Online Study Guide: The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman|
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THE WORLD IS FLAT BY THOMAS FRIEDMAN: BOOK REVIEW / ANALYSIS
The fourth action area is social activism. This social activism refers
to the relationship between the global corporation and its moral conscience.
Friedman argues that in a flat world, social and environmental activists
and progressive companies can collaborate to make both the companies more
profitable and the world more livable. Moreover, Friedman says that advocates
of compassionate flatism need to educate consumers about how their buying
power is ultimately political. Every time a consumer makes a purchase,
he or she is ultimately making a political decision.
The fifth and final action area is parenting. Friedman argues that parents
must do a better job of teaching their children the values of hard work
and delayed gratification. Children will not become successful adults
if they are protected from every discomfort and allowed endless hours
of video games and television.
At this point in the text, it should be noted that American studies scholars
generally agree that when discussing The United States of America, “America”
is not accurate because nations in North America, Central America, and
South America also define themselves as “American.” Properly, the nation
should be referred to as The United States of America, the United States,
or the U.S. Throughout The World is Flat Friedman
uses “America” to denote the United States.
In this section Friedman continues the structure he established with the ten
flatteners--breaking each chapter down into a list or a series of elements
or examples. This is an effective writing style because it makes complex
ideas more manageable for the reader. However, in an effort to neatly
organize his ideas, Friedman sometimes stumbles. For example, the majority
of this section establishes the significance of preparing students for
the rigorous task of undertaking careers in the physical and mathematical
sciences as well as engineering, which Friedman argues are essential to
the U.S.’s survival as the world hegemony in the 21st century. Friedman
briefly touches on the importance of other, non-science jobs when he encourages
his readers to “do what you love,” in a rather abstract, flimsy section
of the text. Friedman’s vague, clichéd instructions for non-scientists
compared with his detailed statistics which highlight Americans’ declining
capacity for science necessarily suggests their increasing irrelevance
in this technology-driven brave new world. One might presume that Friedman,
a journalist, does not actually believe artists or scholars of the humanities
are insignificant; however, his lack of attention to their specific roles
in the flattening world leaves room for debate.
Another curious moment in the text is Friedman’s treatment of his conversation
with Yale graduate student Eric Stern, who remarks that the women at the
dinner table (Yale undergraduates) never thought about careers in science.
Friedman dismisses this assertion by attempting to make it gender neutral
and pursues a discussion of why science and math are not that interesting
for many students. However, in leaving the statement hanging, as he does,
Friedman misses an opportunity to discuss the gender disparity in science-related
professions. Here he could invoke expert testimony, as he so often does,
which could consider debates about how girls are educated at the elementary
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. 09 May 2017