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“It’s a Flat World, After All” by Thomas Friedman Essay


Friedman (2005) argues that technology adoption is resulting in the transformation of geo-economics and lives of individuals. Indeed, there are different angles in which the technology has transformed the lives of people, ranging from deployment of technology in production to the revolution in information technology.

The tone of the argument presented in the article shows concern over the pace at which technology is taking shape in the contemporary world. Friedman notes that technology has grown at a pace that has left many people unable to comprehend. One thing that is pointed out in the article is that a technological revolution took place immediately after September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States.

It was hard for people to realize the revolution in technology as they had diverted a lot of time and focus on analyzing and assessing the September 11 incidence. Arguing that the concentration on the September 11 attacks impeded people from realizing a revolution in technology, especially information technology is not up to the point.

Contrary to this argument, it is argued that the September 11 attack in the United States is a factor that sparked the use of technology to enhance safety and security of people. Sporadic communication was witnessed after the attack as people sought to ensure that other people were safe (Azari, 2003).

Another perspective of technology as presented in the article is that the dot com burst and Enron could be viewed as an end to globalization. However, that was the beginning of globalization and the realization of a more compact world, enabled by availability of technology. This is notable in the way the author explains his visit to India.

The realization by the author about the possibility of making multiple transactions at the same place led him to realize the tremendous development in the field of technology (Friedman 2005).

Technology had attained a high level of transformation with the ability to engage different stakeholders from different regions on a single information technology platform in one destination. Therefore, ability to transact makes the world smaller and more compact, thereby enhancing business.

In the article, Friedman notes that the development and deployment of technology in the world accelerated in the bubble era. The bubble era was marked by a revolution in information and communication technology as a result of the spread of internet technology and the development of the World Wide Web, which saw a lot of people use the World Wide Web in enhancing transactions.

An example is the growth of the dot com generation, where a lot of sites were developed on the World Wide Web to aid in exchange of information globally. It can be argued that Friedman’s observations are a real account of the global trend in the development of technology as applauded by several other researchers who have been investigating the development of technology, especially in the 21st century.

Another critical feature in the development of technology across the world that is featured in the article is the massive investment in the development of broadband connectivity across the globe. Friedman argues that the early years of the 21st century saw hundreds of millions of dollars being invested in the development of the internet, a vital tool in which information technology is enhanced.

Indeed, there was a rapid explosion in the development of technology in the world with the realization that technology was the core basis on which the achievement of a global village could be attained.

Information technology was and has remained critical in the realization of a global virtual village, which is marked by the ease of access to information from all corners of the world and the ability to make transactions irrespective of the distance that prevails between the parties involved.

What the author fails to bring out in his argument is that tremendous achievements in technology had already been made in most of the western countries, which were the main stakeholders in fostering the spread of internet technology in the developing regions of the globe as they pressed for globalization.

As brought out in the article, the contemporary information technology environment across the world is because of the increase in access to the internet.

It is, therefore, irrefutable that the developments that were staged in the bubble era, as the spread of undersea fiber cables has aided is speeding up the technology platform in the developing world by speeding the pace of internet connectivity. Moreover, there is immense increase in the speed at which data is transferred and accessed via the optic cables.

During the bubble era, there was a lot of rationalization on the mechanisms of broadening adoption and use of technology in global transactions. According to Friedman (2005), one of the solutions that were reached by critical stakeholders in the technology industry was to make it easy for people to access technology tools as a way of ensuring that benefits of technology are realized across the globe.

Prices of computers were dropped, thereby enabling massive shipment of computers from the developed world to the developing world. Computers could be easily afforded by people in the developing world at such prices.

With the scale of computer access having risen in the developing world, it was easy for information technology companies like Google and many other software companies to launch their activities in the developing world, just as they had established their operations in the developed world.

However, there is one thing that ought to be noted when talking about the reduction in prices of computers and shipping of computers across the world. It is essential to talk about the state of computers that are shipped from the developed to the developing world, even as the world seeks to enhance growth and development in technology to realize the benefits of globalization.

It is argued that a relatively colossal gap still stands between the developing and the developed world in regard to the nature of computers and computer technologies available in both worlds. One reason that is given for this, which is perhaps linked to the article, is that computers that were spread to the developing world were already outdated; thereby offering them at lower prices is just one of the means of disposing them off.

Such developments have continued to take shape as the developed countries continue to develop more sophisticated and efficient computers and computer technologies and releasing computers and computer technologies that they consider outdated to the developing world. Therefore, it is worthwhile to note that access to advanced and sophisticated technology tools is still largely determined by financial capabilities.

The fact that most people in the developed world are financially stable gives them the advantage of acquiring sophisticated technologies. This is the opposite referring to the developing world. However, one thing that has been noted is that the techniques are availed by firms in all regions of the world, which means that people who are financially stable in the developing world can still access the best technology tools and services.

Nonetheless, it should be noted that the move by people from the developing world to access more sophisticated technology tools has also broadened with liberalization of the global environment where people can now easily travel from one region of the world to the other.

Friedman also notes in the article that there was an explosion of email. The explosion of email is just one of the many developments that are attributed to the spread of the internet via the fibre cables and other emerging information technologies.

