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Why go through all the trouble of writing a second expanded and updated version of The World Is Flat only a year after the first expanded version was published and a mere two years after the original? I can offer a very brief answer: because I could and because I had to. Precisely because of the powerful technological forces detailed in this book, the publishing industry has sped up and it is now possible to revamp a whole book relatively easily.That is what I mean when I say I could. The reason I must do it is fourfold. First, the forces flattening the world didn’t stop when the first edition of this book was published in April 2005, and I wanted to keep tracking them and weaving them into my overall thesis. Second, I wanted to answer one of the questions I was asked most often by parents while I was traveling around the country to speak about the book: “Okay, Mr. Friedman, thank you for telling us that the world is flat—now what do I tell my kids? In the 2. 0 edition, I added a lot more material on the subject of what is the “right” education to access the new middle-class jobs, and I have added still more in this 3. 0 edition. Third, I found many of the comments from readers and reviewers both thoughtful and useful, and I wanted to absorb some of the best of them into the book. And finally, in this 3. 0 edition, I have added two new chapters to deal with themes related to the flat world that were not apparent to me before but now seem extremely important.One deals with how to be a political activist and social entrepreneur in a flat world. The other deals with a more troubling phenomenon—how we manage our reputations in a world where we are all becoming publishers and therefore all becoming public figures. This book has triggered a cottage industry of articles with variations on the title “The World Is Not Flat. ” I have two reactions to these: (1) No kidding. 2) Whenever you opt for a big metaphor like “The World Is Flat,” you trade a certain degree of academic precision for a much larger degree of explanatory power. Of course the world is not flat. But it isn’t round anymore, either. I have found that using the simple notion of flatness to describe how more people can plug, play, compete, connect, and collaborate with more equal power than ever before—which is what is happening in the world—really helps people who are trying to understand the essential impact of all the technological changes coming together today.Not only do I make no apologies for it, I think that with every passing year, it becomes more true and more useful in explaining in a simple way what is happening. My use of the word “flat” doesn’t mean equal (as in “equal incomes”) and never did. It means equalizing, because the flattening forces are empowering more and more individuals today to reach farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before, and that is equalizing power—and equalizing opportunity, by giving so many more people the tools and ability to connect, compete, and collaborate.In my view, this flattening of the playing field is the most important thing happening in the world today, and those who get caught up in measuring globalization purely by trade statistics—or as a purely economic phenomenon instead of one that affects everything from individual empowerment to culture to how hierarchical institutions operate—are missing the impact of this change. At some point I will stop writing this book. But for now, I am just enjoying the chance to keep sharing what I am learning—and am thankful that the flattening of the world makes doing so easier than ever.Thomas L. Friedman Washington, D. C. April 2007 Chapter 13: If It’s Not Happening, It’s Because You’re Not Doing It “So I came into the office this morning and I turned on my computer and suddenly found five thousand e-mails waiting for me, all with the same basic complaint, all stirred up by the same organization that I’d never heard of before—some little group with a Web site in Canada run by two people, a dog, and $10,000. So I turned to my secretary and asked ‘Who are these people? Where did they come from? ’ She had no clue. Never heard of them, boss,’ she said to me. ‘Let me check with my kids. ’ ‘Oh, that’s great—check with your kids,’ I thought. ‘My secretary’s kids are now my strategic advisors! ’ So I called our corporate PR folks and asked, ‘Somebody tell me, what do I have to do to make these people go away? ’” I’ve just made up this story, but not from whole cloth. I heard many different variations on this theme from CEOs while working on the updated version of the book. It is all about the moment when the CEO had his or her first encounter with “these people. ” These people” are this generation’s social activists and social entrepreneurs, who have been superempowered by the flattening of the world. The Internet today gives even the smallest groups the ability to upload and globalize their activism—by building global coalitions that expose or embarrass the biggest multinationals. If these guys or gals use the Internet and the flat world to mount a campaign that is bogus or dishonest, it won’t have any lasting impact. But if it has merit, they can get the biggest multinational to change its behavior, or beg for mercy, overnight.And if and when companies do the right things, the praise they win from the activist community can have real value to them. I realized just how much social entrepreneurs can affect business decisions when I picked up the New York Times (March 8, 2007) and read that NGO Environmental Defense had just hired