Thursday, December 21, 2006

Catching Up

I love books. This is almost entirely a good thing. One of the few drawbacks is that I have a backlog of books to read. An entire shelf by my bed is dedicated to books "on deck." So I'm often behind the curve with the latest book that most other folks are reading and talking about. This clearly happened in a big way with The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman. Most folks read this book last year, so I am a little late to the party.

It is a very intriguing book, though. And if you haven't read it, I recommend it. The topic is the increasing interconnectedness of the world, especially with regards to economics. Two things from the book have struck me, even though I haven't finished it yet. First, the growing ties between individuals, and the continuing rise of multinational organizations (especially corporations), has begun to roll back many of the changes wrought by the rise of nationalism in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And secondly, the rise of outsourcing and offshoring may not be bad for the US, on the whole. We are becoming a nation of robber-barons, controlling innovation and capital while the rest of the world does the dirty work. I find that very interesting, and look forward to finishing the book and thinking about this some more. If anyone else has read it, I'd like to hear your thoughts, too.


Kelly said...

I began to read this book about a year ago, and haven't picked it up since. Thomas Friedman was going to speak at one of the conferences I was organizing, and I wanted to be up to speed. Work got busy, and I never finished. I heard many good remarks, hope you enjoy the rest of it!

PudriK said...

How can you take his constant stream of platitudes? Friedman's got some interesting insights, but his writing comes across like a barrage of witty quips. And he's frequently been accused of over-simplifcation.

That said, at least he's entertaining and easy to read. There are a couple on my shelf that sounded really interesting in theory, btu were soooo dry I have hard time getting through five pages before I'm worn out.

And I also have a whole shelf, or two even, of books I want to, eventually, someday, get around to reading.

PudriK said...

Dagnabbit, PS: A frequent concern of mine is that the advantages he speaks of (a nation of robber barons as you, or he, put it) is that it's not for everyone, that the advantages of the global workforce are accruing mostly to the capitalist class, and that until the developing world catches up, most of the gains in wealth are going to pool among the very rich. I'm no socialist, though, I view this as consequence of the imbalances in the global economy, but it worries me for its effect on future societies.