With the growth and spread of internet has been the development of different software engines like Google and other applications that enable people to easily access and exchange information irrespective of the distance and the source of information. Therefore, according to Friedman, one can easily develop remotely by utilizing the internet and technology tools that are attributed to the internet.

However, it should be noted that internet tools and technologies are provided by given companies. Therefore, as much as attaining remote development through the use of these technologies has been made possible, control and administration of these technologies and tools is a factor that needs to be explored.

Cases of inaccessibility are reported More often than not, with suppliers of these technologies being critiqued for imposing controls and limiting the pace at which people use the techniques.

The other thing that comes out in the article is the issue of intellectual work and intellectual property. According to the argument in the article, intellectual work can be quickly delivered courtesy of information technology tools and applications. With technology, it is easy to disaggregate, distribute, deliver, and share different kinds of information. This has given people freedom to advance different pieces of work.

The contribution of technology to the freedom of people to develop intellectual work is an issue that draws a lot of reactions from different analysts. It cannot be denied that technology has provided an open space where people can easily access a wide variety of information. People can work on their private developments efficiently due to the ease of accessing information, resulting in generation of works or new pieces of information.

However, the whole issue of intellectual work is complex. The complexity of the problem comes from the fact that intellectual work is a piece of work that needs to be right protected. Information technology has resulted in technologies that help people to explore a wide range of information on diverse databases that can be accessed on the internet.

However, protection of intellectual work has become quite challenging because of issues of security, which has become one of the main concerns as far as protection of mental work is concerned. One ethical issue that is raised as far as the development of intellectual work is concerned are the modalities that are deployed by people when seeking information to aid them in developing certain pieces of work; intellectual work.

There is a resounding alarm about stealing of information through the unauthorized access to specific databases by the same people developing intellectual work. Therefore, this can be termed as the first drawback when it comes to development and deployment of technology in the contemporary world. The ease of delivering intellectual work to interested persons across the world ought to be applauded.

However, the main concern over the issue revolves around permission to access and distribute that work on the internet. According to Azari (2003), breaches in information access and use are commonly reported, raising a concern about the possibility of using technology to protect technology.

Research denotes an increase in the efforts of technology experts to develop protective technologies when it comes to the use and protection of personal information, which falls under intellectual property. A wide range of technologies has been developed, for instance data encryption and the use of passwords, to protect people from unauthorized access to information.

However, the fruits of such technologies are yet to be realized as the world continues to witness an increase in the number of incidences of information breaches on the internet.

The conclusion that can be adopted at this point is that as much as technology contributes to the development of intellectual work, it is also the same technology that kills the urge to develop intellectual work through the persistent growth in issues of information security (Azari 2003).

According to Wilson (2004), leveling the playing ground as exhibited by the growth and transformation of technology in the world is something that needs not is overemphasized. Friedman observes that countries that were considered to be underdeveloped, like India, have scaled up their level of competitiveness through adoption and development of technology.

The ability of such countries to compete in global knowledge has risen. Whether this is a danger to the developed world is an issue that is subject to debate. Technology adoption and development in the emerging economies is cited as the reason why these countries have been able to broaden the level of production, thereby compounding the level of competition in international markets.

A notable example is the high pace of adoption and development of technology in a number of Asian countries, particularly the Asian Tigers. A perfect example is China, where technology has been vital in transforming the size of the economy.

China has grown to become one of the largest economies in the world, matching and tempting to surpass the economy of the United States, which has been one of the leading industrial economies in the world for more than a half a century.

The contemporary scale of adoption and deployment of technology in the developing world, just as observed by Friedman, is that the current trend of development in the emerging economies has posed severe threats to the heights of competition that have been enjoyed by the developed countries like the United States for a long time.

Therefore, I concur with the argument by Friedman that the playing field in technology is being flattened. There is bound to be a tilt in favour of the emerging economies when it comes to future deployment of information technology as these countries pace up their efforts to bridge the competition gap between them the developed economies (Wilson 2004).

Reference List

Azari, R 2003, Current security management & ethical issues of information technology, Idea Group Inc., Harrisburg, PA.

Friedman, TL 2005, ‘’, The New York Times, April 03 2005. Web.

Wilson, EJ 2004, The information revolution and developing countries, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.

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IvyPanda. (2020, July 17). “It’s a Flat World, After All” by Thomas Friedman. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/article-critique-its-a-flat-world-after-all-by-thomas-friedman/

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"“It’s a Flat World, After All” by Thomas Friedman." IvyPanda, 17 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/article-critique-its-a-flat-world-after-all-by-thomas-friedman/.

1. IvyPanda. "“It’s a Flat World, After All” by Thomas Friedman." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/article-critique-its-a-flat-world-after-all-by-thomas-friedman/.


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IvyPanda. "“It’s a Flat World, After All” by Thomas Friedman." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/article-critique-its-a-flat-world-after-all-by-thomas-friedman/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "“It’s a Flat World, After All” by Thomas Friedman." July 17, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/article-critique-its-a-flat-world-after-all-by-thomas-friedman/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) '“It’s a Flat World, After All” by Thomas Friedman'. 17 July.

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