Thomas friedman the world is flat essay

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The unions that workers might have organized themselves into have been busted. Even corporations are becoming less relevant. Today, it is up to all people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Conveniently enough, accepting this idea makes it impossible to oppose neoliberalism. In a world of extreme individualism, no one in particular is responsible for setting the rules of the world order.


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It is pointless to protest governments or international financial institutions. Globalization is unstoppable because people want it. In truth, these arguments are not new. Of course, the massive protests of the past decade would seem to contradict his assertion. But he does not see this as a problem.

Today, with much of the world in open rebellion against neoliberalism, this fiction is getting harder and harder to maintain. That Friedman has perpetually failed to spot the vibrant network of grassroots organizations that has built a worldwide campaign against the Washington Consensus is not a sign of widespread support for corporate globalization.

It is an indictment of his reporting. These have continued into the new millennium.

In their book, Globalization From Below , authors Jeremy Brecher, Tim Costello, and Brendan Smith note that in just a two-month period, in May and June of , there were six general strikes against the impact of neoliberalism. Twelve million Argentineans went on strike in response to fiscal austerity policies imposed by the IMF. Nigeria was paralyzed by strikes against neoliberal price hikes on fuel.

Finally, general strikes in South Africa and Uruguay protested increasing unemployment rates, which resulted from IMF austerity policies. In truth, they are only suggestions of wider resistance. The people of Latin America have certainly not joined the groundswell of support for neoliberal ideology. The columnist has yet to comment. There is a way in which Friedman perfectly matches the politics of our times. Things are true because you say they are. The only thing that matters is how sure you sound when you say it. As much as he might resemble Bush in this respect, however, Friedman also tells us something important about the post-Bush moment.

After the Flat World, Comes the Deep World: A Conversation With Thomas Friedman

As a new administration takes over, an increasing number of politicians will seek to move the United States away from the aggressive militarism of imperial globalization and back toward a softer approach to ruling the world. Following Friedman, many will look to revitalize corporate globalization as a model for international affairs.

This is especially a danger within the Democratic Party. Never admitting their own complicity in the war, politicians from the more conservative branch of the Party will talk about the damage Bush has done and the importance of restoring our traditional alliances. But really, they will return to something old: a Clintonian model of corporate globalization.

Like Friedman, many will proclaim it as the best of all possible worlds, a global order both exciting and unavoidable. Mark Engler is a writer based in Philadelphia and an editorial board member at Dissent magazine. Social Movements. Reviving the General Strike. Latin America. Lessons from the Pledge of Resistance. Global Economy. Jeff Bezos Has Enough! Book Reviews. The Pan American. The Godfather of Microcredit.

Author Profile:

Capitalism as Catastrophe. Four Ways of Looking at an Aztec Eagle. The Ascent of Niall Ferguson. Ordinary Outrages. No Better Place. Why Wendell Matters. The Gulf at the Gas Station. Climate Disobedience. Farming the Everglades. The Winter of the Climate Denier. Provoking an American Climate Crisis. Is Rambo Still A Republican? On the Price is Right. The Last Porto Alegre. Republicans Among Us.

The Incredible Shrinking Planet

The Sideshow Rebels. A Week in New York. The World Is Not Flat. Science Fiction From Below.


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    When Sanctuary is Resistance. It's exactly like when you take the toy off the shelf at Wal-Mart and another is made in Shen Zhen the next day. The book is almost dizzily optimistic about India and China, about what flattening will bring to these parts of the world. I firmly believe that the next great breakthrough in bioscience could come from a year-old who downloads the human genome in Egypt. Bill Gates has a nice line: He says, 20 years ago, would you rather have been a B-student in Poughkeepsie or a genius in Shanghai? Twenty years ago you'd rather be a B-student in Poughkeepsie.

    Not even close. You'd much prefer to be the genius in Shanghai because you can now export your talents anywhere in the world. As optimistic as you are about that kid in Shanghai, you're not particularly optimistic about the US. I'm worried about my country. I love America. I think it's the best country in the world. But I also think we're not tending to our sauce. I believe that we are in what Shirley Ann Jackson [president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute] calls a "quiet crisis.

    You quote a CEO who says that Americans have grown addicted to their high salaries, and now they're going to have to earn them.