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How Flat is our world?

June 10, 2007
If you have read the book “The World is Flat” by Thomas Friedman, you would realise what exactly is my question. This is not a review of the book but something which struck me while I was reading the book. On several occasions in the book, Thomas talks about the challenges in future for America and developed countries from countries like India and China. On the other hand, I wonder how many of us realise that we are capable of doing that one day in near future. Although things have changed to quite an extent, I would say, it should be attributed a lot to the focus of media on the booming economy which has turned our focus onto seeing this possibility.

Schooling is one important thing which has to lay the foundation for young generation to dream big. In an age when we are in the crossroads of deciding who should get what share of the pie; I am afraid we are again on the verge of losing a huge global opportunity. The percentage of people who are working towards this goal of attaining a whole new role and position at the world’s stage is so minimum compared to the possible potential of the country! The yesteryear’s generation of our country still keeps talking about our great freedom struggle and how this has brought a whole new identity for us….yes, that’s true and that’s really something to be proud of. But it is the generation of the 60’s and 70’s which really bothers me, because they are today’s decision makers in every home and office and so many other places. Having born and brought up under a not so highly dynamic system of growth and opportunities; it is true that most of our parents had to undergo a lot of struggle to come out of their struggling phase of life. But what about us??….what about the generation of the 80’s and 90’s which has grown in the post liberalization era?? We haven’t gone through the early years of struggle like our parents had and we don’t understand what they had undergone….of course I cannot generalise this for everyone.

The problem is there is just too many choices and opportunities in the present age and the world which is changing itself so constantly that, it’s difficult to point out which one we should adapt ourselves to. We are advised to take up something because it’s a notion that it is good for a comfortable living. But is it really so in the present age? Friedman talks about how motivated were people during Space War in the 60’s that it inspired a whole generation to take up Science and Engineering. And how that generation knew what it had to do 10 years from now.
Today, we don’t have a space race, neither there’s a nuclear race for our nation…we have already achieved both! The thing which we need to ponder upon is, what’s next on the line? How long will we implement the present strategy of providing services for others? Do we really see ourselves as someone who can bring the next big change in people’s lives? If so, in what way?….

We are going to reach the American standards in everything one day but what happens then? I am sure, when the disaster strikes this will be an immediate reaction too… Going by the present phenomenon and excerpts from the book also say that in this flat world America is stagnant and even receding at times and India and China are fast catching up! I wonder what’s it going to be which will reverse the past 60 years phenomenon of G7’s dominance?? Russia and G20 might be ready for the challenge, but the question is who will pose that challenge and who will set the parameters for others?? And who is going to be who will realise the existence of such a challange??…It all boils down to, how flat do we think our world is? And what are we going to do about it??….

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