Thursday, May 04, 2006

I read "The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century" by Thomas Friedman. Undoubtedly, this is one of the finest books i have read in years. Mr. Friedman displays his uncanny knack to accrue facts and follows it with an impressive elucidation of the emerging pattern. He states that the world was flattened by ten forces. They are the fall of the Berlin wall, the emergence of Netscape, the emergence of Work Flow Software, Open Sourcing, Out Sourcing, Offshoring, Supply Chaining, Insourcing, In-Forming and what he calls Steroids ( Digital and mobile communications).
He also writes about the unflattening forces that are at work including the terrorists whom he calls "The Islamo Leninists". An advocate of the free society and capitalism, Mr. Friedman fervently argues that it is not all doom and that for every crazy bearded mullah who is hell bent to throw humanity back by centuries, there is an enlightened soul working his/her way towards making the world a better place to live in. Rather impishly he propounds his "Dell theory of conflict prevention" which states that no two countries that are both part of a major global supply chain, like Dell's, will ever fight a war against each other. In other words he meant to say that if countries like India and Pakistan become part of major global supply chains, which bring a lot of revenue and employment opportunities to its citizens, then the probability of a war decreases. Well, this argument can have crowd on both sides but history has shown us that China has not dared to do anything more than flexing its muscles at Taiwan and India does nothing more than spitting fire on pakistan when the latter indulges in habitual trouble making. None of these nations would take the risk of fighting a full fledged war as the economic costs can be unbearable. These countries have become nodal points in major global supply chains and can disrupt it only at their own risk of causing irreparable damage.


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