The World Is Flat Analysis

3361 words - 14 pages

Abstract:
Friedman’s 2.0 Release in 2006 of The World is Flat argues that the information age has energized globalization in a manner the world has never seen – and location as a competitive edge has diminished its edges for economic development. Meanwhile, Richard Florida counters there is no place like home in Who’s Your City, published in 2008, stating that the world is “spikey.” This mountainous terrain is rife with clusters where location matters, most notably in U.S. mega-regions. While both texts are clearly intended for an American audience, this paper will compare and contrast these two views from just that: a lay American perspective - exploring and weighing the primary points ...view middle of the document...

Taking this one step further in 2008, he published Who’s Your City in which Florida posits that U.S. cities and regions attract people of different personalities which, in turn, affect their economic prospects and the companies who choose to operate within them . In example, American regions have their character which cannot all be flattened by global technological economies of scale, democratic access to education and an ever-changing population. As a result, Florida regards his own book as one, “that would actually help people choose the best place to live” based upon a region’s economy, its availability of educational institutions and the very composition of the people who choose to live there.
But Mr. Friedman had his share of the lime light just a few years earlier with the updated and expanded Release 2.0 of The World is Flat . His best-seller describes a world far different than Florida’s more recent description that place matters. Instead, Friedman sees a world in which decreasing trade barriers and rapid advances in technology have led to a globalized series of industry . While his additions on the new text, such as The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention , an ingenious notion -- “the essence of which is that the advent and spread of just-in-time global supply chains in the flat world are an even greater restraint on geopolitical adventurism than the general rising standard of living that McDonald’s symbolized ” -- they seem to be answering to critiques of Release 1.0, whereas Florida’s theory seems to march to its own beat, critiques be damned.
Nevertheless, according to Freidman, the one threat to a flat world is war or military conflict, which is bad business for global supply chains and outsourcing. That said, the potential behind any geopolitical unrest is tempered by this Dell theory. In it, he states,
No two countries that are both part of a major global supply chain, like Dell’s, will ever fight a war against each other as long as they are both part of the same global supply chain. Because people embedded in major supply chains don’t want to fight old-time wars anymore. They want to make just-in-time deliveries of goods and services – and enjoy the rising standards of living that come with that. (2006, 522)
Yet the flat world, states Freidman, is still “too young for us to draw any definitive conclusions” in this unique regard of supply chaining.
The bottom line in Release 2.0 is that of the original: technology has made the world smaller and flatter by lowering, or eliminating, geographic, political and other boundaries to information flow, international trade and collaborations through, essentially, ten forces. While Florida argues that importance of place does indeed matter just as it has for centuries, Friedman’s ten forces that have acted to flatten the world, make the significance of place more irrelevant than ever before in the history of humankind. Our global village today is the direct result of two...

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