Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The World is Flat

OK, I stole the title for this post from Thomas Friedman's seminal book of the same name. It's been out for a couple of years or so, but I've just started to read the copy given to me by my brother-in-law for Christmas. Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize winning reporter on the New York Times. He's one of the best writing today on international relations. His book will be a classic in college classes for generations, I'm guessing.

His premise is simple: that our world is becoming increasingly interconnected. Toys at Walmart made in China. Calling your credit card company's customer service department, and being helped by an agent in India. The architectural drawings for the most recent classroom building at my old college campus, done by an architect in Argentina...who never left home.

This instantaneous connectedness really hit me yesterday as I watched President Obama's Inauguration ceremonies LIVE on CNN (in English). We were at a gringo-owned restaurant called "Canuck's" (means "canadian") here in Mazatlan. Projected onto a big 5-foot projection screen. And LIVE. We saw the blink of every eye on the podium in real time, just like folks who were there in Washington, D.C. Amazing to me.
And the headline today in the little local Mazatlan paper yelled out in big type:
"OBAMA OFFERS NEW ERA." Likely most places in our tiny little world covered the inauguration. It's hard to remain provincial any more.