I received my prize copy of The World is Flat yesterday (thanks again, MT). As I started reading the book this morning, I remembered having read another of Friedman's books, From Beirut to Jerusalem, about fifteen years ago. Although that book is now somewhat dated in light of the dynamic nature of the Middle East, it really gives a unique insight into the world of middle east politics. You should definitely check it out!

Mark's picture
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Life is getting so much better it's bizarre to read the daily press and feel completely out of touch.

In 100 years, credible sources say that Bangladeshis will live as the Dutch (the gold standard) do today.

We're prone to complaining...but life is good, and misery is declining.


jhack's picture

Mark and Chris,

That's so true and so easy to lose track of.  One metric stands out:  

A baby born in 1900 had a life expectancy of approx. 46 years.  Today, it's 74. 

Things are geting better (but it's not a smooth line!) 

John Hack

lasotac's picture

The World is Flat is really two books. The first half which describes the changing world and the second half which is Friedman's Rx for the USA to effectively compete in that world.

The first half of the book is stunning. Friedman's description of the changes is engaging and his incites are outstanding. The second half of the book is nothing less than pap. More the same failed policies that have been tried and tried and tried and failed over and over again are given.What is stunning about the second half of the book is how Friedman can have such a first grasp on the reality of the situation yet lives in fantasy land when it comes to the actions the USA must take to compete.

So my rating of the book is 5 stars for the first half and 0 stars for a vapid, boorish, predicable second half. Read to page 300 and put it down.

jhack's picture

Good analysis of the book.  I'd agree that the first half is solid analysis, and the second half mostly trite policy discussion  (although it's not "boorish") 

John Hack

jeffgagne's picture
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 As I read my morning paper...

"Giant US investment bank Morgan Stanley says that ’speculative and Ponzi finance dominate China’s economy’. It warns China is approaching a ‘Minsky Moment’ when a credit bubble implodes under its own weight."

China's time as an economic power was built by polluting their environment, putting children to work, with people building products that can't afford to buy getting paying less for a day what most developed countries pay for an hour.  They needed US and EU customer to buy their stuff so they can keep a billion people employed and not rioting to bring down the communist controlled government.  To do that they needed to guy our debt so we could turban around and buy more of their stuff.  Rise and Repeat. This was never about "globalization" but a very specific set of actions and choices by a government determined to not become the next USSR. 

Not going to say I told you so...but...I have been posting that a day of reckoning was coming for years and think I will now start writing books!