Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The world according to Thom Friedman

It always amazes me that certain writers seem to have carte blanche when it comes to publishing. Take for instance New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Friedman has never seen an instance of globalization that he didn't jump up and begin cheerleading for. With his book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree (which could be called Globalization for Dummies), Friedman postulates inane scenarious about exploitation the world over--basically, any form of offshoring, out-sourcing and labor transfer that robs workers of living wages is good for the burgeoning global economy.

In reviewing Friedman's latest atrocity, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, writer Amitabh Pal points out numerous flaws in the book, including his woeful use of metaphors.

From Pal's review in The Progressive, "His cheesy style gets in the way of his main point: Technological forces—such as the Internet and outsourcing—have altered the nature of the workplace so fundamentally that they have changed the world. This, Friedman argues, has affected everything ranging from the way you order burgers at drive ups (the orders are often taken at some remote location) to the way cartoon movies are made (teams in Bangalore, India, are frequently doing the animation) to the way computers are fixed (UPS runs a repair facility for Toshiba)."

Friedman is an all-too-obvious example of the technocrats and lackeys who carry the water for their corporate bosses. Meanwhile, honest Americans are facing the specter of declining real wages, loss of adequate health coverage and an ever-shrinking piece of the middle class pie. Rather than journalists-in-name-only like Friedman championing their cause, he'd rather keep whistling to the bank while economic nincompoops keep buying his dumbed-down schlock.

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