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Book Review of The World Is Flat Submitted to Prof. Pradeep Joshi Submitted by Manoj Deshmukh MBA-1st Div-A Roll no.1708 About The Book Over the past few years, the United States has been obsessed with the Middle East. The administration, the news media and the American people have all been focused almost exclusively on the region, and it has seemed that dealing with its problems would define the early decades of the 21st century. ''The war on terror is a struggle that will last for generati
  Book Review of  TheWorld Is Flat Submitted toProf. Pradeep JoshiSubmitted byManoj Deshmukh MBA-1 st Div-A Roll no.1708   About The Book Over the past few years, the United States has been obsessed withthe Middle East. The administration, the news media and the Americanpeople have all been focused almost exclusively on the region, and it hasseemed that dealing with its problems would define the early decades of the21st century. ''The war on terror is a struggle that will last for generations,''Donald Rumsfeld is reported to have said to his associates after 9/11.But could it be that we're focused on the wrong problem? Thechallenge of Islamic terrorism is real enough, but could it prove to be lessdurable than it once appeared? There are some signs to suggest this. Thecombined power of most governments of the world is proving to be a matchfor any terror group. In addition, several of the governments in the MiddleEast are inching toward modernizing and opening up their societies. This willbe a long process but it is already draining some of the rage thatundergirded Islamic extremism. This doesn't mean that the Middle East willdisappear off the map. Far from it Terrorism remains a threat, and we will allcontinue to be fascinated by upheavals in Lebanon, events in Iran andreforms in Egypt. But ultimately these trends are unlikely to shape theworld's future. The countries of the Middle East have been losers in the ageof globalization, out of step in an age of free markets, free trade anddemocratic politics. The world's future -- the big picture -- is more likely to beshaped by the winners of this era. And if the United States thought it wasdifficult to deal with the losers, the winners present an even thornier set of challenges. This is the implication of the New York Times columnist ThomasL. Friedman's excellent new book, ''The World Is Flat: A Brief History of theTwenty-First Century.''The metaphor of a flat world, used by Friedman to describe the nextphase of globalization, is ingenious. It came to him after hearing an Indiansoftware executive explain how the world's economic playing field was beingleveled. For a variety of reasons, what economists call ''barriers to entry'' arebeing destroyed; today an individual or company anywhere can collaborateor compete globally. Bill Gates explains the meaning of this transformationbest. “Thirty years ago”, he tells Friedman, “if you had to choose betweenbeing born a genius in Mumbai or Shanghai and an average person inPoughkeepsie, you would have chosen Poughkeepsie because your   chances of living a prosperous and fulfilled life were much greater there.”''Now,'' Gates says, ''I would rather be a genius born in China than anaverage guy born in Poughkeepsie.''Thomas Friedman’s examination of the influences shaping businessand competition in a technology-fueled global environment is a call to actionfor governments, businesses and individuals who must stay ahead of thesetrends in order to remain competitive. In a narrative punctuated by casestudies, interviews and sometimes surprising statistics, Friedman’s messageis clear: be prepared, because this phenomenon waits for no one. Withoutrhetoric or scare tactics, he paints a picture of a world moving faster thanmost can keep up. As we explore America’s place in the fast-evolving worldeconomic platform, Friedman presents not only the problems we face, butpreventative measures and possible solutions.The World is Flat is an historical and geographical journey, withstories and anecdotes from the days of Columbus to a modern day Indiancall center; from the Great Depression to the home office of a Midwestern-USA housewife demonstrating the pervasiveness of the world-flatteningtrend. Spanning a broad range of industries, cultures and schools of thought, the real-world examples presented as evidence of his theory areundeniable. From teleconferencing to podcasts and manufacturing torestaurant order taking, The World is Flat leaves no stone unturned in aquest for answers to a problem that most cannot even define. Friedman’sdissection of globalization is a valiant attempt at explaining andunderstanding the forces driving the flattening of the world, though headmits that the very nature of beast prevents one from having all of theanswers. This candor is in keeping with the theme of the entire book, in thatwe must learn how to learn, teaching ourselves to stay curious andinnovative, if we are to excel in a global economy.The book is done in Friedman's trademark style. You travel with him,meet his wife and kids, learn about his friends and sit in on his interviews.Some find this irritating. I think it works in making complicated ideasaccessible. Another Indian entrepreneur, Jerry Rao, explained to Friedmanwhy his accounting firm in Bangalore was able to prepare tax returns for  Americans. (In 2005, an estimated 400,000 American I.R.S. returns wereprepared in India. ''Any activity where we can digitize and decompose the  value chain, and move the work around, will get moved around. Somepeople will say, 'Yes, but you can't serve me a steak.' True, but I can takethe reservation for your table sitting anywhere in the world,'' Rao says. Heended the interview by describing his next plan, which is to link up with anIsraeli company that can transmit CAT scans via the Internet so that Americans can get a second opinion from an Indian or Israeli doctor, quicklyand cheaply.What created the flat world? Friedman stresses technological forces.Paradoxically, the dot-com bubble played a crucial role.Telecommunications companies like Global Crossing had hundreds of millions of dollars of cash -- given to them by gullible investors -- and theyused it to pursue incredibly ambitious plans to ''wire the world,'' laying fiber-optic cable across the ocean floors, connecting Bangalore, Bangkok andBeijing to the advanced industrial countries. This excess supply of connectivity meant that the costs of phone calls, Internet connections anddata transmission declined dramatically -- so dramatically that many of thecompanies that laid these cables went bankrupt. But the deed was done, theworld was wired. Today it costs about as much to connect to Guangdong asit does New Jersey. As he moves towards the end of this presentation of his theory,Friedman warns of the forces that could seriously harm or slow the flatteningof the world, particularly the threat posed by terrorist networks such as Al-Qaeda. His perspective is refreshing in a media driven largely by scaretactics and fear mongering as he encourages a realistic and objectiveapproach to this threat. As people become more able to collaborate,compete and share with others of different cultures, religions, educationalbackgrounds and languages, The World is Flat is a necessary reality checkto bring these factors into perspective and offer, if not answers to everyproblem, the drive to uncover working solutions.He ends up, wisely, understanding that there's no way to stop thewave. You cannot switch off these forces except at great cost to your owneconomic well-being. Over the last century, those countries that tried topreserve their systems, jobs, culture or traditions by keeping the rest of theworld out all stagnated. Those that opened themselves up to the worldprospered. But that doesn't mean you can't do anything to prepare for thisnew competition and new world. Friedman spends a good chunk of the book
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