the boutique Wall Street firm Perella Weinberg Partners to advise it on a megadeal it had become involved in negotiating. The story started in 2006 when the giant Texas power company, TXU Corp. announced plans to build eleven new coal-fired, CO2- belching power plants, raising the ire of environmentalists worried about climate change. Fred Krupp, the president of Environmental Defense, which has an office in Texas, wrote C. John Wilder the CEO of TXU, and asked for a meeting, but he was brushed off. TXU made clear that it was on a fast track to build its plants and had the governor of Texas on its side. Message to environmentalists: GET LOST. Talk about not knowing what world you’re living in. So Environmental Defense turned to the Web and created www. StopTXU. om, a site that put out regular electronic newsletters on the TXU plans and built a national constituency opposed to the deal. “TXU’s plans to build eleven power plants made it a Goliath, given the scale of carbon emissions that would have resulted—seventy-eight million tons of CO2 a year—and the scale of its disdain for the public interest,” said Krupp. “We had to establish just how far out of the mainstream TXU was in terms of carbon emissions and keep them in a very public bull’s-eye, which we did via a dedicated Web site and a regular e-newsletter to Texas media, political players, opinion leaders, and activists. All of those efforts paid off when the big buyout firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Texas Pacific Group teamed up to offer $45 billion to buy TXU in early 2007. It was going to be the largest leveraged buyout in history, but there was a catch: “The buyers did not want to take over a company enmeshed in a war with environmentalists,” said Krupp, “so they came to us and said, ‘We only want to go forward if you and NRDC [Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group] will praise what we are trying to do here. ” Environmental Defense and NRDC were ready to engage, but only if the deal would make the new company more climate friendly. “The negotiations involved talks over ten days,” said Krupp, “and the key session was compressed into seventeen hours in the Mandarin Oriental hotel in San Francisco—from eight a. m. to one a. m. the next morning. ” Eventually, the buyout group agreed to cut the number of new TXU coal plants from eleven to three, to support a federal cap on carbon emissions, and to commit TXU to plowing $400 million into energy-efficiency programs and doubling its purchase of wind power.In return, the environmentalists blessed the deal, but Krupp also hired Perella Weinberg to help negotiate the fine print as the contracts closed. That is a pretty good day’s work for people who had no money on the table. What are the lessons? Krupp answered with a question: “What is the message when the largest buyout in history is made contingent [by the buyers] on winning praise for its greenhouse-gas plan? It tells us that the markets are ahead of the politicians. The world has changed and these guys see it. ” TXU had not.Talking to itself in Texas, it didn’t understand that it could not manage its reputation simply by putting out press releases, because, thanks to the Internet, ordinary people could shape TXU’s image on a global basis through the Web—for almost no money. “The reputations of companies are going to be less determined by the quality of their PR people and more by their actual actions, and that empowers more of an honest debate on the merits,” said Krupp. “Going online, we shifted this from a local debate over generating electricity to a national debate over capping and reducing carbon emissions.So what TXU hoped would be just a local skirmish instead was watched on computer screens in every global market. ” The TXU example shows that truth plus passion plus the Internet, said Krupp, “can create an irresistible tide for change. ” Referring to these sudden outbreaks of citizen activism, the Washington lobbyist of a major global biochemical company put it to me this way: “We were operating under the old rules and then the old rules changed, but nobody put up a sign. The old paradigm, she explained, was simple: Your company develops a product, government approves the product, people buy the product, and everyone is happy. New paradigm: You develop the product, you test the product, government approves the product, farmers buy the product, farmers use the product, consumers say, “Hey, wait a second, we don’t like this product! ” and suddenly there is a vast Internet campaign against bioengineering directed at your company, with people all over the world demanding: “Who are you to play with my food? Let me introduce the people who changed the rules overnight. They come in many forms. Some are business school grads with the soul of Peace Corps volunteers, some are political activists with a knack for using the Web to raise money or raise an army, some are environmentalists who hope to save the planet by tutoring the biggest corporations on how to increase their profits by getting green, and some are philanthropists who see in the proliferation of low-cost communication devices a whole new tool kit to help the poor help themselves.What they all have in common, though, is a burning desire to make an impact and a firm belief that the flattening of the world makes being an activist-entrepreneur easier and cheaper than ever before. In fact, this kind of activism is now so easy, so cheap, so readily available to even the smallest player that I would throw down this gauntlet to today’s young generation: If it’s not happening, it’s