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University of the Philippines Lahug, Cebu City

The World is Flat


Book Review by

Thomas Friedman

Submitted by: Angelique Kay G. Consular

Submitted to: Ms. Mae Claire Jabines

Chapter Summaries

Chapter One: While I Was Sleeping The first chapter begins by illustrating Friedman's disclosure that the world is flat. It sets forward on his visit to Infosys Technologies Limited in India, where he go on foot with Discovery Times. Friedman is inspired by the grounds' propelled innovation, for example the glass-and-steel edifices and huge even screen Tvs. The organization's CEO, Nandan Nilekani, tells Friedman that the global competitive field seems to be leveled and that that the world is being flattened. From this, we can see that a "flat" world is one in which the "playing field" on which companies contend is presently level. It is one in which companies from different nations can compete with each other on an equivalent basis. Friedman breaks down Globalization into three (3) eras. The first is from 1492-1800, which he calls Globalization 1.0 and it shrink the world from large to medium. Its dynamic force is countries how much physical strength your country has and how creatively you can move it into action. The second is from 1800-2000, which he calls Globalization 2.0 and creates a small world. It is about the multinational companies. As Friedman argues, we are now in the Globalization 3.0 period where in the world shrinks from small to tiny, flattening to such a degree that people can team up and contend universally. In this way, when Friedman says the world is flat, he is saying that technology has allowed companies from more and more countries of the world to compete on an equivalent premise in the worldwide economy.

Chapter Two: The Ten Forces that Flattened the World In chapter two, Friedman argues that there are primarily ten forces that he credits as being central to the increase in globalization. He calls these forces as flatteners which opened up and flattened the world. The 10 forces that Friedman believes led to a flatter world include:

1. The Collapse of the Berlin Wall It happens on November 9, 1989. Politically, the collapse ends the cold war, signifies the failure of Communism in East Germany, and reunites a divided country. Economically, it grants access to huge new markets for labor, materials, and products to both East and West Germany. 2. Netscape The date Netscape go public is August 9, 1995. It increases the ability for small companies and foreign businesses to compete with larger U.S. based businesses. Netscape also develops an Internet browser that could work on several different types of computers; therefore, gains the ability to share information quickly and easily.

3. Work Flow Software Work flow software refers to the machines and applications abilities to communicate and work together without a human medium. It allows more people to collaborate within and between businesses and continents, at a faster pace than ever before. The combination of the first three flatteners comes what Friedman calls the genesis movement for the flattening of the world. 4. Uploading or Open Sourcing Uploading allows individuals or communities to put information on the Web. It has given the public the chance to easily share and display any content they may want to, which is not always a good thing because anyone can upload anything for the public to access, including illegal hacking software, pirated movies, and the downloaded file may contain viruses. 5. Outsourcing Outsourcing is the act of a company dividing its services onto partner companies. It allows a company to become cost effective and efficient, and thus produce low budget, yet quality things in shorter time. An example would be that HP would hire a company to make the batteries, and another to make the laptop keys, and then HP will assemble them in the company itself. 6. Offshoring Offshoring is when a company moves its factories to somewhere overseas, seeking cheap labor. When China joins the World Trade Organization in 2001, offshoring reaches new heights because China now has to comply with international law and standard business practices, therefore assuring investors that establishing factories in China would be financially beneficial. 7. Supply-Chaining Friedman uses Wal-Mart as the example. Wal-Mart uses a combination of inventory control and shipping management to streamline its operations and manage costs. The moment an item is scanned at the check-out, a replacement is being ordered. As your product is loaded into your cart and you walk out the door, a factory somewhere is getting ready to make another one. Friedman calls this the Wal-Mart Symphony. Supply-Chaining, as Friedman describes it, requires all the dynamics of digital collaboration and physical transportation to be totally synchronized.

8. Insourcing

The example here is UPS. It turns out that UPS is not just a delivery company. It also repairs laptops, manages the Papa Johns Pizza supply chain, does order fulfilment for Nike, and delivers tropical fish in special containers (which they designed) for Segrest Farms of Florida. Friedman describes this as the process of extending collaboration to create value horizontally. The difference between supply-chaining and insourcing is the degree of collaboration.

