andrew's critique

Critique #1
August 10, 2008
In the novel The World Is Flat 3.0 by Thomas Friedman, Friedman takes his previous two versions of The World Is Flat (1.0 and 2.0) and updates them so that they coincide with what is really going on in the world in the present. The main question throughout his novel is the question of, “What do I tell my daughter who is going to be graduating from college soon? What kinds of advice do I pass along to her?” After this preface, he goes on to explain what he believes to be the ten flatteners in our world today. These Ten Flatteners are creating an intense competition for jobs in our world.
The first flattener is 11/9/1989, when the Berlin wall fell. This is an event, which caused an end to the dominance of communism in the world. Countries realized that there were markets outside of their boundaries were they could compete with all the countries in the world. The second flattener is 8/9/1995, when Netscape created its browser for everyone to use. This feature gave everyone, in every part of the world who had an internet connection the ability to talk and find information that they hadn’t know about before. This also caused specialty work to be available around the world, because anyone had access to the web where it was all stored. The third flattener was the invention of workflow software such as http and html. These bits of information caused companies to begin to put their companies on the web. The realization that millions of people can look at a store online, but only a fraction of that number can see it in person was one of the most brilliant schemes in this century. From that day forward, anyone anywhere in the world can shop at any store and have it delivered as soon as they wish. The fourth flattener was the idea of open sourcing. Open sourcing is mainly known as programs such as wikipedia, and blogging. The ability for people to make their own decisions and put their own input into websites and companies made the consumer feel as though his voice mattered in the decision. This step is also the beginning or the bottom –up or right to left business model. The fifth flattener was the idea of out sourcing. Out sourcing is when a company such as Nike buys a warehouse in India where there is an Indian manager and Indian workers and control the company from America. They fix the wages, set up the product that is being made and all the manager has to do is see that it is completed. The sixth flattener was off shoring. Off shoring is when companies send parts of their company to a cheaper area so that they can produce the same good, but more for a cheaper price. It helps out the consumer because of the price change, but it hurts the workers who use to work at the factory while it was in America. Some companies believe that out sourcing is the wrong way to go, they believe that it is better to stay with the conservative belief which is keep what is made in America in America. The seventh flattener in the novel is supply chaining. This method was made famous by Wal-Mart. Supply chaining is when a company can take a manufacturer and tell them how much their product is worth. This use to be an unheard of practice, but due to the shear size of Wal-Mart, they can push little companies to do whatever they would like. The eighth flattener is the idea of in sourcing. In sourcing is when a company such as UPS takes computers from Toshiba that need repairs and repairs them without ever sending them to Toshiba. UPS has hubs for many different companies where they can perform many easy tasks, which save time and money for both UPS and the provider of the hub. The ninth flattener is In-forming. In forming is basically what search engines do for the public. They take all the information on the web and make it very concise and easy to find. With this all going on, the everyday man or women can find exactly what they want within a matter of moments. It is all just a click away. The last flattener that Friedman talks about is the steroids. Steroids in this case are the ipods, iphones, smart phones, and personal computers. Everyone can and will one day have most of these technologies at their disposal, and when they do, we will realize that the world is even smaller than we believe it to be.
Another aspect of Thomas Friedman’s novel The World Is Flat 3.0 is the idea of the triple convergence. This aspect of his novel didn’t occur until around the year 2000 when all of the ten flatteners stopped being independent and all of them converged. From that day on, the triple convergence was formed. Some of these flatteners still occur on their own, but it is less frequent than when they all occur together. This new idea also made businesses change their models. When the customer is able to give feedback to a major company about a product, the model changes from being the traditional top to bottom or left to right business model, instead it becomes a bottom to top or left to right model. Whenever a business model shifts, there is a disturbance in the world. There is chaos and most companies have trouble with the transition.
The last fraction of the novel deals with Thomas Friedman’s idea of what the remedy is to this changing world and what he should tell his daughter as advice for going off into the real world. He discusses that most jobs can be done throughout the world, but only a few jobs can really never be moved. These jobs Friedman declares are in the areas of creativity and support services. These jobs can’t be moved because they involve a direct person-to-person communication, so thus they are stationary jobs in the U.S. that don’t have much of a need for outside workers. These three points discussed above were the main three points throughout the novel. Even as I reached the end of the novel, I still felt as though since the beginning Thomas Friedman was trying to make a point by repeating his ideas in stories. These stories make the material easier to understand because of the normal everyday language that is used.
After reading this work by Thomas Friedman and going over all of the facts and statements that he has made throughout the novel, I agree with Friedman’s statement of “the world is flat”. There are some amazing ideas expressed throughout this novel. He speaks very clearly that everyone should know what is going on in the global world today. He didn’t make you read his book however, he wrote a great novel, and the word travels. This novel is primarily created for everyone around the world during their teen years and up. As soon as a person reads this book, they realize that in order to compete in this world, they must wake up and smell the coffee. Countries such as China and India are educating their students to a higher and higher degree, while American education is staying pretty much the same. We must decide how to increase the level of the education that our children will receive when they are young so that they will be able to compete in the global economy of our world today. The ten flatteners and the triple convergence isn’t going any where any time soon, so my advice to everyone in this country would be to strap themselves in and get ready for the ride. It isn’t going to get any easier.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License