1. Do you think Friedman presents a balanced and accurate assessment of the current and future situation?
Friedman attempts to be balanced by describing the negative effects of globalization, including technology falling into the wrong hands (terrorists, etc.) and third-world countries without access to the technologies which would incorporate them into this new, flat world. He neglects, however, to mention the effects on the environment caused by technology, mass production, and disposal of hazardous substances which these technologies cause. He also does not consider in this book the fact that outsourcing can be the catalyst for exploitation of employees, sometimes children, when companies outsource to "cheap" countries with loose labor laws. Friedman in general shows many pros and cons to globalization, but is not completely accurate when he leaves certain things out.
2. What are the key assumptions he makes?
One of Friedman's major assumptions is that "anyone can do it." He interviews, almost exclusively, people with major entrepreneurial success stories or high-level executives of major technology companies. He is extremely optimistic, believing in an idealized edition of our world. He also assumes that anything labeled "free-market" is a positive thing, although there are examples in history of "free-market" ideas ending very poorly, and of technological advances made while their leaders refused to take a "free-market" stance, such as the Japanese company Toyota, which used to be a monopoly of sorts.
3. What kinds of evidence does he use for his arguments?
Friedman uses ten "flatteners" to back up his arguments on globalization. These include the collapse of the Berlin Wall (which symbolized the end of the Cold War and coincided with the unveiling of the basic PC, which allowed people all over the world to communicate with one another), the inventions of Netscape, and workflow software, the abilities to upload original content, outsource and insource services, offshore manufacturing, supply chains, information services like Google and Wikipedia, and what he refers to as "steroids:" file sharing, wireless devices, MP3 music players, messaging, and the general digitization of previously analog services.