Arts &
  Arts Culture Analysis  
Vol. 4, No. 4, 2005
  Current Issue  
  Back Issues  
Robert J. Lewis
  Senior Editor
Mark Goldfarb
  Contributing Editors
Bernard Dubé
Phil Nixon
Robert Rotondo
Marissa Consiglieri de Chackal
  Music Editors
Emanuel Pordes
Serge Gamache
  Arts Editor
Lydia Schrufer
Mady Bourdage
Emanuel Pordes
  Past Contributors
  Noam Chomsky
Robert Fisk
Michael Moore
Richard Rodriguez
Pico Iyer
Edward Said
Mark Kingwell
Arundhati Roy
Naomi Klein
Jean Baudrillard
Bill Moyers
Barbara Ehrenreich
Leon Wieseltier
Charles Lewis
John Lavery
David Solway
Tariq Ali
Michael Albert
Rochelle Gurstein

interviewed by


* * * * * * * * * *

In this interview, Thomas Friedman defends his latest book, The Earth is Flat, arguing that globalization is working. At the end of the interview, Dr. Vandana Shiva presents an opposing view. The interview is reprinted with permission from YaleGlobal Online, of the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization. Copyright © 2005

NAYAN CHANDA: Your new book, The World Is Flat, is the third in a series you’ve been writing about globalization. Since your first book, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, how has the world changed? What is the most important change you've seen?

Thomas FriedmanTHOMAS FRIEDMAN: Well you know the way I would locate this book, Nayan, is that I would argue that there have been three great eras of globalization. One I would call, for shorthand, Globalization 1.0. That was from about 1492 till 1800 when we saw the beginning of global arbitrage . . . Columbus discovers America, so basically that era shrunk the world from a size large to a size medium. The dynamic element in globalization in that era, was countries globalizing, for imperial reasons, for resources.

The second great era was 1800 till the year 2000 -- it just ended. And that era shrunk the world from a size medium to a size small. And that era was really spearheaded by companies globalizing for markets and for labor. Now I would argue Lexus and the Olive Tree was really about the tail end of that era

What I discovered by visiting India in 2004 was that we'd actually entered a whole new era of globalization. Lexus was wonderful for what it was, but it was out of date! It couldn't tell the whole story anymore, it couldn't explain the world, because what I really found in going to India was that we'd entered Globalization 3.0. And it's shrinking the world from size small to size tiny, and flattening the global economic playing field at the same time. And so this book builds on the shoulders of Lexus, but it's really about the next stage.

NAYAN CHANDA: Reading the book, one gets the impression that you took a dive into the innards of globalization and came out with some amazing tales of how things are happening behind the scenes that we don't see. Could you elaborate on the many things you discovered, the main forces changing the globalized world today?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: First of all, I didn't really read a bunch of other books, but instead, dove into the companies themselves that were spearheading this process. The book, in this sense, is very inductive. I looked at what companies were doing and then tried to tease out the general patterns. My primary tutors for this book, were two Indian entrepreneurs: the president of Wipro, Vivec Paul, and the CEO of Infosys, Nandan Nilekani. These are the heads of the two cutting-edge, high-tech/outsourcing companies, who could see the whole playing field. So to begin with, the book is different in that the people I tapped into were very different than from Lexus and the Olive Tree, which was really a lot about Silicon Valley, and that perspective.

Secondly, I examined some key companies that are now globalizing and are really the source for understanding globalization. Wal-Mart, UPS -- which offer an amazing view of the flattening of the global playing field and the forces that are doing it.

NAYAN CHANDA: Both these companies do not produce anything. They agglomerate or repackage others' products. So in this agglomeration or repackaging, how are they tapping the resources from this flat world. How does it happen?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Wal-Mart's great innovation is that it draws products from all over the world and gets them into stores at incredibly low prices. How do they do that? Through a global supply chain that has been designed down to the last atom of efficiency. So as you take an item off the shelf in New Haven, Connecticut, another of that item will immediately be made in Xianjin, China. So there's perfect knowledge and transparency throughout that supply chain.

In the case of UPS, they've designed a global delivery system that allows them to deliver their products with that same efficiency; they are so efficient that they literally have a phenomena at UPS called "end-of-runway services." Right before your product gets shipped, right at the end of the runway (almost literally -- it's in the hangar, it's not literally at the end of the runway, but it could be at the end of the runway), they'll attach something; such as a new lens to your camera, they'll add a special logo to your tennis shoes which they'll design it just for you, and they'll slap that on at the end of the runway. That's how efficient these systems have become. And of course, when you put them all together, you get a very flat global playing field.

