What is the era Friedman refers to as Globalization 1.0 in The World is Flat?

Globalization 1.0, according to Friedman and most historians, was a period beginning around 1492 when Europeans began exploring the world and establishing colonies. Globalization 2.0 is usually considered to have begun at the end of the 19th century with the industrial revolution and European nations becoming world powers. Globalization 3.0 began at the end of World War II with the creation of multinational companies such as IBM, GE, and Siemens that are based in one country but sell their goods all over the world.

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Thomas L. Friedman's The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the 21st Century (2005) sold well and was praised by most reviewers. In the book, Friedman argues that there have been three great eras of globalization.

The first one—Globalization 1.0—started with the voyage of Christopher Columbus in 1492 and ended in about 1800. During this epoch, Europeans, led by Spain and Portugal, established empires and far-flung trading networks. Intrepid sea captains traveled to remote regions and gave Europe an understanding of global geography. "It shrank the world from a size large to a size medium," Friedman writes.

Other nations—Britain, France, and Holland—joined in the global competition with colonial empires, too. "Globalization 1.0 was about countries and muscles," Friedman argues. In this contest, Britain eventually prevailed; it had the largest navy and best trading and economic system.

Globalization 1.0 lasted until about 1800. After 1800, multinational companies became the dominant players on the world stage in Globalization 2.0. Europeans and Americans were the leaders in both 1.0 and 2.0.

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In Chapter One, “While I Was Sleeping,” Jonathan Friedman states that taken together, The World Is Flat and his previous book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, offer a combined argument in support of “three great eras of globalization.” The one he call Globalization 1.0 begins with Columbus’s first voyage and ends about 1800. The other two eras he calls, unsurprisingly, 2.0 and 3.0. Globalization 2.0 runs from about 1800 to 2000, and 3.0 is our current era, which began around 2000.

While the idea that the Globalization 1.0 era begins with Columbus is not unexpected, the reason for the end date is less obvious. The first era “shrank the world.” As trade was opened between the Old World and the New World, power played the key role. There were two primary questions that concerned people, or at least leaders. The first was determining where their count fit in “global competition and opportunities.” The second was how they could “go global and compete with others” by working through their country. In short, it was an age of nationalism and power, what Friedman calls “muscles.”

The first era ends around 1800 because trends moved away from nationalism toward multinational enterprises, with an emphasis on global integration. Around 1800, the shift from expanding joint-stock companies and industrial growth had become pronounced, so Friedman sees it as the end point of the 1.0 era.

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According to Friedman, "Globalization 1.0" is the period in which Europe developed sustained contact with Africa and the Americas. This period, according to Friedman, began in 1492, with Columbus's voyage to the so-called "New World" and ended around 1800. According to the author, the "key agent of change" during this period was the amount of "brawn" a country had, including muscle, horsepower, wind power, and so on a society (or, more accurately, a country) could harness and bring to bear. He claims that the primary question countries were asking was "how can I go global and collaborate with others through my country?" While this intellectual framework has been roundly criticized, and Friedman's somewhat rosy picture of global interaction viewed as simplistic, there is little doubt that the patterns of interaction between Europe, Africa, and the Americas developed during this period, and that they permanently altered the political, social, and economic development of each. Globalization 1.0 gave way to the 2.0 version, in which change was driven by "multinational companies."

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You can find the answer to this in Chapter 1 (p. 9 in my copy of the book).  What Friedman calls Globalization 1.0 is the time when Europeans first started to "discover" the New World.  He says that Globalization 1.0 spans the time from 1492 (Christopher Columbus's first voyage) to around 1800.

During this time, he says, the world first started to shrink.  It went from being a really large world to one that was more of a medium size.

He says that this era was an era of "muscle" -- one where the amount of physical power (muscle, wind, steam) a country could harness was what tended to make it powerful.  He also says that countries (as opposed to companies) were the most important actors.

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