There is little doubt that Friedman is a Democrat, but one wonders as he looks at the key challenges to the US relative to globalization … education, willingness to move to new industries and ideas, take risks, and the “creative destruction” of whole industries, how does he ever expect that to come out of the Democrats? He quotes Jerry Yang, cofounder of Yahoo! as saying “Where people have hope, you have a middle class”. Friedman agrees that the “middle class” is really a state of mind, but what does one hear Democrats preaching? “The system is unfair”. ”The deck is stacked against the little guy”. “Corporations and the rich are the only ones that can succeed”. The Democrats are the cheerleaders for “victim society”, not the “ownership society” or the “opportunity society”. A nation of victims has no hope in the global ecomomy.
He understands the anti-globalization movement as driven by 5 forces:
- Upper middle class American liberal guilt at the incredible power that
had amassed in the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the dot-com boom America
- A rear-guard push by the Old Left – socialists, anarchists, and Trotskyites- in alliance with protectionist trade unions.
- People protesting the speed at which the world was changing to flat … the “anti-change” folks.
- “Serious and constructive groups” … NGOs, environmentalists, trade activists, etc. He claims they were more there to “help globalization work right” … I suspect his liberal roots have a bit too much faith.
I liked his comment about “the Old Left”; “These Old Left forces wanted to spark a debate about whether we globalize. The claimed to speak in the name of the
He also correctly figures out that the terrorists are not really after any specific target, or any specific action of the
One of his “summary phrases” is “There are two ways to flatten the world. One is to use your imagination to everyone up to the same level, and the other is to use your imagination to bring everyone down to the same level.”. The second is of course the Osama way, but I’d argue that the first is not possible. It is VERY possible to do things that “raise everyone” (or by far the majority), BUT, it will not be equal. Whatever mechanisms are created for benefit, some will be able to avail themselves of them more than others. The age old problem is that it is FAR easier to make sure that everyone has nothing than it is to get the virtuous cycle of economic growth to begin.
My hope is that there is enough “left” in this book to get some of the left side of the middle reading and understanding as well. In general, these are concepts that could help move