NAYAN CHANDA: There have been many criticisms of the business model of Wal-Mart, because it is driven by the single motive: maximizing profits for shareholders. But despite cheaper prices to the consumer, people are complaining that this model leaves the workers out of the equation – and not just in the United States, but from wherever they procure. Is this a good model to promote?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Wal-Mart really demonstrates one of the phenomena of a flat world. I would call it "multiple-identity disorder." Now let me explain. The consumer in me loves Wal-Mart where you can purchase quality goods at really low prices. Lower income people are stretching their dollars further because of Wal-Mart and that is a big deal. The shareholder in me loves Wal-Mart because the stock has been a monster. However, the citizen in me hates Wal-Mart, because they only cover some 40 percent of their employees with health care, while Costco, their main competitor, charges a little bit more, but covers over 90 percent of their employees with health care. And when n uninsured Wal-Mart employees falls sick, what does they do? They go to the emergency ward at general hospital, and we, the tax-payers pays, end up paying for their health care. Beyond that, the neighbor in me is very disturbed when we learn about how Wal-Mart has discriminated against women, or locked employees into their stores overnight, or how they pay some of their employees. So when it comes to Wal-Mart, I've got multiple identity disorder, because the shareholder and the consumer in me feels one thing, while the citizen and the neighbor in me feel something quite different.

The best way to understand Wal-Mart is to go to Bentonville, Arkansas, which is L'il Abner country or Beverly Hillbilly-land; this is the end of the world. And this little podunk town produces the biggest company in America and the most dynamic retailer in the world. So how did they do it? Well, there's no mother of invention like necessity. And there was Sam Walton, who was an early adopter, who wanted to get low prices. Sam was the first to computerize, the first to use wireless, the first to really deploy RFID [radio frequency identification tag].

So Wal-Mart, because they were in the middle of nowhere, were able to better their competitors for two reasons: they evolved into one mean, tough company, and they adopted and adapted faster to new technology than any other retailer in the world. And for this you've got to give them credit. At the same time, you have to be worried about and troubled by some of the brutal aspects of their business practices. But at the end of the day, the Beverly Hillbillies out-innovated all their competitors.

NAYAN CHANDA: How do you resolve the dissonance between the citizen in you and the consumer in you?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: I think we have to resolve that through social activism. I support consumer activism that will say to Wal-Mart, "I love your low prices, but we're ready to spend five cents more if you'll use two of those five cents to cover more of your employees with health care." That, to me, is where citizen activism really has to come into play.

NAYAN CHANDA: One of the themes of your book is, because of this flattening of the world, it's harder to challenge from below, and the top-down structure is flattening into horizontal corporate positions. How do people who are being left behind, left out of this flattening process, challenge the hierarchy? How do they join the flat world?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: You are asking two different questions. Because if you ask, how do they challenge them, we see in our business (the news business) that thanks to the flat world, everyone can be a publisher, and an editor, and a journalist, all into one, through blogging. So you and I both could go out and start, or, or, and suddenly we'd be in business. And if we're clever and witty and interesting, we'll get a global following. And then one day, once we've got our global following, if we see Dan Rather make a mistake on CBS News, we don't have to write a letter to the editor. No, will publish their own exposé of Dan Rather. And if we've got our facts right, we can help bring Dan Rather down.

The thing you wanted to understand about the flattening of the world is that it enables the big to act really small. Wal-Mart, thanks to RFID technology, can tell you when Hispanics like to buy milk, as opposed to when other anglos prefer to buy milk as opposed to when African-Americans prefer to buy milk. Because they know their store is in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods, black neighborhoods, or white neighborhoods. They can actually trace at a micro-level, and act small, which is scary. The other side of it, though, is that the small can act really big in the flat world., we can go out and be publishers, and if we get a following, man, we can act really big.

NAYAN CHANDA: Your book includes a nice story about JetBlue airlines and their agents, who are housewives in Salt Lake City, who could join the flat world because they have skills and infrastructure. What role do you think private companies, governments, or foreign aid has to play in creating this?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: Let's start with what is the mix of assets you need to thrive in a flat world? Money, jobs, and opportunity in the flat world will go to the countries with the best infrastructure, the best education system that produces the most educated work force, the most investor-friendly laws, and the best environment. You put those four things together: quality of environment that attracts knowledgeable people, investment laws that encourage entrepreneurship, education, and infrastructure. So that's really where -- in a flat world -- the money is going to go.

