And that someone is Thomas Friedman, whose article It’s a Flat World, After All featured in the New York Times. An article in which he argues that the global playing field is being levelled and emerging countries are able to compete equally for global knowledge work. However, this essay begs to differ and it will put forth a line of reasoning based on income per capita, Internet prevalence, trade barriers and competitiveness, in order to build a cogent case.
The Western society has altered its linchpin of economic propulsion from agriculture and later heavy industry to our present service economy, which is heavily reliant on knowledge workers. Thus, one might argue that knowledge work is our main contributor of gross national income (GNI), thereby reasoning that our GNI would plummet if a significant amount of the knowledge work were outsourced. And since GNI per capita is an “expression for a country’s level of economic development as well as its degree of modernization and progress in health, education and welfare”, a flat world would encompass an equal level of these benefits across nations. However, the figures seem to espouse the contrary; that the Western society is miles ahead of most Asian countries and are therefore not loosing knowledge work at a scale fast enough to level out the playing field. Furthermore, less quantifiable measures such as the abovementioned are also more ubiquitous and prolific in the Western world. So even though emerging countries are closing the gap, it will not be up to speed in a foreseeable future.
While it is arguable whether GDP and/or GNI are/is a valid gauge for a society’s general condition, economic output is a still a sound measure of a country’s job creation and retention ability.
Mr Friedman accentuates the birth of the Internet as one of the main events that fuels Globalization 3.0, in that it is “empowering individuals” of “every colour of the human rainbow” to take part. If the Internet is indeed the epitome of job creation in the modern world, the credo most therefore be that countries with the highest percentage of Internet users will net the biggest shares of the cake. The world economic forum publishes a yearly issue dubbed The Global Competitiveness Report, in which it ranks countries based on a litany of factors. One of these factors is the percentage of Internet users; if the Internet is precipitating a flatter world due to its Robin Hood status of redistributing jobs, countries with a higher percentage of Internet users would therefore stand a better chance in the arms race for jobs. Alas for Mr Friedman, Western countries heavily dominate the summit of the list, whereas nations like China and India are dropping astern with 42 % and 13 % respectively.
Though one might argue that 42 % of the Chinese population is a larger absolute figure than 81 % of the American population, scale is not an adequate measure since that would render small countries out of the running; which is far from the case.
The article also calls the attention to the fall of the Berlin wall that ensued a proliferation of international trade and dismantling of trade barriers. This is purportedly a disadvantage because “many other people can now compete and collaborate with us much more directly”. In which case the level of competitiveness ought to be a solid measure of future success. Referring back to the aforementioned report by the World Economic Forum, one can also draw a conclusion from the overall ranking of competitiveness. Again, the figures paint a similar picture with a predominant presence of Western countries in the top rankings.
One might gainsay this argument by emphasising that the Western world has experienced a recent increase in unemployment rate whilst the majority of the Asian countries have experienced flourishing economic prosperity; a solid indicator that the West is falling behind. However, one cannot simply argue that correlation implies causation, since the Western world bore the brunt of the financial crisis little implies its downturn was caused by an allegedly flattening world.
There is little doubt that globalization has changed the world and will continue to do so as cultures intertwine and trade becomes globally interdependent. But it does not indicate that the world will become a place of equal opportunity where meritocracy will take its course; at least not in the sense that performance and skills are the sole denominator of one’s success and prosperity. Solid figures of output such as GNI per capita support this sentiment and global competitiveness is still in our favour. Also, the Internet is not disrupting the global job distribution, not only due to its hampered omnipresence in the emerging countries, but also because of people’s penchant for networking locally.
Hence, the line of reasoning underpins the case that phi is still the best measure of the ratio of the world’s circumference to its diameter.
 Inventing the flat earth
 ”Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it”
 Global Marketing P. 222
 It’s a Flat World, After All P. 2 Ll.37
 It’s a Flat World, After All P. 2 Ll.41
 The Global Competitiveness Report P. 513
 It’s a Flat World, After All P. 7 Ll.14
 The Global Competitiveness Report P. 15