9. In-forming This flattener essentially means Internet search. The example here (no surprise) is Google. Yahoo and MSN Search get notable mentions. The Internet allowed reliable information transfer, and search allows for useful access. The users get to decide what is needed, when, and what to do when they find what they want. As Friedman says, the democratization of information.

10. The Steroids This flattener is the quadruple combination of information becoming digital, mobile, personal, and virtual. Friedman calls these items the steroids, and he is referring to the power of having information always at ones fingertips through mobile phones, laptops, etc.

Chapter Three: The Triple Convergence After discussing the ten flatteners of the world, Friedman discusses in this chapter how these forces converge and help level the playing field. He calls it the Triple Convergence. Convergence 1 is the meeting of all the flatteners and creates a global playing field for multiple forms of collaboration. Convergence 2 is the utilization of the flatters for enhancing productivity by a large cadre of managers, innovators, business consultants, IT specialists, CEOs, and workers. Lastly, Convergence 3 opened a chain of opportunities to countries like India, China and former Soviet Union to come out in the playing field and compete.

Chapter Four: The Great Sorting Out In chapter four, Friedman describes what he believes will follow the triple convergence. The triple convergence is likely to cause some chaos and confusion; the great sorting out will recalibrate the ceilings, walls, and floors that define us. Friedman uses as an example the India-Indiana story where an Indian company contracts out to upgrade Indiana to create more work for Indians. Chapter Five: America and Free Trade

The overall view of chapter five is that a free and open society is beneficial for America as a whole, in the long run. In here, Friedman also encourages better education and training, as Americans now compete not only with other Americans, but with the most brilliant minds around the globe for positions.
Chapter Six: The Untouchables

This chapter is full of practical advice for those facing increased competition. Friedman suggests that workers specialize, stay anchored or in close proximity to their customers, and be flexible. According to Freidman, education will continue to be one of the most important factors related to future financial success. He suggests actions that Americans need to take now to maintain their status and place in the world. He also states that Americans need to invest in their education systems and inspire new creative leaders and leadership.

Chapter Seven: The Right Stuff In chapter seven, Freidman insists to focus educational efforts on four skill sets to help young people prepare for the increased competition they will face in the future: (a) learn how to learn, (b) develop passion and curiosity, (c) improve interpersonal skills, and (d) enhance right brain (creative) abilities. Friedman suggests that doing work that one loves will naturally allow the more creative side of ones personality to show. The passion one has for the work will be interpreted as higher quality and more meaningful and thus creates a differentiated product from all the rest.

Chapter Eight: The Quiet Crisis Chapter eight is actually a crisis of education. For example, we have more training programs for athletes but less time and diversity is spend to Science. Thus, sports is used to divert the people from the realities of their problems and the problems of their country. In this, Friedman mentions about the three Dirty Little Secrets: Dirty Little Secret #1 (The Numbers Gap), Dirty Little Secret #2 (The Ambition Gap), and Dirty Little Secret #3 (The Education Gap).

Chapter Nine: This is Not a Test In chapter nine, Friedman stresses that in order to meet the flat challenge, it requires a comprehensive, energetic and focused response. This means that we simply cannot do things the same old way anymore and people must be willing to change and adapt. Friedman also put an emphasis on the importance of shoving political barriers aside in what he calls compassionate flatism to prepare our country for what lies ahead. This includes leadership, muscle building, cushioning, social activism and parenting.

Chapter Ten: The Virgin of Guadalupe In chapter ten, Friedman tells about the Virgin of Guadalupe statues imported into Mexico from another, even less-developed country. This, he refers to what policies developing countries must carry out to thrive in the flattening world. Friedman asserts that the first step developing nations must take when thinking about the flat world is introspection. The country must be brutally honest about themselves their problems, where they stand. They need to forget pride. Friedman also considers culture in a way that if the latter does not value hard work, getting ahead, honesty, deferred rewards, it will not get ahead. And lastly is the intangible things which is the willingness of a country to pull together and sacrifice for its own development.