I don't believe much in foreign aid because at the end of the day that's not how countries grow and get rich. But to the extent that you are going to give foreign aid, it should be to inspire, encourage, and help develop one of those four pillars for whatever developing country you're dealing with. But I do believe in trade, not aid. I think that axiom still applies, even more so in a flat world.

NAYAN CHANDA: Why are you leaving Africa behind in your discussion of the flat world?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: I have a chapter in the book called The Un-Flat World, in which I talk about the countries that are still the majority that still aren't flat. The job of the analyst is to identify a trend, just when it reaches the tipping point, but before anyone else sees it. And that's what I've aspired to do in this book. And the trend is this flattening process, which I think has reached this tipping point, as evidenced by the degree that China and India – we're talking about 1/3 of the planet, basically – have been able to use and exploit this platform.

But I fully recognize that although it's reached the tipping point, there are still a lot of people who are not part of it. Africa is not part of it because it hasn't learned to globalize. It doesn't have those four things: the quality infrastructure, the quality education, the quality environment, and the quality investment laws. That's why it's not participating. Our job, as citizens of the planet, let alone as citizens of the wealthiest country in the world, is to help create the tools and conditions for places like Africa to be part of it.

NAYAN CHANDA: I’m thinking of the period when the telegraph was invented. It was limited only to England and the United States . . .
THOMAS FRIEDMAN: It was a turning point. And Africa not only has the telegraph, it skipped over into wireless! It skipped a whole generation. And even in Africa, because the world is flat, you will get pockets where you have the infrastructure, education, environment, and right laws. A friend of my wife's whose son who worked there is quoted, "Everyone in Mali uses Linux." (Linux is a free operating system competing with Microsoft.)

Now not everyone in Mali uses Linux. But just the fact that her son was working there, and using Linux, says something. The world may be flatter than people think. I actually want to go to Timbuktu to see just how flat the world is, as seen from Timbuktu.

NAYAN CHANDA: In your book you dwell on the role of the individual, who is either part of the flat world or outside it, and not necessarily confined to one geographical area. In America, there are many people who are not a part of the flat world and yet they have political power and influence. How can these people's influence be not destructive?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: This is a problem. The flat world is a friend of Infosys and of Al-Qaeda. It's a friend of IBM and of Islamic jihad. because these networks go both ways. And one thing we know about the bad guys, criminals and terrorists are very early adopters. The person who understands supply chains almost as well as Sam Walton, is Osama Bin Laden. We have an issue there with the most frustrated and dangerous elements of the world using this flat planet in order to advance their goals, to recruit over the internet, to inspire over the internet, and to transfer orders and raise money over the internet. So they're using the flat world as much as anybody else.

Our job is to try to soak up those tools, so that we can use these collaborative tools in a more constructive way. But I have no doubt the flat world is a friend of both Infosys and Al-Qaeda.

NAYAN CHANDA: Another element which is interesting compared to Lexus and the Olive Tree, is that olive trees have not disappeared; they still have strong roots. How do nationalism and a flat world intersect?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: That's a good question. I tried to develop that idea beyond Lexus when I wrote that no two countries would fight a war so long as they both had McDonald's. I was trying to give an example of how, when a country gets a middle class big enough to sustain a McDonald's network, they it wants want to focus on economic development. That is a sort of tipping point, rather than fighting wars.

In Flat World I take that theory one step further into what I call the Dell Theory -- as in Dell Computers. The Dell Theory says that no two countries that are part of the same global supply chain will ever fight a war as long as they're each still part of that supply chain. The big test case is China and Taiwan. Both are suppliers of the main parts of computers. If they go to war, don't order a computer this month because you'll have a real problem.

NAYAN CHANDA: Dell computers are built with parts from . . .

F THOMAS FRIEDMAN: From about 400 different parts, but there's probably 30-40 key parts. And what Dell actually did was trace all the key parts in my laptop that I wrote this book with. And what you see when you look at the supply chain is that it runs along coastal China, through Taiwan, on through Japan, up through Malaysia, parts of the Philippines, parts of Thailand.

Do I think this guarantees that there won't be a war? No, but if you do go to war and you're part of the supply-chain, you’ll end up paying 10 times more than you hoped to pay because once you lose your spot in the supply chain, you mat never get it back. These supply chains are the new restraints, but they’re not shackles; people will still do crazy things.

