Major Flatteners of the 20th Century Essay Sample
- Word count: 1544
- Category: globalization
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Major Flatteners of the 20th Century Essay Sample
With the penetration of globalization in aspects of reality, many social scientists, particularly those concerned with the study of modern society began to analyze the net effects of globalization. Some argue that globalization in general is the first major step in attaining equity across countries via different measures. There were those who maintain that globalization is only beneficial if it involves the establishment of an economic relationship among equals. There were those who argue that globalization is the direct consequence of a competitive global environment. According to this third view, the competitive global environment serves as the point of trade-offs between “players” (countries). Because the environment is characterized by equality of opportunities, the outcome of an action or group of coherent actions depends on the ability of the “players” to maximize total welfare. Thus, along the playing field, there will be players that are “worse off” (not necessarily economic) and “better off.”
One of the proponents of the third view was Thomas L. Friedman. He argues that the process of globalization is tantamount to the formulation and reformulation of a flat playing field; that is, globalization should be seen as interconnected events relevant to the formation of a competitive playing field. In addition, according to many scholars, the globe, can be classified as competitive if the playing field of two or more entities was followed by an initial redistribution of income (based on the consumer pattern of utility bargain) (Friedman 53). He argues that politics, culture, and even personal ethics are variables that have a direct relationship to the formulation of the rules of international economic integration. Thus, while stressing the efficacy of an economy in deciding the future of a state, it was quite obvious for him that the economy was really influenced by several intervening factors; most of which were quite uneconomic in nature. For Friedman, an analysis of the effects of globalization should go hand to hand with conceptual models and schedules.
Thus, Friedman asserts that based from an analysis of the events during the 20th century, there are about 10 flatterners; but for the purpose of simplicity, we will only cite five flatteners. These flatteners were utilized to “level the differential economic statuses” of major countries. The first flattener is identified as the Collapse of the Berlin Wall. This symbolized the end of the Cold War and the start of democratization in Germany (unlike North Korea and South Korea)
Specifically, Friedman provides the framework for the reunion of East and West Germany under the rubric of democratic practices and institutions. It was the first time since the Second World War that the two “brother” countries were reunited. Note that after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, the forces of democracy swept in Eastern Europe, carrying the banner of individualism and free market system. Thus, it can safely be said that the alteration of the political structure of a country from autocratic to democratic forms presents a general smoothing of the smoothing of the globalization process. In addition, the ability of free market systems to correct negative externalities in the market also makes the process of globalization more flexible and adaptive to cultural, social, and cultural conditions of other groups (Friedman 82).
The second flattener of the 20th century is the establishment and growth of Netscape and the Web. Trading or trade-offs can now be managed via non-personal transactions, accessible mediums and adopters began to spread in the country. Thus, the internet itself is limiting the horizons of the perceived world (social). Thus, it is logical to assume that as communication networks increases in both breadth ad volume, the tendency for limitation increases (although there are benefits in the trade-off).
The third flattener is identified as Workflow software. The last two terms of the sentence can be defined as “the ability of machines to talk to other machines without human assistance.” Simply put, it is activity devoid of any human help or assistance. Friedman believes that in the near future, a new global framework for collaboration will emerge. This collaboration will likely take the form of scientific or economic enterprises. This third flattener though is just a mere imagination of the author given this set of present circumstances.
The fourth flattener can be described as a quality of efficiency. Friedman defines it as the ability of an organization (or its representative) to achieve what economists call “Pareto efficiency” or “Pareto optimal.” Pareto efficiency is the condition where “no one is better off without making anyone worse off.” On the consumer side, all resources produced domestically must be consumed or wasted. On the supplier side, resources produced should be distributed to the public based on two categories: quality and price of related inputs. The outcome for the consumer is increased utility. The outcome for the producers (in the case presented) is decreased “efficiency.” How does efficiency related to globalization.
Simply put, if economies are on their optimal point of production, then goods and services will flood the market. But because “optimality” is measured based on the willingness of the individual to pay is optimality. This gives firms time to realign their project proposals to achieve “Pareto efficiency.” The result: the economy stabilizes.
Foreign investment as well as direct aid programs may reach its maximum point when a country experiences economies of scale. Thus, when a country develops its economy, then goods from other countries can easily flow to the latter. Thus, globalization takes precedence over individual markets. Once one market opens up to full trade, then the trade-off becomes permanent (upon resignation). Remember that globalization functions only in aggregate markets. Individual aggregate markets are generally more specific and based on assumed income brackets. In order to determine the values of these aggregates and brackets, maybe there is a need to create programs that would approximate reality, as what some natural scientists do.
The last example is called supply chaining. Some companies like the Wal-Mart uses this approach to streamline item sales, distribution, and shipping. Wal-mart is already adopting this approach (as envisioned by Friedman). By enlisting a sufficient number of credible suppliers, the firm then becomes deputized to “run” the supply side of the demand. This puts the “suppliers worse off in the relationship.
Resolving the Energy Crisis
Friedman noted that the United States is currently experiencing climate shift. For the past few moths, Friedman noted that fall did not amicably return for another season (Friedman 1: URL Cited). According to scientists the increasing energy consumption of people especially in Asia are increasing strain on the production capability of oil-exporting countries. Increasing energy consumption is tantamount to an increase car or factory emissions (Friedman 1:URL Cited). In addition, most of the fuels imported to the United States are renewable resources. It would take millions of years to “restore the natural beauty” from all forms of cultural and social stigma.
If the consumption of energy in many developing world is increasing per year, then it is equal to the amount of emissions produced annually. Is reducing consumption schedule an economic approach towards efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The answer to this question depends on the presence of alternatives in the market. If the market offers no alternative, then the economy does not have choice.
Examining efficiency. If the government controls the right to ration oil to all vehicle owners, would that be effective? Definitely not. The government will take additional costs (with the quantity taken into account) of importing the product. If the government does not recognize its capability to research alternatives to expensive products, would that be both cost-effective and cost-efficient? It is neither cost-effective nor cost-efficient. It is not cost-efficient since the product is left to the private sector for distribution, thus stabilizing the price of that good for a while. It can never be cost-effective. If the government handles the financing of the import product, then it experiences monetary shortfalls.
The solution posted by Friedman is: provide alternatives to primary oil consumers. There are though problems in this question. Researching alternatives is very costly. This will essentially deprive the government some income which have been spent in jail. Second, even if alternatives are known to be common, there is no sure market or liche of the product. Again the reduction of some alternatives maybe becomes costlier than the previous means. Friedman is true when he asserted that the United States refused to summary certain agreements just for the hollow box. The reasons are clear. The United States belongs to a first-world country, and hence has the economic capacity to depend something from terminal exigencies like ear. Even if the cost of producing the alternative is equal to the cost (or even below) of producing the imported oil product, we still have to take into consideration the actual volume of oil emitted each year.
Friedman, Thomas L. The people we have been waiting for. Herald Tribune, 2 December 2007. 14 December 2007 from http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/12/02/opinion/edfriedman.php?WT.mc_id=rssopinion.
Friedman, Thomas L. The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century. NY: McMillan Publishing House, 2005.