Friedman, in his book, describes how social shifts and technology have flattened the world making all regions to seem as next door neighbors. According to Freidman’s argument, it has now become easy for anyone to simply plug and play irrespective of their location.
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He says that by the year 2000, ten flatteners converged forming a world that has a level playing field for everyone. The ten flatteners include, the collapse of the Berlin wall, Netscape, Workflow software, uploading, outsourcing, off-shoring, supply chaining, in-sourcing, informing, and steroids.
The fall of the Berlin wall saw communism come to an end giving rise to a new world order of democracy, capitalism, and free markets. Countries that were locked from free markets by being on the other side of the wall could now access the economic mainstream. He adds that as the wall came down, personal computers powered by windows operating system came up. As a result, everyone in possession of a personal computer had the ability to create their own content and connect with others.
Netscape further contributed to flattening the world by making internet accessible to everyone. The access of internet made it possible to share files and information all across the world. Communities began collaborating and uploading files for online projects. He gives an example of Wikipedia whereby anyone can contribute to the information on the site.
Freidman regards the idea of sharing and uploading files as the most disruptive force ever. Opening up countries to free market has made it possible for companies to outsource services and production lines with the aim of ensuring cost effectiveness and efficiency. Freidman further introduces what he calls the triple convergence which illustrates how the ten flatteners made the world flat.
The concept refers to three additional factors that helped to make the world flat. All the ten flatteners earlier identified can be reduced to the three factors.
Technological advancement is the first factor which Freidman identifies. According to the factor, fiber optic cables have connected personal computers making it possible for machines to perform multiple tasks at the same time. Freidman terms the impact of technological advancement as globalization 3.0. This form of globalization is different from the previous form where transnational companies were used to enable global integration.
Freidman says that before the year 2000, the ten flatteners did not depending on each other fully. Most machines could only perform just one function but when software and hardware were merged, more than one function could be performed by machines. For example, functions such as communication, copying, emailing, printing and faxing could now be done by a computer.
Secondly he talks of entry of a new business model after the convergence of the ten flatteners. Using the flatteners together was important for enhancing productivity. In effect, business collaboration has been made horizontal. Lastly, the third factor is the fall of Berlin wall in 1989 which opened up countries using soviet model of economy to the rest of the world.
The countries included China, India and Russia. Their economies were connected with the rest of the world. They added new ideas to the world market further flattening the world. The concept of triple convergence is important because it creates a flat playing field and shapes businesses, economies, and politics. It has also helped with great technological innovations of the 21st century that has connected people and flattened the world further.
Hill, Charles. International Business. New York: McGraw Hill/ Irwin, 2011. Print.