Chapter Eleven: How Companies Cope Chapter eleven is about How Companies Cope. The main point that Friedman wants to imply is that if a company would want to grow and flourish and a flat world, it should learn how to change and align itself with the latter.

Chapter Twelve: The Unflat World In chapter twelve, Friedman stresses out that there is absolutely no guarantee that everyone will use these new technologies, or the triple convergence, for the benefit of themselves, their countries or humanity either because they are too sick which in turn weakens them for their middle-class hope, too disempowered for the reason that they arent really getting benefits out of the flattening world, too frustrated that they even get humiliated by a close contact e.g. Muslim people and too many Toyotas which is an undeniably resource constraint.

Chapter Thirteen: The Globalization of the Local In this chapter, Friedman travels around the world to understand why flattening is not happening in some places, such as the Middle East or Africa, how it is happening in others, and what it could mean in the future.

Chapter Fourteen: The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention In chapter fourteen, Friedman provides hope for peace brought about in part by global supply chains. These supply chains helped Indias political leadership realize the very high cost of even a brief war against their neighbour Pakistan; Freidman calls this the Dell theory of conflict prevention. The Dell theory states that any country which is part of a global supply chain has yet to go to war against another country which is part of a similar supply chain.

Chapter Fifteen: 11/9 Versus 9/11 This chapter reveals the two competing views of the world flattening. 11/9 is when the Berlin Wall open up and when the number of Windows operating systems across the globe reaches a critical mass. These are great flatteners. 9/11 is when Osama bin Laden's global supply chain of terror brought down the World Trade Towers. This was also a great flattening event. Both 11/9 and 9/11 were acts of imagination - one positive and one negative. Both were the fulfilment of dreams. Negative acts are caused by those who dream of the past. Positive acts are caused by those who dream of the future. Examples of two groups who dream positively are eBay and its open community of user and India and its 150 million users. Final aside is that there is, however, this curse of oil for people on countries living in Venezuela, Nigeria and etc. By exploiting their natural resources they do not have to develop their human resources. The point is whether it is for good or ill, the world is flattening. Though barred by the disaster mentioned, it cant be stopped.

Points of Agreement/Disagreement, Conclusion and Recommendation

The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman tackles the issue of the increasingly flattened and globalized world. He takes me along his journey of learning how the world has changed; its implications on the future for the U.S., as well as the rest of the world. Friedman uses a personalized style by bringing me along on his travels and experiences to help me understand what is happening in the world today. Through this book, I am able to learn as he learns through his interviews and other activities. The fact that his personal interactions are brought to life in the book keeps each topic in touch with the real world and keeps the ideas presented in the book applicable based on his real experiences. This style of Friedman keeps captivated throughout the entirety of the book. I feel that while knowledgeable Friedman is growing and learning along the way, he is giving a sense of connection to me. The lessons in the book can be a big awakening to us humans as a whole, especially one moving into the working world, and that sense of connection which I mentioned above allows us to absorb the information with a smaller sense of crisis than if the facts were just thrown directly at us. The major point of the book is reflected in its title The World is Flat. Along Friedmans search for knowledge, I learn how the world is changing and flattening out. Through the ten flatteners he discusses and the triple convergence, I am now seeing countries throughout the world be put on a much more level playing field. The opportunities for these countries and the people living there are growing exponentially. He discusses in great proportion the addition of China and India into larger scheme of the global economy and how that can have an enormous effect on the future of this world in every possible aspect. Here, I realize that the populations of these countries are so great and when the time comes that they fully come to the economic party, there is going to be a whole new state of affairs for the world to deal with. I learn quickly that both countries can produce highly talented individuals and can produce similar quality work to Americans at a fraction of the cost. With the digitization of so much information and the increased communication, I now see things such as tax preparation outsourced to India to be done at a much cheaper cost. Before, only American factory jobs could be outsourced, service jobs would always stay at a particular company; through this book, I learn that this is no longer the case and whats even more important is that we humans should gain all the knowledge that the place we are currently in is changing at a rapid pace. Friedman first explains how the world is shrinking and what has caused it through his flatteners and convergences. Then he goes on to the more important points of how it is affecting the U.S., these developing countries, as well as those that arent yet on this flattened world. Friedman also discusses the things that the United States must do to ensure their

