Conservative Bastion
The only blog that can factually claim to shift the Bell Curve, along with the hearts & minds of America, to the right.
Sunday, December 31, 2006
THE WORLD IS FLAT - GET USED TO IT
Back in June, I received a book on CD: The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. For those of you who don’t know, Friedman writes for the New York Times op-ed page on foreign affairs.

The book itself is a couple years old by now, but I never took the time to listen to it until yesterday. Its main focus is globalization and how America and Americans need to adjust in order to survive and excel in the new world.

As the title of the book denotes, the main point of his book is that the world is getting flatter. This is similar to the idea that the world is getting smaller, but with a twist. Friedman claims that in the past, economies worked from the top down – meaning that the big wigs at corporate headquarters and politicians made most of the decisions. He also argues that economic powerhouses like Europe, America, and Japan controlled the economic trends and capital and that technology is changing that.

To make a long story short, American investment and consumption of new technologies has helped make them very cheap. These new cheap prices make it possible for foreign companies and governments to “catch-up” with American technological superiority.

One example of this is the over investment in the telecommunications infrastructure during the dot-com bubble (yes the same dot-com bubble that made the American economy look great during the Clinton years). This over investment made the use of broadband internet relatively cheap for many foreign firms and helped promote the infamous practice of outsourcing. Friedman explains that one major example of outsourcing is through accounting firms in the US. It is a lot to explain, but to make a quick summary, US accounting firms send tax information to India and allow them to do the “grunt work” involved in filing taxes. This practice may cost some accountants their jobs, but it also helps create extra time for the remaining accountants to have more face to face communication with their customers and to help devise the best plan to avoid taxes. (Another testament that we should radically reform the tax code – there is an occupation whose main goal is to understand and avoid our way of taxing. It is incredibly inefficient and a letdown to the American people.)

In other words, our technology gives opportunity to other countries where none existed before. Without the telecommunications

Individuals are also benefiting from technology. Whereas it would be impossible for one person to have his own news program or newspaper 20 years ago, it is very possible today. Through digital cameras, audio recorders, computers, and the internet, one person can record an event or write about it, then post it online for millions to read with almost zero cost to himself and with little effort.

In this sense, the world is not a top to bottom one as it used to be – it is flat.

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In one section of the book, Friedman summarizes the future of the world with a nice quote:

"Girls, when I was growing up, my parents used to say to me, 'Tom, finish your dinner--people in China and India are starving.' My advice to you is: Girls, finish your homework--people in China and India are starving for your jobs."
In line with this quote, he also spoke of the education gap that is occurring between America and new emerging economies like India and China. The only thing I could think of is the fact that Americans can’t even choose where their children go to school.

This book laid down the facts. The future will be good for the world, but if America does not change its ways, it will fall behind India and China. At the very least, you will have many Americans benefit greatly from globalization, and many of the less fortunate (not those born poor, but those born in a bad school district) could possibly suffer.

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One last thing. For those of you who oppose free trade based on the fact that American firms exploit third world workers: you are retarded and lack a basic understanding of economics and free trade. If you find yourself in the moron category, please read this book or email me and I will send you the audio file.
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