This Sunday the NYT previewed Tom Friedman’s new book “The World is Flat,” about globalization, technology and how the global playing field flattened while many were watching other things. I had a deja vu moment.
I had the same feeling I had when I was working at the Antitrust Division at Justice during the late 90s, dealing with competition issues and the new economy, the merger wave, and globalization and “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” came out, and talked about how global economic forces where fundamentally changing the world, and that competition mattered — I thought — hey, we’ve been working on that, this is exactly right…..
We all try to connect the dots. It strikes me that Tom Friedman is extraordinary at this, and expressing it in terms we all can understand. I've only read the excerpt in the Times, and I can’t say I would agree with everything he says (and who ever agrees with all of anything…), but there are lots of elements which we have understood, and are brought together in an elegant way. He talks about how the fact that all knowledge and innovation is now robustly connected. That this fact has changed the on the ground dynamics and opportunities for the billions of people in the developing world (hundreds of thousands – millions?- of whom are incredibly smart and driven), and how each country, the US included, needs to fundamentally think about where it fits-in and what it will be doing in the next 20 years. The upside — dynamic global innovation. The downside, the challenge to us all, and our institutions– not the least of which is the US education system – is how to compete and drive direction in this very new world…. All worth a read no doubt….