The debate on globalisation moves forward. Move over Tom Friendman, here comes Prof Pankaj Ghemawat.
To be frank, when I had read Tom Friedman's The World is Flat in 2005 at the height of its frenzy, my first thought was that it is an over hyped reporting, rather than something really based on facts and figures. It is good to hear that a scholar such as Pankaj says the same in this interview with Economic Times. Not that I am an accomplished scholar as Prof Ghemawat to be able to counter Tom Friedman's oh-so-adored theory, but simply put, it appeared to further a romantic idea of globalisation which everyone wanted to hear, rather than something based on facts. I had done a post on this subject on this blog, which incidentally, was among my first blog posts.
While I have not read Prof. Ghemawat book Redefining Global Strategy yet, certainly waiting for it to appear in the shelves in India. So what if it was published in Sept 2007- the world is so flat yet.
I would much rather the discourse on Globalization came from economists like Joesph Stiglitz (Nobel winner for economics and was Chief Economist at World Bank), Paul Krugman (Princeton), Pankaj Ghemawat (Harvard)etc. Ted Koppel interviews Friedman and Joseph Stiglitz, who ofcourse doesnt find a mention in Friedman's book.
Joseph Stiglitz said while on a trip to India, that 600 million people from India (out of the one billion!) have been left out of the “development” fold of globalization. So, obviously, all India is not going to migrate into middle class, if anything the inequality is far, far worse now, after the advent of globalization. Similarly newspaper reports have pointed out how Chinese workers are working in apalling conditions, to chhurn out the low cost products, with poor pay, cramped rooms, no accident or health insurance benefits, no job security, no overtime, long working hours - so who is actaully benefiting from this sort of globalization? Corporates ofcourse, and the few privileged people of India nd China who have been able to get educated in engineering and technology! Not the vast majority of population.
Two books to read, which offer a counterperspective to Friedman's "The World is Flat."
One is ofcourse the Harvard Professor, Pankaj Ghemawat's latest book, "Redefining Global Strategy," is more academically inclined. He argues that the world is, at best, only semi-globalized. His argument being that Cultural, Administrative, Geographic and Economic aspects of a nation come in the way of total globalization from taking place and cites examples of the same.
The other small, but interesting book, is by Aronica and Ramdoo, "The World is Flat? A Critical Analysis of Thomas Friedman's New York Times Bestseller." It is a small book compared to the 600 page tome by Friedman, and aimed at the common man and students alike. As popular as the book may be, some reviewers assert that by what it leaves out, Friedman's book is dangerous. The authors point to the fact that there isn't a single table or data footnote in Friedman's entire book. "Globalization is the greatest reorganization of the world since the Industrial Revolution," says Aronica. Aronica and Ramdoo conclude by listing over twenty action items that point the way forward, and they provide a comprehensive, yet concise, framework for understanding the critical issues of globalization.
You may want to see www.mkpress.com/flat
and watch www.mkpress.com/flatoverview.html
for an interesting counterperspective on Friedman's
"The World is Flat".
Also a really interesting 6 min wake-up call: Shift Happens! www.mkpress.com/ShiftExtreme.html
There is also a companion book listed: Extreme Competition: Innovation and the Great 21st Century Business Reformation