“The World Is Flat?” No, The World is Tilted

I recently gave a presentation to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce in association with the U.S. Southern Command, Center for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami, Florida International University, and Miami Free Zone at their “Americas Intelligence Briefing Series” on China’s Role in the Americas.

Thomas Friedman of the New York Times asserts in his best selling book on globalization, “The World is Flat,” that the world has become smaller and “flatter” due to the rapid advancement of Information Technology.

If something can be digitized, says Friedman, it can be zipped around the world in nanoseconds allowing workers from low cost countries such as China and India to replace workers from industrialized countries at a fraction of the expense.

Friedman stresses this “flattening” has resulted in a more “level” playing field. In fact the cover of his book has a picture of Earth taken from space superimposed on the face of a quarter symbolizing how small, flat and level it has become.

The concept of a flat world today is as wrong metaphorically as it was when Copernicus proved it to be literally wrong. Mr. Friedman has obviously never sold and exported anything in his life.

For if he had, he would surely know the topography of world trade is far from level. It is full of insuperable mountains, raging rivers and shifting sands. There are cliffs and crevices everywhere. The world trading system is plagued by barriers, distortions and manipulations.

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