The World is Flat

I am intrigued by the title of a best seller called The World is Flat, by a columnist on the New York Times.

The writer, Thomas Friedman, examines how trends and technologies such as the Internet and various software are converging, making it possible for people everywhere to compete with the biggest and the best.

He says the convergence of these trends and technologies is ‘flattening’ the world, creating a ‘level playing field’ for everyone. And now individuals, as well as companies, can compete in the global market, regardless of location.

Mr Friedman goes on to identify various forces that have flattened the world. These include the fall of the Berlin Wall, which allowed us to think about the world as a single market and a single community. And of course the development of the Internet.

But the book goes well beyond the world of business in describing the impact of the flattening process.

Friedman states: “One of the unintended consequences of the flat world is that it puts different societies in much greater direct contact with one another.”

He notes that while some cultures are threatened by this close contact, others thrive on the opportunities for collaboration.

For me, the world’s first true globalist was Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

It was well over 100 years ago when He wrote: “It is not for him to pride himself who loveth his own country, but rather for him who loveth the whole world. The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.”

But Bahá’u’lláh goes much further than stating the importance of world unity. He also said that in reality all religions are one. They are to be regarded, He said, as progressive and unfolding stages of one Divine Plan, a bit like different chapters in a book.

According to Bahá’u’lláh, unity is the only medicine that will heal all the ills of our divided world.

He described unity as the greatest remedy and the mightiest instrument for solving humanity’s problems. His vision for the world was the “union of all its peoples in one universal Cause, one common Faith.”

If we are to believe experts like Thomas Friedman, then we have at least started to recognise the remedy prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh all those years ago, regarding world unity.

But what about the unity of religions? For some, that might be a harder pill to swallow.


One Response

  1. There is another book on globalization which is generating counterpoint disucssion. It is a small , but interesting book, by Aronica and Ramdoo, “The World is Flat? A Critical Analysis of Thomas Friedman’s New York Times Bestseller,” which offers a counterperspective to Friedman’s theory on globalization.

    Interestingly enough, the book written about two years back, discusses in the following chapters,
    “Debt and Financialization of America”
    “America”s Former Middle Class”
    “A Paradigm Shift for America” with prescriptions for the future

    the debt ridden American society, deregulated financial institutions, mortgage crisis and other related issues, with clear pointers to the economic crisis gripping US today. For more information regarding the same, check this out:

    This is a small book compared to the 600 page tome by Friedman, and aimed at the common man and students alike. As popular as the book may be, some reviewers assert that by what it leaves out, Friedman’s book is dangerous. The authors point to the fact that there isn’t a single table or data footnote in Friedman’s entire book.

    “Globalization is the greatest reorganization of the world since the Industrial Revolution,” says Aronica. Aronica and Ramdoo conclude by listing over twenty action items that point the way forward, for understanding the critical issues of globalization.

    You may want to see
    and watch
    for an interesting counterperspective on Friedman’s
    “The World is Flat”.

    Also a really interesting 6 min wake-up call: Shift Happens!

    There is also a companion book listed: Extreme Competition: Innovation and the Great 21st Century Business Reformation

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