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My 2 cents worth.

I think Friedman has picked the emerging and defining trends well (for 2005)
but is a little rosy eyed on the social-political implications. As we see
now, it was the USA that hit the road bump and everyone else's wheels fell
off except China.

Criticizing China's political system while speaking from Singapore, where
the same family/group has run the place since inception ('liberation' from
British rule), is a bit cheeky. He does not seem to see a connection between
socio-cultural factors being aligned and good governance. The US model of
'freedom' works for the US -- Singapore synergises the Chinese/Indian.

I think his horizontal (flat) concept is very VSM friendly --
outsourcing/insourcing is all system 1/2 etc. The future is supply-chain
control which is network control and not 'command and control'.

The notion of identity (and hence S3/5 and boundary for profit) is now
increasingly the task -- i.e. how to define net benefit for share/stake
holders. So it is three levels of S5 interacting to produce (the capacity
for) eudemony -- i.e. country/nation -- company/corporation --
individual/family.

The classic problem still exists -- closing the circle via capital
(dividend) or labour/employment. Unemployment at personal level implies
disconnect with corporate level (including state public services and ngo
welfare organisations etc) which in turn decouple from the nation-state
concept.

The biggest risk for many US (and others) industrial systems today is that
peace will break out.  The risk for many smaller nations states in the near
future is that it won't. And I note the rhetoric these days is about troop
pull out (US/Nato) while handing over to mercinary hirelings (Blackwater in
all its variants). Where as war gives some sense of identity (who the enemy
is), corporate security force employee does not quite have the same ring to
it.

A globalised 'viable network' will be the innovative inter-meshing of viable
system elements into producing the 'juice' for the owners and participants
across a globalised planet economy. But how are the benefits fairly
distributed? And be seen to be so! We are likely to see the UN dissolve in
the next decade as the US pulls funding (they cannot get the arms sales
through UN funding as they can through bilateral agreements). What then?

However, what he fails to see (and we are seeing it now) is the blow-back of
new protectionism. It may well be that his development versions 1,2,&3 (1492
to the present, i.e. focus from countries, companies, individual)  reflect
mega-trends. However, after the cargo-cult orgy there is the 'morning after'
when the mums and dads and kids wake up in fright at the socio-economic Luna
landscape they find outside their newly foreclosed front door.

It is sobering to see globalization ideology and inertia still driving
economic and foreign policy today. But what is the alternative? The Net
itself becomes the 'Wall' which our plastic cards either engage with or not.
In fact the cards and their id information is the wall as well. Being
'beyond the pale', as Assange is discovering, is only a mouse click away.
But who is making the decisions? Us or them? Or can we even use that split
sensibly in this new world order?

There is still some Utopian idealism in play today but I think it is equally
possible we are entering a new Dark Ages where high mobility (in mobile
homes) and lack of writing (just uploads into the You Tube system etc)
become the norm in many areas. Interesting times indeed!

Russell


On Sat, Jan 1, 2011 at 6:02 AM, Trevor E Hilder <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Dear Roger,
>
> I can't argue with anything you say here.
>
> Happy New Year :-)
>
> Regards,
>   Trevor
>
> On 31 Dec 2010, at 20:07, Roger Harnden <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Trevor,
>
> I totally go along  with your sentiments and unease, which I find with you
> is often the case. But, as I said, person (and motives) don't necessarily
> negate arguments. Stafford forcefully instructed me in McCulloch's
> imperative - "Don't bit my finger, llok where it's pointing!".
>
> The reason why I posted the URL for the clip (and why such clips are
> valuable) is that people can quickly make up their own minds without
> spending the hours needed to digest the book (as did you and I), and without
> relying on third party commentaries. And in between the USA-ism and the
> corporatism, there are a number of really good points......
>
>
> Roger
>
>
> On 31 Dec 2010, at 18:29, Trevor E Hilder wrote:
>
> Dear Roger,
>
> My suspicions about the book were aroused by the fact that I first heard
> about it from a friend to whom it was recommended by an economist who was
> getting paid absurd sums of money (including multi-million dollar bonuses)
> by one of the big US merchant banks. Call me cynical, but anything that gets
> recommended by such people immediately makes me nervous :-)
>
> I suppose my view is that the world is "flatter" than it was, but it still
> isn't very "flat". The increased flatness is mostly to the disadvantage of
> badly educated and poorly informed people in the Western world. This is a
> particular problem for "ordinary" British and American citizens, who find
> themselves either unemployed or forced into increasingly pointless and badly
> paid jobs providing unnecessary "services" to people who already have more
> stuff than they could possibly need.
>
> On 31 Dec 2010, at 17:55, Roger Harnden wrote:
>
> 'The World is Flat'. And I sent a URL for those who haven't the time to
> read the book, to get a sense of it from a presentation from the author,
> Thomas Friedman:
>
> <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcK3b9qlBfk&feature=channel>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcK3b9qlBfk&feature=channel
>
> The only problem (which I imagine I find as distasteful as does Trevor) is
> that Friedman appears to put 'free trade US' at the centre- when it wasn't!.
>
> But I don't think this flaw takes anything away from the argument that the
> world is a 'smaller' place with more equal opportunities for more people.
>
>
> Roger
>
> On 31 Dec 2010, at 17:43, Paul Stokes wrote:
>
>  What book are you guys talking about?
>
> Paul
>
>   *From:* Roger Harnden <[log in to unmask]>
> *Sent:* Friday, December 31, 2010 5:10 PM
> *To:* <[log in to unmask]>
> [log in to unmask]
> *Subject:* Re: The World is Flat
>  I disagree, Trevor. I too have read the book. It's a case of the devil
> (him) making an actually very insightful point. Don't shoot the messenger!
>
> Roger
>
>  On 31 Dec 2010, at 16:37, Trevor E Hilder wrote:
>
>  Dear Roger,
>
> Hope your Christmas was merry and here's to a Happy New Year!
>
> I've read the book. The world isn't as flat as he makes out. I think this
> is a variant of the old Trickle Down Theory of economic development. It
> provides a comforting idea that everything will turn out just fine without
> anybody actually having to make any ethical decisions or doing anything
> other than what they were going to do anyway.
>
> If the book was more truthful, Friedman would be a lot less popular than he
> is!
>
>  On 31 Dec 2010, at 16:28, Roger Harnden wrote:
>
>
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> --
> Regards,
>  Trevor                             <[log in to unmask]>
> [log in to unmask]
>
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