By a flat world, he means that the playing field is being leveled and the gap between emerging and developed countries is closing faster and faster. For many people this means the fear of losing jobs to outsourcing, but it’s actually a lot more than that.
Up to now, many of the best jobs were here, and you had to live here to perform them.
But thanks to new technology like the internet and computers, as long as someone is able to learn the same skills, they can do it from anywhere. This varies from the familiar cheap manufacturing of goods and telephone support, to highly skilled jobs like corporate accounting, computer chip design, even medical procedures.
Up to now, the best education was here.
To me, this is critical, and I don’t think people realize it enough. Historically, we have had the most advanced and desirable graduate schools in the world. While in grad school, just in my building alone, I was surrounded by the top students from
But as I type many countries are working feverishly to make their own educational systems better.
In the end, The World Is Flat reminds us that we are all in constant competition with each other. Before, it was your neighbors across the street. Now, it’s anyone with internet access. While it is not a zero-sum game (there is not a fixed number of jobs), there will be people who do better than others. As Americans, we are being chased. Our choices are either to run faster or risk getting left in the dust. Just making us consider such a possibility is a good result from this book.