Is the World Flat?

Thomas Friedman’s idea that the world is flattening is based on recent observations that the global economic “playing field” is becoming increasingly easier to enter and to compete in. Friedman notes ten events that have played a significant role in this phenomenon. Friedman noted some very interesting events that helped lead to the flattening of the world, such as outsourcing, offspring, supply chaining and “incurring’. The t-van. Or events of Friedman’s ten that I found to be most interesting were as follows: 8/9/95 – Netscape went public.

Netscape released the first browser for public use and set up open transmission protocols so no company could dominate the Internet. This helped contribute to the dotcom boom in which the US accidentally overstressed $1 trillion over five years running fiber optic cable between countries and continents. The Internet drove down the cost of data transmission that helped level the playing field for all countries. This not only gave other countries access to new markets at little to no cost, they also were to responsible for the cost of the initial installation.

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This certainly did a lot to level the playing field for developing coo entries. Open Sourcing was also an interesting movement that Friedman discussed. Open source applications have made development and information exchange much more accessible to consumers and businesses. Sites such as Wisped, development resources like Apache and applications like Firebox have all contributed to the technological flattening of the world. The flattening of the world is both bad ND good for the world.

On one hand, new, traditionally weaker powers are able to compete in the global arena. Due to the low cost of communication, countries such as Costa Rica, India and Poland are available as outsourced developers, accountants and business resources. This dramatically reduces the cost of development. Have interned at two startups that used both Polish and Costa Rican development resources and can attest to how simple and easy it is to use these resources. On the other hand, businesses and individuals are now competing on a global scale.

With increased competition and limited variance, some industries may find themselves in a “race to the bottom” where the only variable left to compete with is price. This could certainly cause issues in the global economy, as each country has different cost and standards of living. This global flattening will likely have a dramatic effect on countries that are on the low and high ends of this spectrum, such as developing nations (low end) and the United States (high).