The Flattening of the World

Friedman's Overstatement of the Benefits of Flattening

Friedman appears to overstate the benefits of this flattening for the people. Friedman becomes callous to the individuals who suffer despite the fact that the world has flattened by claiming that flattening has leveled the global competitive field. In his thesis, Friedman emphasizes on the usage of labor and raw materials in Asia by many investors seeking to cut their production costs. He does not, however, explain why it is more expensive to manufacture goods in industrialized countries such as North America and Europe than in Asian rivals. His discussion mainly tends to focus on the top management of major organizations and individuals who possess political and economic power.

The Narrow Focus of Friedman's Argument

The world has indeed flattened as Friedman argues, but only for a section of the population. One can also argue that the choice of flatteners by Friedman is one of the key aspects that weaken his argument. At the beginning of the book, he notes that a wall screen at Infosys Technologies Limited connects it to its global supply chain and that its employees can contact each other and have a conversation at the press of a button (Friedman n.p). He states that his experience at the company motivated him into coming up with the book and the subsequent talks. In examining the genesis of his ideas, one should look at the number of people who benefit from the purported development. First, it is only the top management of Infosys Technologies Limited that can connect using the screen. The rest of the employees and stakeholders hardly benefit from this connectivity. It does little in improving the wellbeing of the employees.

The Controversies and Negative Impacts of Asian Labor Usage

When analyzing the Genesis of Friedman's argument, one should consider the benefits that the common Asian man derives from the connectivity and the fact that all manufacturers are heading to the continent for production. The issue of the use of Asian labor has come with a lot of controversy. There have been reports of individuals being made to work overtime with little compensation. Allegations have also emerged that child labor is used in the extraction of minerals that are utilized in the manufacture, especially tin. The children are poorly paid and work in risky environments. This is one of the key aspects that has made the manufacturing costs very low (Clarke and Martijn 1). Instead of globalization solving these problems, the scramble for Asian manufacturing services by investors from all over the world has made investors more gullible and continue oppressing the common person.

The Diminishing Power of Community

Another major drawback in the flattening of the world has been the diminishing power of the community. Initially, the community was a strong factor as many people were united with those near them. Friedman gives this as the main reason why the Berlin wall was brought down and eventually became one of the key landmarks in the flattening of the world However, community is no longer an important factor to many people as they are now connected to those far away. Individuals have overused the good communication. Even the young people will shun real company and family ties and instead prefer talking to strangers and those far away from them using the internet and social media. Some of these connections are not as beneficial as those with individuals around the people and have resulted in many negative results such as fraud. Though connectivity has done the world good, the preference for virtual company and friendships has weakened the bond between members of communities and business organizations (Crane and Dirk 241). Therefore, though the world has flattened, the benefits of this flattening are being realized by only a section of the society.

The Flattening of the World in the Perspective of the Supply Chain Management

Friedman notes that supply chaining has enabled Walmart to become the largest retail chain in the world. He views this as an advantage. However, this is not the case as it does not the case as it hardly benefits the common person, except those employed within the chain. It is clear that countries have been encouraging their people to create SMEs to tackle low unemployment rates. Many SMEs are involved in distribution of goods. However, a big retail chain such as Walmart has access to credit and has established connections with suppliers. This means that an individual who establishes their retail outlet to compete with Walmart has little chances of gaining a reasonable share of the market or even survive the competition. This is what has warranted some countries into coming up with protectionist policies to ensure that infant companies grow. Most of the multinationals that have taken over world markets developed under protectionism. Therefore, the flattening of the world is only an advantage to individuals and companies already possess resources and connections. It creates an opportunity for these individuals to exploit world resources and market, at the expense of the middle and low class who can only sell their labour to sustain their lives (O'Rourke 19). It therefore offers no hope to wealth redistribution and equality. The world has flattened to specific people while this flattening makes it round to most people.

Works Cited

Clarke, Thomas, and Martijn Boersma. "The Governance of Global Value Chains: Unresolved Human Rights, Environmental and Ethical Dilemmas in the Apple Supply Chain." Journal of Business Ethics (2015): 1-21.

Crane, Andrew, and Dirk Matten. Business ethics: Managing corporate citizenship and sustainability in the age of globalization. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Friedman, Thomas L. "It's a flat world, after all." The New York Times 3 (2005): 33-37.

O'Rourke, Dara. "Outsourcing regulation: Analyzing nongovernmental systems of labor standards and monitoring." Policy Studies Journal 31.1 (2003): 1-29.

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