The central idea in Thomas Friedman’s book The World is Flat is that globalization is leveling things around the world, especially in terms of commerce and business. According to Friedman “globalization has changed core economic concepts” The concepts that he is referring to include doing business and outsourcing of labor. One of the biggest things we can understand about outsourcing in current times is every time we call a credit card company or any other type of company and someone with a very foreign accent answers. American companies outsource call centers to India where the labor is cheaper.
There are ten flatteners that Friedman views as flatteners. These include:
Collapse of the Berlin Wall, Netscape, workflow software, uploading, outsourcing, off shoring, supply-chaining, in sourcing, informing and personal digital devices.
The Collapse of the Berlin Wall opened up the world because it represented the ending of the Cold War and opened up that area of the world. Netscape along with the World Wide Web open that internet up to everyday people and not just the technologically savvy. Workflow software made machines able to communicate with each other therefore cutting out humans and making communication even easier. Uploading makes it possible for multiple people from anywhere able to collaborate and work on projects together such as on Google documents. Outsourcing has given companies the ability to send work to anywhere in the world. Of shoring is an even stronger form of outsourcing, it happens when companies move entire operations or productions overseas where labor is cheaper such as China. Supply chaining is what major companies like Wal-Mart do to streamline products. In sourcing is doing another companies work inside another company. It has employees capable of working for one company, but doing work for another. In forming refers to the way that an unlimited amount of information is available to anyone in the world. In the past if people wanted to know something they had to go out and do research in places like libraries. Now they can just type it in on a search engine like Google and the information is at their fingertips. The final flattener of the world is personal devices. The widespread use of cell phones and smart phones have made communication even easier than before. Most people can’t imagine a time when a telegram or even having to wait until you got to your house to use the landline to make a telephone call.
These arguments of Friedman’s are all things that pull the world and its business closer together. They make it easier for anyone to contact Indian, or Japan or any country for that matter. It no longer matters what your location is in order to do some things. Before you might hire a printer in your town because it was easier to pick up. Now you can send files to Japan and have them shipped to you by the next day.
Friedman argues that too much is going overseas and taking unbelievable amounts of work away from Americans. When work leaves the country it leaves many workers who were only skilled in that field with little to do to continue to support themselves and their families.
Communication has become world wide and there are no longer boundaries that keep the world separated or rounded. It has become flattened so anyone has access to anywhere. Those briefly are Friedman’s main argument in The World is Flat.
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