Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Kofi poof Ten world flatteners test

Ten world flatteners fun test for that New Year's Eve Party. What else to talk about Kofi is gone...

Falling flat: Thomas Friedman's recycled view of globalization
Washington Monthly, May, 2005 by Kevin Drum
The World Is Flat: A Brief History of The Twenty-First Century By Thomas Friedman Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, $27.50

Critics have accused Tom Friedman before of being willfully obtuse, but give him this much credit: He does not actually believe that the world is topographically flat. Friedman lives his literary life in a world of endless metaphor, and in his latest book he uses "flat" in the sense of "level playing field." His thesis is that a broad set of related trends have converged in the past decade, and this convergence allows almost anyone to do almost anything these days. Indians in Bangalore can write software as well as Americans in Baltimore; small companies can do the same things big ones can; freelancers can compete with IBM, and so forth.

If this sounds familiar, it's because it is. Despite the fact that Friedman claims to have discovered many of these trends only recently (about which more later), The World is Flat is really a sequel: It's The Lexus and the Olive Tree on steroids. A friend of mine once referred to Lexus as "globalization porn," and World is written in the same mold. It's Friedman as evangelist to the masses, bringing an almost breath less sense of urgency and mission to his calling...


Thomas Friedman The World Is Flat
A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century

... As anyone who reads his column knows, Friedman agrees with the transnational business executives who are his main sources that these developments are desirable and unstoppable, and that American workers should be preparing to 'create value through leadership' and 'sell personality.' This is all familiar stuff by now, but the last 100 pages on the economic and political roots of global Islamism are filled with the kind of close reporting and intimate yet accessible analysis that have been hard to come by. Add in Friedman's winning first-person interjections and masterful use of strategic wonksterisms, and this book should end up on the front seats of quite a few Lexuses and SUVs of all stripes." --Publishers Weekly (starred review)


Wired sat down with Friedman in his office at the Times' Washington bureau to discuss the flattening of the world.


How I Was Wrong About Thomas Friedman

By Norman Solomon, AlterNet. Posted October 31, 2006.

...Supposedly rigorous about facts and ideas, Friedman has prostituted his intellect. During a CNBC interview with Tim Russert in late July, the acclaimed savant made a notable confession: "We got this free market, and I admit, I was speaking out in Minnesota -- my hometown, in fact -- and guy stood up in the audience, said, 'Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you'd oppose?' I said, 'No, absolutely not.' I said, 'You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative. I didn't even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.'"

Friedman went on: "Why am I so obsessive about that? Because it is a free, open, flexible economy that means you really gotta compete, but that you really can compete and you can really be quick in responding. That, Tim, is the most important asset we have."

Tim Russert didn't bother to pursue the fact that one of the nation's leading journalists had just said that he fervently advocated for a major trade agreement without knowing what was in it. "But beyond Russert's negligence," David Sirota wrote at the time, "what's truly astonishing is that Tom Friedman, the person who the media most relies on to interpret trade policy, now publicly runs around admitting he actually knows nothing at all about the trade pacts he pushes in his New York Times column."...




Transcript of an IMF Book Forum—The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century
Friday, April 8, 2005
Washington, D.C.


Thomas L. Friedman, Author of The World is Flat, Columnist for The New York Times
Raghuram Rajan (Moderator), Economic Counselor and Director of the IMF's Research Department

Excerpt hint hint

...The first date is 11/9. Not 9/11, 11/9. As some of you may know, in a wonderful Cabalistic accident of dates. The Berlin Wall came down on 11/9, November 9, 1989. The fall of the wall was a huge flattener. I call these the 10 flatteners because it allowed us to actually see and think of the world as a single flat space.

If you did a LexisNexis search of IMF documents before 1989, I'd suspect you'd rarely find the term globalization being used. You'd find a lot of north-south. You'd find a lot of east-west. But no one really could use the term globalization because there was a wall in the way. So the fall of the wall was a hugely important flattener.

What I actually called the first segment when the wall came down and the windows came up because Windows operating system shipped 5 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. That's when Windows 3.0 which was the breakthrough system shipped, and that gave us a single global graphical user interface to actually look at this flat plane through. So the fall of the wall and the rise of the windows was the first flattener.

The second date is 8/9/95 which I consider to be one of the most important days in our lifetime. 8/9/95 is the day that a small company in Mountain View, California called Netscape went public, and Netscape going public did three hugely important things. First, it gave us the Internet. The Internet had been around, but of course Netscape thanks to Mark Andreessen gave us the Internet browser. It gave us the tool that brought the Internet alive for grandpa and grandma, for grandson and grandchild. It brought us the tool that allowed us the tool that allowed us to go into this websites and illustrate on a screen in images and words and music everything that was locked away in those websites. Netscape really brought the Internet alive.

The second thing Netscape did, of course, was commercialize a set of open transmission standards which was very important. You'll recall before Netscape your wife was on CompuServe, you were on AOL, you had a hard time talking to each other. What Netscape did was really make the Internet interoperable in a way it had never been before that.

The third and in some ways maybe most important thing Netscape did was trigger the dot-com boom which triggered the dot-com bubble which triggered the accidental overinvestment of $1 trillion in fiber optic cable in 5 years. That crazy, ridiculous, absurd overinvestment without any realizing it at the end of the 1990s made Bangalore, Beijing and Bethesda next door neighbors. It drove down the cost of transmitting words, music and data to basically zero.

Netscape went public on 8/9/95. The stock opened at $28. It was sort of priced at $28. It opened at $71, and then it closed the day at $56. Everyone looked at that and said whoa, there is gold over them thar hills, and that triggered the dot-com bubble.

Of course, we've seen bubbles before, bubbles in railroads. That was what really drove the massive overinvestment in the laying of the railroads in this country in the middle of the 19th century. But there was one big difference with this overinvestment. When we overinvested in railroads we got to ride. When we overinvested in fiber optic cable, India and China got to ride for free. India is the one country in the world that managed to benefit from the dot-com boom and the dot-com bust, which I'll talk about a little bit later.

The third date is really not a date, it's an event. I simply call it work flow, and work flow is simply my summary of all that software and standards that connected all that bandwidth with all those PCs. Again, go back to the mid-1990s or the early 1990s. I'll bet dollars to donuts that at the IMF your sales department was working off Microsoft Windows and your inventory was running Novell. Each one of those departments was more efficient because they were computerized. There was just one problem: your sales department couldn't talk to your inventory department because applications couldn't talk to applications.

There was a revolution in work flow during the late-1990s thanks to all kinds of digital pipes, things like middleware, that enabled everyone's application to talk to everyone else's application no matter what software you were running and no matter what computer you were on. That was a revolution.

When you take these first three flatteners together, what you get is the genesis moment for the flat world because what the Netscape revolution did was bring people to people, connectivity together like never before. People could connect with people thanks to that Netscape revolution like never before.

What the work flow revolution did was bring application to application connectivity together like never before. When you put the two together with the fall of the Berlin Wall what you got willy-nilly was a global platform for the sharing of work and knowledge that allowed more people to collaborate on more different kinds of things in more different kinds of ways on more different kinds of days from more different places than ever before in the history of the world.

It is this platform for multiple forms of collaboration that basically created the start of the flattening of the world.

The next six flatteners, those were just the first three, are the new forms of collaboration that sprung from this platform and flattened the world even more...


No comments: