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Some of you are probably aware of how idiotic I found the arguments in hack-economist Friedman's The World is Flat. Imagine my glee when I found out that there has been a recently published book that says the same, though using nicer words: The World Is Flat? A Critical Analysis of NYT Bestseller by Thomas Friedman. I like the reviews like this:

"However, Thomas Friedman's runaway bestseller, The World is Flat, is dangerous. Friedman makes "arguments by assertion," assertions based not on documented facts, but on stories from friends and elite CEOs he visits --not even one footnote reference. Yet his book influences business and government leaders around the globe. By what it leaves out, it does nothing more than misinform the American people and our leaders.

Aronica and Ramdoo show that the world isn't flat; it's tilted in favor of unfettered global corporations that exploit cheap labor in China, India and beyond. This concise monograph brings clarity to many of Friedman's misconceptions, and explores nine key issues that Friedman largely ignores, including the hollowing out of America's debt-ridden middle class. To create a fair and balanced exploration of globalization, the authors cite the work of experts that Friedman fails to incorporate, including Nobel laureate and former Chief Economist at the World Bank, Dr. Joseph Stiglitz."

And, especially this review by Bharat Raj:

"Thomas Friedman's book was triggered by the CEO of an Indian software company in Bangalore who said the playing field was being leveled. Then, as only a celebrity pundit can do, Friedman spun a sound bite, "The World is Flat," and garnished story after story from his elite contacts, while avoiding contact with the likes of Dr. Vandana Shiva, Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology & Ecology and others who have a different perspective on what's really happening in India.

Here's a snippet from Dr. Shiva in Aronica and Ramdoo's book, "Friedman presents a 0.1% picture and hides 99.9%. And in the 99.9% are Monsanto's seed monopolies and the suicides of thousands of farmers. In the hidden 99.9% economy are thousands of tribal children in Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan who died of hunger because the public distribution system for food has been dismantled to create markets for agribusiness. The world of the 99.9% has grown poorer because of the economic globalisation. Free-trade is about corporate freedom and citizen disenfranchisement. What Friedman is presenting as a new `flatness' is in fact a new caste system, a new Brahminism, locked in hierarchies of exclusion. By presenting open sourcing in the same category as outsourcing and off shore production, Friedman hides corporate greed, corporate monopolies and corporate power, and presents corporate globalisation as human creativity and freedom. This is deliberate dishonesty, not just result of flat vision."

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From: [identity profile] morphaileffect.livejournal.com
thanks for this. i've been on the lookout for a critical analysis of The World is Flat for the longest time. i still say the book makes a lot of sense if you're an entrepreneur, esp one interested in the movement of global money (out of first-world nations, into developing ones), though i did notice that it glosses over a lot of problems caused by rapid globalization. i hope i can find a copy of this new book in local shops.

have also bought friedman's The Lexus and the Olive Tree, but have not had the chance to read it actually... i think of it as a sort of prototype of TWiF though.
From: [identity profile] color-blue.livejournal.com
i still say the book makes a lot of sense if you're an entrepreneur, esp one interested in the movement of global money (out of first-world nations, into developing ones), though i did notice that it glosses over a lot of problems caused by rapid globalization.

Do you really think so? Thought the points he made re: the movement of global money out of first world nations into (some) developing ones was obvious by now? And, ohman, don't believe anything he says! Srsly, both his books are so misleading as to what's really going on, more propaganda than anything else, and it really bugs me how he doesn't look at statistics, just relies on the hearsay of his friends. On top of that, he takes things for granted, makes assumptions which I believe are debatable, such that globalization is caused by technological determinism when I think that there's a case to be made that it might be the result of class-bound determinism - that is, what's driving the process today isn't efficiency but greed. Also, the Lexus and the Olive Tree has already been discredited by recent events, such as the fall of Enron, which he repeatedly cited as a strong global company; it won't be long, I think, before The World Is Flat will be discredited too. His books tend to date very badly. For a book that seems to have dated well, try The Case Against the Global Economy, which seems even more relevant now than it did when it was published over ten years ago. I don't agree with everything it says, such as the essay that claims the solution to our environmental problems is to have land revert back to the commons, but it provides a check on the views of Friedman et al. Another book I remember reading and liking was Post Corporate World - Life After Capitalism, though it was quite some time ago, so I can't say how well its aged.
From: [identity profile] color-blue.livejournal.com
And, omg, I can't believe I forgot this book. Stiglitz's Globalization & Its Discontents. Stiglitz is a Nobel Prize economist, but he also served as senior vice president at the World Bank & on Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors, so he has a lot of real-world experience, and on top of that the writer's very clear & easy to understand. I do think its a bit too rah-rah World Bank & boo-hoo IMF, and there're a couple of policy points in it I disagree with, but every writer comes with their own biases, and its a great big-picture introduction to the topic of how world finance & globalization works.
From: [identity profile] morphaileffect.livejournal.com
many, many thanks for the recs. i do need to read up on economic theory, and i'm looking to buy more books on it soon. the titles you gave will definitely make my shopping list. er... to be honest, all i have on my list right now is the mystery of capital, which i've already read and has actually greatly influenced my views on globalization.

i confess, though, i wonder what you think of this book? the person who lent this to me was a visiting US resident who made it sound like it was required reading. it taught me a lot about the importance of microbanking and the impact of outsourcing on developing economies, but i'm open to being set straight.
From: [identity profile] color-blue.livejournal.com
This reply is so late - sorry. ^^;; And, I've never read the book, so don't think I could set you straight. But, hm. I'm assuming it has the same theory that his papers do, which is that capitalism fails in third world countries because the capital that poor have access to isn't recognized or liquid. (Let me know if I'm wrong in this?) It's been some time since I read him, (and if I remember his arguments correctly) I don't completely disagree with what he says, because I think that if you turn the assets of the poor into liquid capital that will help the poor, but it doesn't solve the problem or tell you the cause of it. It is like saying that the poor are poor because they don't have enough clothes to wear, and if everyone had enough clothes to wear there would be no poor. And, /yeah/, giving the poor free clothes will help them, just like transforming the dead to liquid capital will help 3rd world countries, but it's a superficial analysis of the problem. imo the reason that globalization has failed in so many countries is because it was carried out hastily and unequally, such as the WTO forcing third world countries to eliminate tariffs on agricultural products while developed countries still protected their own agricultural sector through subsidies, pressuring capital markets to open when there weren't sufficient regulations, the IMF pressuring countries to follow policies that gutted the public service sector, etcetc. But I still like his analysis, because it does address a problem that poor in 3rd world countries face, and unlike most economic analysis out there I think that his solutions will help (just, imo, not as much as he claims they will, because they don't address the deeper causes).

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