Issues & Ideas
Bill Gates' Annual Letter
Getting Back to the Grand Bargain by Thomas Friedman
Rich / Poor Gap, and the Influence of the Rich
Equality as part of an American Creed
Equality under the law
- recent questions about the Supreme Court
/ Bush Election / "Corporations are people" / " Money is speech"
- rulings of the Supreme
Court favoring the will of the US Chamber of Commerce
- Corporations are people.....Gilbert & Sullivan......"Limited"
Equality in terms of fairness / Justice
- reducing the disparity
- reducing the disparity through fairness
- reducing the disparity through application of religious
principles (Christian, other?)
Achievement Gap & The Influence of Poverty
Hans Rosling & The Washing Machine
Balancing Three Big Issues
Quality Of Life / Pursuit of Happiness
Ecology / Environment
World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman
We are introduced to Friedman’s interpretation of the ten influencing factors that led to globalization and world
flattening, the first being the falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which tipped the balance of power across the world towards
democratic free market and away from authoritarian rule. A second flattener is identified as our ability to not only author
our own content, but to send it worldwide with the 1995 launch of the Internet. Subsequently, free workflow software was
developed, allowing people from around the world to collaborate and work together on projects using a shared medium. As
Apache and Wikipedia came into play, we became able to develop and upload web content and community collaboration became
another flattening force. Preparations for Y2K required resources beyond those available in the United States and as a result,
we see that India became responsible for a huge portion of these preparations. Offshoring, using the Chinese manufacturing
sector as a prime example, has forced other developing countries to try to keep up with their low cost solutions, resulting
in better quality and cheaper products being produced worldwide.
The seventh flattening factor is our introduction
to supply chaining, which is discussed in much greater detail later in Chapter Fourteen. Rounding out his list with insourcing,
in-forming and “the steroids”, Friedman examines his flattening factors, their origins and the effect they will
have on the way we do business in the future.
List of Ten Forces
of Berlin Wall--11/89: The event not only symbolized the end of the Cold war, it allowed people from other side
of the wall to join the economic mainstream. (11/09/1989)
- Netscape: Netscape and the Web broadened
the audience for the Internet from its roots as a communications medium used primarily by 'early adopters and geeks'
to something that made the Internet accessible to everyone from five-year-olds to eighty-five-year olds. (8/9/1995)
Flow Software: The ability of machines to talk to other machines with no humans involved. Friedman believes these
first three forces have become a “crude foundation of a whole new global platform for collaboration.”
Communities uploading and collaborating on online projects. Examples include open source software, blogs, and Wikipedia.
Friedman considers the phenomenon "the most disruptive force of all."
- Outsourcing: Friedman
argues that outsourcing has allowed companies to split service and manufacturing activities into components, with each component
performed in most efficient, cost-effective way.
- Offshoring: Manufacturing's version of outsourcing.
Friedman compares the modern retail supply chain to a river, and points to Wal-Mart as the best example of a company using
technology to streamline item sales, distribution, and shipping.
- Insourcing: Friedman uses UPS as
a prime example for insourcing, in which the company's employees perform services--beyond shipping--for another company.
For example, UPS itself repairs Toshiba computers on behalf of Toshiba. The work is done at the UPS hub, by UPS employees.
Google and other search engines are the prime example. "Never before in the history of the planet have so many people-on
their own-had the ability to find so much information about so many things and about so many other people", writes Friedman.
Steroids": Personal digital devices like mobile phones, iPods, personal digital assistants, instant messaging,
and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).