Monday, July 18, 2005

"The World Is Flat" by Tom Friedman



Sunday, in the wee hours, I caught the
National Governor's Association's Annunal Meeting being broadcast on C-SPAN. In particular I heard Tom Friedman, three time Pulitzer Prize winner, speak about his book "The World Is Flat" and how Globalization and technology is important in education. He really blew me away. Perhaps others have read this already since it was released in April I believe. I'd love to hear your comments if you have. You can listen to it on C-SPAN here.

Mr. Friedman discussed what he means by the title "The World is Flat." He states that the world has been flattened by 3 distinct globalization events, making the world very tiny. He also mentions specific technological dates which made huge impacts in changing the world. He states those which happened 2000 and after were not noticed because we were distracted by 9/11, the war etc.

Mr. Friedman provides some specific examples of how the world has flattened. For example he mentioned not only outsourcing but insourcing. He mentioned UPS which now has insourced computer company technicians. Your computer goes to a UPS hub & they repair it there! He also mentioned how McDonalds in Cape Girardeau, MO take your orders from Colorado Springs (that is 900 miles away!) and then send a picture of you from when you ordered, to the pick up window. Your order is received faster this way. He also explained how JetBlue, a new airline based in Utah, hires local housewives, retirees and they book your reservation from their bed, pool etc. on their laptops!

He stated that the world has flattened so much that years ago if you asked Bill Gates would you rather have a B student from Iowa or a genius from India, Mr. Gates would quickly say the B student from Iowa. He says, today Mr. Gates response is the geniusfrom India. Mr. Friedman said when he was a kid his parents use to tell him to eat all his food that children in India were starving. He says he tells his children now to do their homework that children in India are starving for their jobs. Quite interesting! I know in education this is a concern in that college students can choose to take a course from say CA online and not where they are going full time or even complete a whole degree online!
You may want to listen to an interview with Tom on
NPR.

He states...

"If you think Globalization is all good or all bad, you just don't get it."

He mentions how Sam Walton jumped on technology & how when something leaves the shelf it is immediately replaced by China. Interestingly, he states "if you think WalMart got ahead by just being tough, you are missing the point, they outsmart the other companies." He talks about the dilemma people have that the citizen in us doesn't like the WalMart doesn't offer benefits to employees etc but that as a consumers we like the cheap goods from creating a chain supply.

I do agree with Mr. Friedman that it would be much better to educate people to move up the chain rather than keep them just employable with part-time jobs. He suggest we need a New "New Deal" to allow the people to get new updates employable skills.

He also mentions that IBM has Chinese subcompanies...I didn't know this.

I loved this example:

Indiana outsourced the state's unemployment checks to India because their bid was 8.1M less! The governor died & the free trade Republicans caused a stink and got out of the contract. He asked,"Who was exploited? The people of India who made a decent amount of money by American standards & phenomenal amount by India's standards or where the people of Indiana exploited when they took that contract away which saved them 8.1M! I find this VERY interesting! It really does make one wonder if outsourcing is necessarily or always bad? It may mean you think of the positive of outsourcing. You can be a employee for another country. It may mean we think "we" as the globe rather than just "America" or our own state. Heavens why would we want to worry & care for everyone in the world? What benefit could that be! Hmmm!

Amazing to me that China, Japan &  other countries hold so many of our treasury bills & we are so in debt to them that we could be very vulnerable to them. Everyone says we shouldn't buy from China, but if we stopped we would hurt their economy & then if they needed money...who they going to come to? Who owes them who they would want to pay up? Would we be able to? Ha!

The other interesting point he makes is by buying the crude oil we are financing the armies which we are fighting against. We are financing both sides of the war! UGH! He has interesting ideas of how to fix this with hybrid cars. I found his list of advantages quite interesting!

This was very interesting to listen to! I'll continue to edit this entry as I read/hear more on this book!

You may also be interested in listening to C-SPAN coverage of some
Teachers of the Year speak to a panel of governors.

1 comment:

asianchic9990 said...

hmmm gee we both have entries on the earth....lol well you should check out mine cuz its a wee bit different, plus rude awakenings on animal abuse.. :(