the idea that the end of communism as a worldwide movement was a seismic political event is hardly new, Friedman believes that the ability of this advance to break down political and communications barriers between nations in economic terms is just as important as the freedoms and regional instabilities it spawned. &q…


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