NAYAN CHANDA: From the United States perspective, it seems that the olive tree is simply turning away, is not wanting to confront the issue of the flat world. How do you explain that, and what can one do about it?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: I think there are four factors: First, there's 9/11, which completely distracted everyone --including myself -- from this. Next, there's the dot-com bust. A lot of very silly people equated globalization with the dot-com boom. And so when the bust came along, all these people said that globalization was over because the boom was over. Well, actually a flat world drove globalization to a whole new stratosphere. The third factor is Enron. Enron made all CEOs guilty until proven innocent. As a result, people weren't interacting with them. Even this administration, slavishly conservative and pro-Republican, didn't want to be seen with too many CEOs.

Fourth, I would argue that the anti-globalization movement and the people who have been its intellectual leaders have been kind of dining out on the carcass of Globalization 2.0. They're all still talking about the IMF and the World Bank and conditionality, as if globalization is all about what the IMF and World Bank impose and force on the developing world. Well when the world is flat, there's a lot more globalization that's about pull down these opportunities.

Look at what happened in your native country (India) re. your intellectual property law, that we imposed all this on India from the WTO. Well there's no question that we did want India to have intellectual property protection to protect our products. But it turned out that a lot of Indians wanted it as well because they become innovators themselves. They are now plug-and-playing in this world and they want the intellectual property protections for their innovations.

So the result of these four things, the academic community has not caught up with this debate. You really have to role up your sleeves and do research and rethink the whole subject. That takes a lot of work. The press core is just lazy and, with the exception of publications like YaleGlobal, really hasn't taken a look at what's going on. And the public has been distracted, confused, and in many ways made stupid by politicians who don't want to think about this either. So for all these reasons, right when we've reach this incredible inflection point -- the world is getting flat, a development which I believe is the equivalent of Gutenberg and the printing press – but nobody is talking about it.

NAYAN CHANDA: So do you think the politicians will wake up someday?

THOMAS FRIEDMAN: It’ll happen, but it will take a crisis of some sort. And there already is a crisis. We're not producing in this country, there are not enough young people going into science and technology and engineering, the fields that are going to be essential for entrepreneurship and innovation in the 21st Century. It’s a quiet crisis, as Shirley Ann Jackson from the Rensselaer Polytechnical Institute says. If we don't do something about it, in 10 to 15 years from now this quiet crisis will be a very big crisis. And that's why my friend Paul Romer at Stanford says -- and I totally agree with him – that a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. And right now we're wasting this crisis.



A Response to Thomas Friedman's Flat Earth Hypothesis

The project of corporate Globalization is a project for polarizing and dividing people -- along axis of class and economic inequality, axis of religion and culture, axis of gender, axis of geographies and regions. Never before in human history has the gap between those who labor and those who accumulate wealth without labor been greater. Never before has hate between cultures been so global. Never before has there been a global convergence of three violent trends: the violence of primitive accumulation for wealth creation, the violence of ‘culture wars,’ and the violence of militarized warfare.

Yet Thomas Friedman, describes this deeply divided world created by Globalization and its multiple offspring's of insecurity and polarization as a ‘flat’ world. In his book The World is Flat Friedman tries desperately to argue that Globalization is a leveller of inequalities in societies. But when you only look at the worldwide Web of information technology, and refuse to look at the web of life, the food web, the web of community, the web of local economies and local cultures which Globalization is destroying, it is easy to make false and fallacious arguments that the world is flat.

When you look at the world perched on heights of arrogant, blind power, separated and disconnected from those who have lost their livelihoods, lifestyles, and lives -- farmers and workers everywhere -- it is easy to be blind both to the valleys of poverty and the mountains of affluence. Flat vision is a disease. But Friedman would like us to see his diseased, perverse flat view of globalizations polarizations as a revolution that aims to reverse the revolutions that allowed us to see that the world is round and the earth goes round the sun, not the other way around.

Friedman has reduced the world to the friends he visits: the CEOs he knows and the golf courses he plays at. From this microcosm of privilege and exclusion, he shuts out both the beauty of diversity and the brutality of exploitation and inequality, he shuts out the social and ecological externalities of economic globalization and free trade, he shuts out the walls that globalization is building -- walls of insecurity and hatred and fear -- walls of ‘intellectual property,’ walls of privatization.

He focuses only on laws, regulations and policies which were the protections of the weak and the vulnerable, on barriers necessary as boundary conditions for the exercise of freedom and democracy, rights and justice, peace and security, sustainability and sharing of the earth's precious and vital resources. And he sees the dismantling of these ecological and social protections for deregulated commerce as a ‘flattening.’

