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April 05, 2005

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David St Lawrence

John,

Your blog is continually interesting and entertaining.

Hope the book sales are going well.

Bruce DeBoer

Thanks for alerting us to this article John. I read it eagerly because I've also read Friedman's last two books and think he's great. I've reprinted my little blog/book report on the article below:


We are familiar with Globalization. Thomas Friedman wrote a great book on the subject entitled: The Lexus and the Olive Tree. In this NYT article Friedman describes the next phase as Flatism. It’s the next stage of Globalization that has emerged since 2000 after the massive over investment in technology. He asks if the U.S. is ready.

“It is like water in a tray: you shake it, and it will find the path of least resistance. That is what is going to happen to so many jobs -- they will go to that corner of the world where there is the least resistance and the most opportunity.”

We’ve heard this before too. India has been a focus for our job migration worries but there are others, most notably, China. The next quote is something I’ve known about entrepreneurial businesses but something I failed to apply to world economics. Companies that have to update infrastructure often do it at hirer cost than new companies because it costs more to replace legacy systems. Can the USA compete with all of its legacy systems?

“These new players are stepping onto the playing field legacy free, meaning that many of them were so far behind that they can leap right into the new technologies without having to worry about all the sunken costs of old systems.”

Where there is change there is opportunity. That is, if you are on the ball, see the change, discover the opportunities and move fast. The biggest concern for many is our education system. Revamp it today and there is at least a 10 year lag before we see new talent. Friedman reports that outsourcing is prevalent not just because of the financial attraction.

“Here is the dirty little secret that no C.E.O. wants to tell you: they are not just outsourcing to save on salary. They are doing it because they can often get better-skilled and more productive people than their American workers. “

It’s hard to stay on top. Ask any sports star. Once you are the best in the world everyone comes gunning for you. You’ve shown them how it can be done and ways to improve. They learn, you relax. They’re hungry, you’re not.

''The real entitlement we need to get rid of is our sense of entitlement.''

John Winsor

Thanks, David.

Bruce - Thanks also for the great report!

Ray Podder

Friedman's brilliant!

I've not yet had a chance to read the book, but enjoyed everything I've read from the "cliff notes" versions spread out on the web. I especially liked the observation of how we've moved from a globalization of countries, to companies to individuals over the last couple of centuries.

The latter has far more profound implications than most of our industrial economy conditioned minds can imagine...like whether or not it is even necessary to judge economies from a geographic perspective?

Thanks for bringing this to light. Enjoyed what I've read so far on your blog very much. All the best with your new book.

John Winsor

Ray-

thanks for the comments. I couldn't agree with you more. After living in a village in Mexico for the last 4 months with a trip to Kenya in the middle of my Mexician stay I can feel Freidman's thoughts on my skin. The world is changing and I have a feeling that most of us in the US are going to wake up one morning and realize we are irrelevant.

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