Flat World

I’m reading The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Well, I am actually hearing it during my commute since I bought the audio version. The premise in The World is Flat is that the playing field is being leveled in business, education, technology, etc. Now because globalization and a broadband connection smart people in India and China are competing with smart people here. It is interesting to note that the combine population of China and India is about one third of the world population so you now that there are a lot less educated Americans than there are educated Chinese and Indians combined.

But the playing field is also being leveled for individuals and startups that want to compete against entrenched corporations. For example, you don’t have to be a publisher to publish a book. The June 2006 edition on Business 2.0 has a nice write up on Lulu, the self publishing internet startup. With Lulu you can publish a book and make it available on Amazon.com. With on demand book publish and The Long Tail principle Lulu and Amazon add value by allowing small and lesser known authors into their network.

A flat world is a positive thing. In theory a flat world would removes barriers, borders, and hierarchies. A flat world would elevate the level of education in the world and bring health care to those that require it the most. But the world is not that flat yet. For one, the United States is building and militarizing borders instead of tearing them down. China and other repressive countries are using Flat World technology and companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Cisco to censor and suppress their own people. And Africa, the lost continent, has been largely ignored by the Flat World as it suffers from AIDS, genocide, ethnic violence, and high unemployment rates.

A flat world is a positive thing, but I think that those that are driving the flatting of the world are doing so at the expense of those that are being flatten.

[tags]flat world, globalization, the long tail, censorship, lulu, thomas friedman[/tags]

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