The CEO of EuroCenter DDC in Sri Lanka, Mr. Mano Sekaram gave me Thomas Friedman’s The World is Flat as a present after I made a presentation at his company. I read the book at a stretch as the book was full of information I was interested in learning. Friedman writes about how new technology has been changing the world at a terrific speed in the 21st century. According to him, with the positive changes the technology brings to the world, the world has become more leveled or flat. To come to this conclusion, he has interviewed various people and studied many businesses.
The idea of the world being flat comes to his mind while he was in Bangalore, India. He is fascinated by how young Indians work for American companies through BPOs and call centers while being in India thanks to the new technology.
According to Friedman, many believe that America should lead the way in the flattening process by being the role model and the rest of the world should catch up with broadband Internet, reduced overseas call charges, etc. America’s place as the leader is not threatened as long as it can create new things and set the standards for the others to follow.
But Friedman is worried that young Americans are not that keen to learn science and mathematics. He wants to see more American kids taking science and mathematics seriously. He says rather than putting a man on the moon, America’s goal should have been to put every American man and woman on campus.
Friedman interviews many people and does case studies and comes with convincing statistics to tell his story. He says world is moving faster than it used to be and those who do not catch up with the pace will be left out. Countries such as China, South Korea and Japan are catching up faster than most of the other countries.
He explains how the companies survive in the competitive markets by investing more in new technology. To cut costs, Western companies have started offshoring in countries like China and it helps both the investors and the customers of the products. He tells us how Rolls Royce started its plants away from the United Kingdom to cut costs and make profits. In the same way a lot of American factories have plants in China because it offers cheap labor and an environment conducive to business. Besides, China itself is a big market for American companies.
Friedman warns how terrorists groups such as Al Qaeda can slowdown the flattening process of the world by taking societies like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc. backward. Unnecessary fear Al Qaeda has created throughout the world affects the flattening of the world. But Al Qaeda and other terrorists groups also use the new technology such as internet to intensify terrorist activities throughout the world.
What I cannot understand is why Friedman uses the phrase Islamo-Leninist in the book. The two are totally different things. It may be due to the reason that the Americans are not on good terms with both.