Maybe The World Isn’t Quite As Flat As We Imagined… – Insight from World 3.0 by Pankaj Ghemawat

Maybe the world isn’t quite as flat as we imagined…

World 3.0I’ve been reading in World 3.0: Global Prosperity and How to Achieve It by Pankaj Ghemawat, and I’ve watched his TED Talk: Actually, the World Isn’t Flat.

Mr.  Ghemawat describes four “Worlds” –

World 0.0 – absolutely local; clans; tribes; no nations
World 1.0 – nations; national borders
World 2.0 – absolute globalization — the “new” flat world; a borderless world…
World 3.0 – yes, there are still strong national borders; but there is also greater globalization – more “semiglobalization”

World 0.0 and World 1.0 are gone – no longer possible. World 2.0 is a myth; a fantasy. The path forward is the path of World 3.0 – the path of semiglobalization, which still honors national borders; national cultures. This book describes this World 3.0 era.

Here’s what he says. We have become dependent on many of the strong aspects of globalization. But such globalization is not total, and most interactions – personal interactions, business interactions – are closer to local than global.

I think his premise is pretty unassailable. We think that we’ve all entered this globalization juggernaut of an era. And yet, most of our personal interactions, even most of our Facebook interactions, are pretty close to home.

This may be most clear in our financial aid interactions across the global. Question – how much does the United States federal budget provide for foreign aid? (the answer is far less than what people say when asked this question – it is actually about 1%).

And, when we give to help alleviate poverty, we do so locally. From the book:

National governments spent 30,000 times as much helping each domestic poor person as each poor foreigner.

In fact, the word “distance” is key in this book. The closer the country, the greater the interaction. (We trade more with Canada than practically anywhere else).

The World is FlatYes, Tom Friedman has kind of set the debate. Again, from the book:

Tom Friedman’s globalization-related books, most notably The World Is Flat, may have sold about as many copies as all the globalization-related books written by his predecessors combined.

But, though I am a fan of The World is Flat thinking (we’ve got international readers of this blog; I’ve got “connections” on LinkedIn from across the globe), maybe the world isn’t quite as flat as we imagined… At least watch his TED Talk, and then ad this book to yore reading stack, for this different perspective on our not-quite-so-completely-flat world. Maybe it is a semiglobalization world out there after all…


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