But this flattening is like the flattening of cities with bombs, the flattening of Asia's coasts by the tsunami, the flattening of forests and tribal homelands to build dams and mine minerals. Friedman's conceptualization of the world as flat is accurate only as a description of the social and ecological destruction caused by deregulated commerce or ‘free-trade.’ On every other count it is inaccurate and false.

Take Friedman's description of the waves of globalization. According to him, globalization 1.0, which lasted from 1492 when Columbus set sail to 1800, shrank the world from a size large to a size medium, with countries and governments breaking down walls and knitting the world together. Globalization 2.0, which lasted from 1800 to 2000, which shrank the world from a size medium to a size small, was driven by multinational companies. Globalization 3.0 started in 2000, is shrinking the size small to size tiny, and it is being driven by individuals.

This is a totally false view of history. From one perspective in the south, the three waves of globalization have been based on the use of force and greed, and have resulted in dispossession and displacement. For native Americans, globalization 1.0 started from 1492 and has still not ended.

For us in India the first wave of globalization was driven by the first global corporation, the East India Company which was working closely with the British team, and did not end till 1947 when we got Independence. We view the current phase as a decolonisation, with a similar partnership between multinational corporations and powerful governments. It is corporate led, not people led. And the current phase did not begin in 2000 as Friedman would have us believe. It began in the 1980s with the structural adjustment programmes of World Bank and IMF imposing trade liberalization and privatization, which was accelerated in 1995 with the establishment of World Trade Organization at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement of Trade and Tariffs.

Friedman's false flat earth history then enables him to take two big leaps where undemocratic ‘free trade’ treaties are reduced to achievements of information technology and corporate globalization, and corporate control is presented as the collaboration and competition between individuals. The WTO, World Bank and IMF disappear, and the multinational corporations disappear. Globalization is then about technological inevitability and individual innovativeness, not a project of powerful corporations aided by powerful institutions and powerful governments.

Neither e-commerce nor walmartization of the economy could take place without the dismantling of trade protections, workers protections, environmental protections. Low wages, subsidies, externalization of costs make Wal-Mart cheap, not its information technology based supply chain management.

In 1988, I was in Berlin before the Berlin wall fell. We were part of the biggest ever mobilization against the World Bank. Addressing a rally of nearly 100,000 people at the Berlin wall I had said that the Berlin wall should be dismantled as should the wall between rich and poor the World Bank creates by locking the Third world into debt, privatizing our resources, and transforming our economies into markets for multinational corporations. I spoke about how the alliance between the World Bank and global corporations was establishing a centrally controlled, authoritarian rule like communism in its control, but different in the objective of profits as the only end of power. As movements we sought and fought for bringing down all walls of power and inequality.

Friedman's flat vision makes him blind to the emergence of corporate rule through the rules of corporate globalization as the establishment of authoritarian rule and centrally controlled economies. He presents the collapse of the Berlin wall as having "tipped the balance of power across the world toward those advocating democratic, consensual, free-market-oriented governance, and away from those advocating authoritarian rule with centrally planned economies."

Citizens' movements fighting globalization advocate democratic, consensual governance and fight W.T.O, the World Bank and global corporations precisely because they are undemocratic and dictatorial. The W.T.O agreement on Agriculture was drafted by Amstutz, a Cargill official, who led the U.S negotiations on agriculture during the Urguay Round and is now in-charge of Food and Agriculture in the Iraqi Constitution. This is a centrally planned authoritarian rule over food and farming.

That is why the democratic and consensual response of citizens' movements and Third world governments in Cancun led to the collapse of the W.T.O. It was the so called ‘flatteners’ who were erecting walls -- the barricades at which the Korean farmer Lee took his life -- the walls that the U.S Trade Representative Robert Zoellick tried to create between ‘can do’ and ‘can't do’ countries. What Zoellick and Friedman fail to see is that what they call ‘can't do’ is the ‘can do’ for the defense of farmers in the face of dumping and unfair trade. Their world is shaped by and focussed in Cargill -- our world is shaped by and focussed on 300 million species and 6 billion people.

The biggest wall created by W.T.O is the wall of the trade related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement. (TRIPS). This too is part of a centrally planned authoritarian rule. As Monsanto admitted, in drafting the agreement, the corporations organized as the Intellectual Property Committee were the "patients, diagnosticians and physicians all in one." Instead of telling the story of TRIPS -- how corporate and WTO led globalization is forcing India to dismantle its democratically designed patent laws, creating monopolies on seeds and medicines, pushing farmers to suicide and denying victims of AIDS, cancer, TB, and malaria access to life saving drugs -- Friedman engages in another dishonest step to create a flat world.

