For those not wanting or willing to see the full clip, go to Q & A at approx one hour and five minutes. He deals with many of the things Harold and Trevor and Russell mention. And whatever it sounds like, and whatever the date (2005), the issues are as relevant now as then, and all the events since that time have reinforced his thesis.

Roger


On 1 Jan 2011, at 01:23, russell_c wrote:

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

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: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">Roger Harnden
Sent: Friday, December 31, 2010 5:10 PM
To: [log in to unmask]" href="mailto:[log in to unmask]" target="_blank">[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]

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