success in the flat world. Here he highlights the importance of the education crisis going on in America. Engineering and science degrees are on the decline and the majority of these experts are set to retire in the next few years. This quiet storm is one that Americans need to help quell now because the time to recoup such knowledge loss would seem almost insurmountable. So as a remedy, Friedman focuses on the improvements the Americans must make in their engineering and science force as well as the drive and motivation that must be instilled in their children that will have to succeed against the rest of the world in the future. Towards this part, I am completely in harmony with Friedmans ideas because the fact that America is a dream box, they must continue to be creative, innovative, and adaptable to succeed. They must create the new jobs that will replace the ones lost to the new competition in the flattening world. I really find Friedmans story-like writing style very entertaining as I read his brief history of the twenty-first century (even though it was 600 pages long). I greatly appreciate that he was so sure to use many examples of how technology and changes in a countrys economic development all act as a flattening force for the world. His stories of how globalization is changing other countries was exciting because now, not only will the United States be able to market products to other countries such as England and France, but there is about to be a whole new market opened up that probably outnumbers its current market base. If you really think about it, since both China and India are growing at such a fast rate, there will soon be an emerging middle class that will be interested in products that the United States sells probably, this will give Philippines a chance. All of a sudden, instead of Dell selling 140,000 computers every day, they may be able to sell 500,000 computers. This increase in market size will no doubt increase jobs in the United States as well as around the world. In addition, other companies will increasingly find themselves with a potentially huge increase in market size due to these countries economic development. Despite all of Friedmans examples of how the world was flat, I got a little tired of reading how the United States is doomed to fall behind both China and India as the leading world power in the coming years. I feel that Friedman has taken an extreme view of how the world is changing and has painted a picture that oversimplifies the affects that the United States will feel

from India and China developing economically. Im sure that the United States will be affected in a major way as these countries become more stable and start to see a middle class emerge that outnumbers those in poverty. However, the United States still has an overwhelming percentage of its population

educated compared to both India and China, so I do not think the former is destined for failure as Friedman indicates. He also seems to escalate the level of flattening that has occurred and the effects that is happening. Again he mentions the people outside the flat world, but downplays the size of that group. He does not consider that India and China still have enormous populations that live outside the flattened world, and may quite honestly not want to join it. These countries are seeing a huge gap grow between the rich and poor. Friedman never really discusses how the world could provide high living standards for another billion people if the world flattened that much. These are issues that must be discussed as much as the positives of creating opportunities through a flat world. In everything, there are the pros and cons. Though I honestly dont believe everything that Friedman says in this book, all I can say is that he raises good answers to our questions that should not be underestimated by anyone. I also enjoy reading his revelations which makes me aware of all the new changes going on in society and helps remind me that events that occur elsewhere in the world can directly affect me here. I believe at times the entire process became over-simplified and a little ethnocentric. However, the message he is trying to convey is an important one and should be read by all those trying to exist in this new flat world. Into the final moments, The World Is Flat reminds me that we are all in a steady rivalry with one another and that there will be individuals who show improvement over others. Concerning the Americans, they seem to be pursued. Their decisions are either to run faster or risk getting left in the dust. Despite the fact that the book is extensive, a full 600 pages, it is well worth the time I contributed to read it. There are not many books that can change the view of the world in which one lives. The World is Flat simply does that for me. The book opens my eyes to startling facts and the investment substances that we people confront today. Friedman pulls all his research and experience together in an intelligible, engrossing, and simple to read position that catches any readers creative ability to go beyond what is happening at present. I absolutely recommend it.