He presents the open source Software Movement initiated by Richard Stallman, as a flattening trend of corporate globalization when Stallman is a leading critic of intellectual property and corporate monopolies, and a fighter against the walls corporations are creating to prevent farmers from saving seeds, researchers from doing research, and software developers from creating new software. By presenting ‘open sourcing’ in the same category as ‘outsourcing’ and off shore production, Friedman hides corporate greed, corporate monopolies and corporate power, and presents corporate globalization as human creativity and freedom.

This is deliberate dishonesty, not just result of flat vision. That is why in his stories from India he does not mentioin Dr. Hamid of CIPLA who provided AIDS medicine to Africa for $200 when U.S. corporations wanted to sell the same for $20,000 and who has called W.T.O's patent laws ‘genocidal.’ And in spite of Friedman's research team having fixed an appointment with me to fly down to Bangalore to talk about farmers' suicides for a documentary, Friedman cancelled the appointment at the last minute.

Friedman presents a 0.1% picture and hides 99.9%. That is why he talks of 550 million Indian youth overtaking Americans in a flat world when the entire information Technology/outsourcing sector in India employs only a million out of a 1.2 billion people. Food and farming, textiles and clothing, health and education are nowhere in Friedman's considerations, as are Monsanto's seed monopolies and the suicides of thousands of wars. In the eclipsed 99.9% are the 25 million women who disappeared in high growth areas of India because a commodified world has rendered women a dispensable sex. In the hidden 99.9% economy are thousands of tribal children in Orissa, Maharashtra, Rajasthan who died of hunger because the public distribution system for food has been dismantled to create markets for agribusiness. The world of the 99.9% has grown poorer because of the economic globalization.

It is their rights we fight for. We work to build alternatives for a just, sustainable, peaceful world -- a shared and common world -- in which our common humanity and universal responsibility links us in earth democracy. The walls of exclusion and discrimination that globalization has strengthened are made by men in power. Like the Berlin wall, they too must dissolve, because authoritarian rule is inconsistent with free societies, and corporate globalization is a form of authoritarianism and dictatorship which is robbing us of our fundamental freedoms and our full human potentials.

The world we are reclaiming and rejuvenating is not flat. It is diverse democratic and decentralized, it is sustainable and secure for all, based on cooperation and sharing of the earth's resources and our skills and creativity. The freedom we seek is freedom for all, not freedom for a few. Free-trade is about corporate freedom and citizen disenfranchisement.

What Friedman is presenting as a new ‘flatnes’ is in fact a new caste system, a new Brahminism, locked in hierarchies of exclusion. In Friedman's caste system, the Shudras are all whose livelihoods are being robbed to expand the markets and increase the profits of global corporations. They are shut out by invisible social and economic walls created by globalization while it dismantles walls for protection of people’s livelihoods and jobs.

The Indians being drawn into the U.S economy through outsourcing are not the new Brahmins. They must be satisfied with one-fifth to one-eighth of the salaries of their U.S counterparts, and what is outsourced is ‘grunt work,’ ‘number crunching,’ standardized, mechanical operations. Outsourcing is Taylorism of the information age. The control is in the hands of the corporations in U.S. They are the Brahmins who monopolize knowledge through intellectual property. Outsourcing and off-shoring is like the ‘putting out’ work in the industrial revolution. These are old tools for maintaining exploitative hierarchies -- not new flat earth linkages between equals, equal in creativity and equal in rights.

Free trade freedom is flat earth freedom. Earth democracy is full earth freedom and round earth freedom -- freedom for all beings to live their lives within the abundant, renewable but limited bounds of the earth. We do not inhabit a world without limits where unbounded corporate greed can be unleashed and allowed to destroy the earth and rob people of their security, their livelihoods, their resources. Full earth freedom is born in free societies, shaped by free people recognizing the freedom of all. Diversity is an expression of full earth freedom. ‘Flatness’ is a symptom of the absence of real freedom. Facism seeks flatness.

Dr. Vandana Shiva's article is reprinted with the permission of ZNET.

E-Tango: Web Design and lowest rates for web hosting
Care + Net Computer Services
Couleur JAZZ 91.9
Available Ad Space
MCC Marchande d'Art at:
Armand Vaillancourt: sculptor
Valid HTML 4.01!
Privacy Statement Contact Info
Copyright 2002 Robert J. Lewis