The World Is Flat..


I’ve been chipping away at it for months, and finally finished Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. By a flat world, he means that the playing field is being leveled and the gap between riseing and developed countries are more than ever closing in on each other faster and faster. For many people this means the fear of losing jobs to outsourcing, but it’s actually a lot more than that. Flat means less deference between un-like things. Yes, less deferenchation for jobs to go back and forth across the world (usually away from the US). But the same holds true for people, money, ideas, and even cultures. He says this is caused by the “triple convergence — of new players, on a new playing field, developing new processes and habits for horizontal collaboration.” We can either look at this loss of friction as a bad thing and try to ignore it or keep it from happening, or we can realize that it was bound to happen, and work try are darndest to take advantage of it.
Up to now, many of the best jobs were here, and you had to live here to perform them. But thanks to new technology like the internet and computers, as long as someone is able to learn the same skills, they can do it from anywhere. This varies from the familiar cheap manufacturing of goods and telephone support, to highly skilled jobs like corporate accounting, computer chip design, even medical procedures.
Up to now, the best education was here. To me, this is critical, and I don’t think people realize it enough. Historically, we have had the most advanced and desirable graduate schools in the world. While in grad school, just in my building alone, I was surrounded by the top students from Germany, India, China, Taiwan, Brazil, and Russia. I’ve heard their stories about having to be the top 0.01% in their country just to get here. The vast majority of these people ended up getting jobs and settling down in the US. If you look around,...