When scholars write the history of the world twenty years from now, what will they say was the most crucial development in the first few years of the twenty-first century? The attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11 and the Iraq war? Or the convergence of technology and events that allowed India, China, and so many other countries to become part of the global supply chain for services and manufacturing, creating an explosion of wealth in the middle classes of the world's two biggest nations? And with this "flattening" of the globe, has the world gotten too small and too fast for human beings and their political systems to adjust in a stable manner?
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“One mark of a great book is that it makes you see things in a new way, and Mr. Friedman certainly succeeds in that goal,” the Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz wrote in The New York Times, reviewing The World Is Flat in 2005. For this updated and expanded edition, Friedman has seen his own book in a new way, bringing fresh stories and insights to help us understand the flattening of the world. New material includes:
• The reasons why the flattening of the world “will be seen in time as one of those fundamental shifts or inflection points, like Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press, the rise of the nation-state, or the Industrial Revolution”
• An explanation of “uploading” as one of the ten forces that are flattening the world, as blogging, open-source software, pooled knowledge projects like Wikipedia, and podcasting enable individuals to bring their experiences and opinions to the whole world
• A mapping of the New Middle—the places and spaces in the flat world where
middle-class jobs will be found—and portraits of the character types who will find success as New Middlers
•An account of the qualities American parents and teachers need to cultivate in young people so that they will be able to thrive in the flat world
•A call for a government-led “geo-green” strategy to preserve the environment and natural resources
•An account of the “globalization of the local”: how the flattening of the world is actually strengthening local and regional identities rather than homogenizing the world
Thomas L. Friedman is a three-time Pulitzer Prize--winner and the author of From Beirut to Jerusalem, winner of the National Book Award for nonfiction, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, and Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his family.
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