Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century is a novel which analyzes the idea of globalization, most notably in the 21st century. The title refers to the idea that the playing field on which individuals engage in commerce has become fairer and more equal. A driving force behind this idea is that historical and geographic divisions are increasing meaningless and companies are incentivized to cater to the global consumer equally, which has benefitted everyone.
Friedman outlines ten key factors driving the leveling of the playing field, which he refers to as “flatteners” including, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, Netscape, workflow software, uploading, outsourcing, offshoring, supply-chaining, insourcing, informing, and “The Steroids.”
These “flatteners” have helped customers by allowing individuals the ability to quickly and easily learn new skills which are attractive and beneficial to companies and organizations. Essentially, more people are able to join successful workforces, which in turn makes companies more efficient and eventually drives down the cost of products to the end user.
Freidman warns that while this has benefitted everyone, it also makes everyone more expendable and replaceable. It’s imperative for individuals to continue to learn new skills and make themselves more adaptable to the workplace.