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“Slumdog Millionaire” supports Friedman’s “The World is Flat”

By January 12, 2009 2 Comments

Have you seen “Slumdog Millionaire”? It won the Golden Globe award for Best Motion Picture Drama 2008 last night. It is an richly layered film which gets better the more you think about it. See viewers comments about it on the Internet Movie Data Base.

Thomas Friedman first published “The World Is Flat” in 2005. It is currently in it’s third revision.

Friedman posits that Globalization has had three tranches – Globalization 1.0 was countries globalizing, Globalization 2.0 was companies globalizing and Globalization 3.0, which started in approximately 2000, is the new found power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally. He talks about ten flattening forces – you have lived through them all if you were 21 in 2008. We are all involved in a global competition. Don’t focus on jobs lost to outsourcing in this new world. That’s a race to the bottom of the pile; focus instead on a race to the top. A fascinating and scary book.

So what do I mean that “Slumdog Millionaire” supports the idea that “The World Is Flat”? In the book Friedman uses India as a landmark example of a country who is taking advantage of the flattening of the world to “race to the top” for the best jobs. India started its economic resurgence by becoming the “call center” location of choice in the outsourced world we all know. But it has gone far beyond that and become a technology power in its own right – one only has to think of the new giant Indian companies, like TaTa and Wipro.

Where once America dominated the industry it started – Motion Pictures, it has begun to lose it’s sole ownership of that industry. Where once there was the USA and some occasional pictures we celebrated from the UK, France and Italy, there wasn’t much else. Now there is Bollywood in India. And now “Slumdog Millionaire” has won the Best Drama Golden Globe and three other Golden Globes. The collaboration on this movie is spectacular. It was based on a novel, “Q&A” by an Indian Author, Vikas Swarup. The screenplay was written by an Englishman, Simon Beaufoy. It was co-directed by an American, Danny Boyle and an Indian, Loveleen Tandan.

So what’s the point? Read “The World Is Flat”. As a solopreneur consultant we can take advantage of the technologies available to us from anywhere as well partnerships around the world to offer services only our larger brethren could have offered previously. In 2009 we had all better figure out how to do more for and be more valuable to our prospects and clients if we want to thrive.

What are your favorite examples of a flattening world? What are you doing to help yourself in this flattening world?

Go close some business,


Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • concerned citizen says:

    To put things in perspective, maybe we should listen to what Stiglitz said:

    Joseph Stiglitz (Nobel winner for economics and was Chief Economist at World Bank) 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.

    Theres is this small, but interesting book, by Aronica and Ramdoo, “The World is Flat? A Critical Analysis of Thomas Friedman’s New York Times Bestseller,” which offers a counterperspective to Friedman’s theory on globalization.

    Interestingly enough, the book written about two years back, discusses in the following chapters,
    “Debt and Financialization of America”
    “America”s Former Middle Class”
    “A Paradigm Shift for America” with prescriptions for the future

    the debt ridden American society, deregulated financial institutions, mortgage crisis and other related issues, with clear pointers to the economic crisis gripping US today. For more information regarding the same, check this out:

    This 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.

    You may want to see
    and watch
    for an interesting counterperspective on Friedman’s
    “The World is Flat”.

    Also a really interesting 6 min wake-up call: Shift Happens!

    There is also a companion book listed: Extreme Competition: Innovation and the Great 21st Century Business Reformation

  • Ed Callahan says:

    Sorry for taking so long to reply. Friedman’s book is not meant to be a scholarly tome but an expression of his opinions based on his world view. He responds to these comments and others in subsequent updates of his book. I agree with him that some progress is better than no progress while acknowledging that there are “miles to go” in the Indian development story and many people not yet benefiting from it. Thanks for sharing your opinion.

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