The World is Flat…

The  World is Flat is a book that was written by Tom Friedman. It covers the subject of globalization and the affects it is having on the modern world. Interesting enough topic as this is I have to say that I am not really that shocked by it. If someone asked me to say how I felt about it in plain words, I would probably say something like: “Globalization reminds me a little bit of slavery.”

Now I know that slavery can be a very uncomfortable word but look at it in its simplest form. A country of citizens needs work done for cheap, so they go out and get cheap labor workers from other places, kind of like what we do when we “outsource” our work. This cheap labor is usually from some far away place that is easy to ignore, in a country the average person has no connection too, and often involves people who don’t speak the language of the company that is “hiring” them. Because of this cheap labor we now get an influx of products not made in our own country, we get workers who don’t live in our cities, and we have an entire labor force that can legally be paid less than minimum wage. It’s harsh but it is apparently economically sound.

Friedman seems to have had no idea this was going on until he went to India to do a documentary on outsourcing and I find this to be incredibly “American” of him. Hardly a product exists in this country that is actually made in the U.S., so where do people think they are coming from?

“The economic playing field has been leveled, and you Americans are not ready.” by far my favorite line of the entire video we watched. It really is just as simple as that. Other countries are hip to us now and individuals are beginning to take their financial futures into their own hands in a way that is truly going to shake things up. I look forward to seeing the outcome of it all.

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6 thoughts on “The World is Flat…

  1. nononi says:

    My counterpoint~ conundrum and something I work on~ is the culture of wanting “stuff”. Lots of stuff. And we need to get a good price on this stuff. So sometimes the reason we buy stuff is the price. If we price shop for cool stuff and pay less for cool stuff, we can have MORE cool stuff.
    But the coolest stuff out there that is American made is expensive. Artsy, hand crafted, re-purposed cool stuff.
    I am trying to participate less in purchasing and more in supporting things that are local. It’s a bigger conversation than a blog reply but I agree with your slavery observation yet already feel like I can be part of a solution personally AND that you can all professionally make changes when you become educators.

  2. josephinerobinson says:

    I totally agree with the reference to slavery, It seems like either way you break it someone will end up with the short end of the stick.It kind of interesting that he seems to have had no clue this has been going on for decades and still is . Even more interesting The idea that he fears for his daughter in this new world.

  3. keithfragiacomo says:

    I hear on the slavery concept. However, most of the work is being outsourced due to the fact it is contracted to the lowest bidder. Working conditions and living conditions vary throughout the world so to judge another countries living standards and “fair” wages on the United States is just a tad biased. I beleive that Friedman is pointing out the trend in jobs being lost to an overseas marketplace. If, and that is a BIG if, the trends in technology reaching more and more remote locations, more jobs will be lost to overseas competitors. I does not take much to run a call center from your home, even if your home is in the middle of the Amazon Basin… Just a thought.

  4. fsabatelli says:

    Yet another unique viewpoint on Friedman’s talk! I never would have thought about relating the globalization of the modern world to slavery. However, looking at it from a historian perspective and using the definition of slavery, it can be considered a form of slavery. We do outsource so much of our work; it is hard to keep track of who is actually doing that work. Like you said, with cheap labor from a place that is easy to ignore with people we have no connection to, we do not know what their situation is like. Americans are not ready for the leveled playing field, especially since they tend not to care about how the product is made or where it comes from. They ultimately care about the finished product. I am with you… I too look forward to seeing the outcome of it all.

  5. lukemeyer says:

    No sure if my last comment was 100+ words or not, so I might as well comment again to be sure. Your second paragraph begs the question: If we continue to outsource our work to other countries, especially manufacturing, what will our workforce actually being doing in 20 years? It only takes so many people to oversee the importation of goods into the US.

  6. lukemeyer says:

    “Globalization reminds me a little bit of slavery” – WOW. I hear you on this. Never thought of it that way, but I think you are on point. Although, I think one big (read: HUGE) difference between globalization and slavery is that a lot of the people that ‘we’ (whoever that ‘we’ is) outsource to, are generally happy to get the work. On the other hand, slavery didn’t make anyone happy.

    I also loved the line you quoted at the end, and am interested to see what the future holds.

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