The beginning of the twenty-first century will be remembered, Friedman argues, not for military conflicts or political events, but for a whole new age of globalization – a ‘flattening’ of the world. The explosion of advanced technologies now means that suddenly knowledge pools and resources have connected all over the planet, levelling the playing field as never before, so that each of us is potentially an equal – and competitor – of the other. The rules of the game have changed forever – but does this ‘death of distance’, which requires us all to run faster in order to stay in the same place, mean the world has got too small and too flat too fast for us to adjust? Friedman brilliantly demystifies the exciting, often bewildering, global scene unfolding before our eyes, one which we sense but barely yet understand. The World is Flat is the most timely and essential update on globalization, its successes and its discontents, powerfully illuminated by a world-class writer.
In his new chapters: ‘If It’s Not Happening, It’s Because You’re Not Doing It’ and ‘What Happens When We All Have Dog’s Hearing?’ the author explores both the benefits and disadvantages of the very latest developments in global communication. The emergent popularity of blogging, pod-casting, YouTube and MySpace enable the modern world citizen to broadcast their views to a potential audience of billions, and the proliferation of Internet access to even the poorest communities gives everyone who wants to the tools to address issues of social injustice and inequality. On the other hand the technology that seems to improve communication on a global scale causes it to deteriorate on a local scale. Identifying ours as ‘The Age of Interruption’, Friedman discusses the annoyance and dangers of BlackBerrys in meeting rooms, hands-free kits in conversation and using a phone or iPod whilst driving. In an age when we are always ‘connected’ via email or mobile phone how can we hope to concentrate on one thing without interruption? As expected the author has revitalised this new edition of The World Is Flat with timely insights into the nature of our flat world.