John Mauldin’s Weekly E-Letter of August 5, 2005 at InvestorsInsight presents his book review of The World is Flat, a book by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman dealing with the globally important topic of “the growth and extent of globalization“.
Mauldin defines globalization as referring “to the increasing economic integration and interdependence of countries” and adds: “Economic globalization in this century has proceeded along two main lines: trade liberalization (the increased circulation of goods) and financial liberalization (the expanded circulation of capital). Friedman starts with insights on the ten forces that flattened the world. Things like: the fall of the Iron Curtain, search engines, out-sourcing and in-sourcing, the development of software which controls supply chains, a wired and wireless world and more”.
I sent Mauldin’s review of Friedman’s book to a good friend who it turns out had already read the book and offered the following perspicacious comments:
“Yup. I read the book and enjoyed it despite being somewhat put off by Friedman’s smooth-tongued assertions.
Mauldin states that “The shift from a US-Centric world to a more balanced world is going to create a great deal of pain and opportunity, but when the world does sort it out (and it will, if not easily!) we will have a more balanced world economy.” If wishes were horses!
And there’s the rub: the peaceful attainment of this so-called balanced economy, imho, remains very much in doubt. History teaches us that the competition for resources has often been the cause of some of the worlds great conflagrations…
And who’s to say that our competitive partners are prepared to view the world quite the same way we do. (After all, Friedman’s observations, are very self-serving and very US-centric).
There is lots of food for thought in those terse but incisive statements.