Assessment of The World is Flat and A Whole New Mind
The widespread adoption of new technologies serves as the driver behind societal alteration. With few exceptions, changes in the framework of society from politics to the individual have been wrought by economic changes; that is, the onward march of societal progression can be traced to changes in the market. Thomas L. Friedman in The World is Flat argues that the recent “shrinking” of the world in terms of communications has weakened the traditional stronghold America has held over white-collar professions. A similar point (to a degree) is argued by Daniel H. Pink in A Whole New Mind, specifically that the weakening discussed by Friedman will give rise to a demand for a more
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The future predicted by Friedman is, in my humble opinion, already surrounding America and the rest of the world. Every person who has access to the internet can attest to the ease to which an individual can communicate with anyone else. This real-time communication allows a person, or a business, to just as easily speak to a neighbor down the street or a supplier in the next state as speaking to a student in Bangalore or a supplier in coastal China. I have experienced this first hand in various arguments with customer service operations for equally various companies. In an attempt to replace a defective Apple iPod, I was on the phone with an individual in southern California, and the communication was quick, clear, and without issue. When issues arose with my new HP digital camera, I was on the phone with another individual, this time in India. Again, the communication was quick, clear, and without issue. And just like my call to Apple, it was without cost. The global connection provided by Globalization 3.0 has had an undeniable effect on every American’s or American company’s day to day activity.
This being true, however, I would argue that some of the effects of the ten global flatteners Friedman details were over- exaggerated. First and foremost, the first flattener, namely the wide-spread use of personal computers, was overstated. One-third of all American households are without access