We all learn as children that the world is NOT flat.
The Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) argued in his writings that the Earth was spherical, because of the circular shadow it cast on the Moon, during a lunar eclipse.
But I started thinking about the flow of money and resources in our global economy and realized that the world is getting flatter the more connected we become… China sucks up resources from Africa, makes stuff with those commodities, and then sells all that “made in China” stuff to the US. So when China, or Africa, or the US have a major crisis, how can it NOT affect the entire world? Were we better off LESS connected, less co-dependent?
A quick Google search for “The World is Flat” brings up the book by Thomas L. Friedman, titled same. Here he explores the impact of globalization in the 21st century. The title is a metaphor for viewing the world as a level playing field in terms of commerce, where all competitors have an equal opportunity.
While I DO agree with the flattening of world economics, I do not necessarily see that as a leveling of the playing field.
Case in point: how can Africa sustain itself, produce its own food, and be self-sufficient without further investment from more economically powerful countries? Right now the trend is to pull resources OUT of Africa (either in the form of commodities or human labor), not put resources in. So obviously the globalization has been uneven…and it seems well orchestrated.
“Friedman is right that there have been dramatic changes in the global economy, in the global landscape; in some directions, the world is much flatter than it has ever been, with those in various parts of the world being more connected than they have ever been, but the world is NOT flat…Not only is the world not flat: in many ways it has been getting less flat.”-Joseph E. Stiglitz (2007): Making Globalization Work (pg. 56-57)
The more evolved our global economy becomes, the less independent we are. What happens in China didn’t used to matter that much…now it’s all the financial markets can talk about!
Now what do you think? Is the world flat?
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