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Lecture 2

Week 1 Lecture 2 GEOG 2200 2013 Notes.docx

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GEOG 2200
John Milton

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Page1GEOG 2200 Global ConnectionsJohn Milton Instructor SeptemberDecember 2013Week 1Lecture 2 Do We Live in a Flat World or a Spiky WorldThe drivers that I spoke about last class impact onThe structure and organization of economic activity globallyState structure and activitiesHow each of us engages with othersHow we as individual organize the world geographicallyToday we will consider these last two topicsIs the World Flat or SpikyHas the advances in transportation and communications combined with the evolving openness of the world under neoliberalism made geography irrelevant Have we reached the end of geographyViewpoint 1 The World is FlatThomas Friedman wrote the book The World is Flat A Brief History of the Twentyfirst Century in 2007 In it he basically argues that the world has indeed become flat What does he mean by this He basically argues that through the advances in transportation and communications more and more people around the world can connect and interact in ways not possible ever before in the history of humankind Friedman is not alone in prophesying the end of geography Several writers have argued that globalizationespecially as driven by the revolution in information andcommunications technologies ICTmarks the end of geography OBrien 1992 the onset of the death of distance Cairncross 1997 the emergence of a borderless world Ohmae 1995 of deterritorialization or supraterritorialisation Scholte 2000 and the vanishing of distance Reich 2001 But lets focus on Friedman because of the influence his book has had on the way people understand globalizationFriedman 2007911 begins by considering the timespace compression identifying three great eras of globalization1Globalization 10From 1492 to around 1800 it shrank the world from a size large to a size medium Globalization 10 was about countries and musclesIn Globalization 10 the primary questions were Where does my country fit into global competition and opportunities How can I go global and collaborate with others through my country2Globalization 20From 1800 to 2000 interrupted by the Great Depression and the two World wars this era shrank the world from a size medium to a size small In Globalization 20 the key agent of change the dynamic force driving global integration was multinational companies Propelled first by empires and then by enabling technologies transportation and communicationthe big questions in this era were Where does my company fit into the global economy How does it take advantage of the opportunities How can I go global and collaborate with others through my company3Globalization 30Today Globalization 30 is shrinking the world from a size small to a size tiny and flattening the playing field at the same time And while Page2dynamic the dynamic force in Globalization 10 was countries globalizing and the dynamic force in Globalization 20 was companies globalizing the dynamic force in Globalization 30the thing that gives it its unique characteris the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globallyFriedman 20071011 goes on to argue that Globalization 30 not only differs from the previous eras in how it is shrinking and flattening the world and in how it is empowering individuals It is different in that Globalization 10 and 20 were driven primarily by European and American individuals and businessesBut going forward this will be less and less true Because of its flattening and shrinking the world Globalization 30 is going to be more and more driven not only by individuals but also by a much more diversenonWestern nonwhitegroup of individuals Individuals from every corner of the flat world are being empowered Friedman identifies 10 forces expressed as either historic moments or innovations which have flattened the world These were the Fall of the Berlin Wall 11989 Netscape goes Public 8995 Work Flow Software the rise of the PC Open Sourcing Outsourcing Offshoring Supply Chains Insourcing integration of services within companies Informing the Steroids advances in digitization mobile virtual and personal traits of communication and ICT Skype VoIP miniaturization of storage iPaq videoconferencingThe first three of these flattenersthe fall of the Berlin Wall Netscape and work flow softwarecreated what Friedman calls a flat world platform of falling walls and opening of windows digitization of content and the spreading of the internet What Friedman is highlighting is what we discussed last class first the creation of an enabling environment politically and socially and second the advancement and standardization of communications infrastructure The fall of the Berlin Wall was more than simply the symbolic beginning of the end of the Cold War and the breakup of the Soviet Union It represented the victory of capitalism over communism and what Francis Fukuyama has since argued represented the end of history This in term has allowed us to see the world for the first time as a seamless whole characterized by narratives of freedom and enabled by increasingly common standardsThe other two flatteners Netscape and work flow software were the foundational innovations in information and communications technologies ICT Netscape signified the shift from a PCbased computing platform individual to an internetbased computing platform multiple introduction of email and browser that opened up access to the emerging internet It was the first broadly popular commercial browser that made the internet fully operative It also encouraged the standardization of communication protocols Work flow software includes word processing software spreadsheet software and a rapidly expanding suite of similar software programs Advances in these software packages facilitated the management of rapidly expanding production chains due to advances in transportation This has since gone on to include such software as PayPal 1998 customertocustomer C2C that has enabled ecommerce to grow as it hasThese developments led to the other seven flatteners that have driven the processes of economic globalization today Friedman quite correctly points out that these 10 flatteners did not change the world overnight It takes time for everything to fall into place He calls this process the Triple Convergence
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