because you’re not doing it. You want to raise money for African poverty relief, for Darfur refugees, or to save the elephants of Sri Lanka?The Web provides you a global platform and a global audience. You want to highlight environmental degradation in the Amazon or potholes in your own neighborhood? You can post the pictures on www. flickr. com or upload your own documentary on YouTube or record your own podcast. You can blog about injustice and you can blog to raise money for your favorite candidate. If your arguments or video or photos or voice are compelling, you’ll eventually find an audience or it will find you. But you can also be effective without the Web.If you have an entrepreneurial bent, a passport, a little cash, and a lot of gumption, you can go off and start a small business just about anywhere—and create better jobs for people who are making only $1 a day rather than just protesting on their behalf at the next World Bank meeting. Because the flattening of the world extends free markets farther into different corners of the world, now social entrepreneurs can leverage those markets to deliver jobs, services, and profits for all kinds of people—not just for the rich but also for the poor and the aspiring middle class.Here’s a quick survey of some of the types of social entrepreneurship and activism being enabled by the flattening of the world. Possibly the best-known social entrepreneur-activist in the world today is Muhammad Yunus, a Bangladeshi who was awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize. In 1976, Yunus founded the Grameen Bank, which granted small loans, without collateral, to the very poorest members of his society. In the quarter century that followed, by proving that the poor could make good use of this money and pay back the loans, he helped to inspire a whole new banking industry—“microfinance. When I interviewed Yunus in the fall of 2005, the thing that struck me most about him was his unbounded energy and obvious inner drive. His work had already gained much international attention, and he was about to win a Nobel Prize, but all he wanted to do was grab me by the lapels to tell me about his current project and solicit ideas for his next one. I have never met a man who had more respect for the entrepreneurial talents of the poor and a better grasp of how much self-respect comes from starting a business of your own, no matter how small.For a poor person, Yunus explained to me, “microcredit is the key to unlocking yourself, and once you do that you see yourself differently. Instead of always petitioning, you go through self-discovery. You explore your own limitless potential. ” That was why he had recently begun a program to give small loans, as small as the equivalent of $10, to beggars—yes, beggars! Yunus said his bank has employees who approach beggars on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh, and asks them, “‘As you go from house to house, would you like to carry some sweets and toys, so you do both begging and selling—and whichever works out best, you go with that. And what a change that makes! Because then you [as a beggar] start to think, ‘What will sell well? Oh, you like this? I can bring you more tomorrow. ’ We have more than eighty thousand beggars in that program and many already quit begging, because they’re already successful sellers. Many have become part-time beggars and full-time salespeople. ” At Grameen Bank, 97 percent of the borrowers are women, and the payback rate is 98 percent. As Yunus said to me, “Not having collateral is one thing, but not being creditworthy is another. The poor are very creditworthy when given the chance. Who knew—until Yunus tried? He was teaching “elegant theories” of economics at Chittagong University in 1976 but wanted to find a way to help the poor and starving people he saw all around him on campus. “I saw the moneylenders squeezing the last drop of blood from people before they went down,” he said, referring to the way scoundrels in the developing world prey on the poor by lending them money at exorbitant rates and then breaking their bones if they don’t pay it back.So, on a hunch, he lent $27 to a group of poor local craftsmen and then, to leverage that amount, offered himself as guarantor of a larger loan they took from a traditional bank. The loan worked out well, and that little spark grew into the Grameen Bank Project. “Yunus’ innovation has broad appeal,” BusinessWeek reported in its December 26, 2005, issue. “In 1997 only about 7. 6 million families had been served by microcredit worldwide, according to the 2005 State of the Microcredit Summit Campaign Report. As of Dec. 1, 2004, some 3,200 microcredit institutions reported reaching more than 92 million clients, according to the report. Almost 73% of them were living in dire poverty at the time of their first loan…‘If banks made large loans, he made small loans. If banks required paperwork, his loans were for the illiterate. Whatever banks did, he did the opposite,’ marvels Sam Daley-Harris, director of the Microcredit Summit Campaign. ” I see social entrepreneurs like Yunus popping up everywhere, and not all of them are focused on just the bottom rung of society.As important as it is to help make poor people into small business people, it is just as important to make small business people in a developing country into big business people who can employ lots of their neighbors. As the saying goes: Feed a person a fish and you have fed that person only for a day. Teach a person to fish and you have fed that person for a lifetime. But I would add: Help that person grow a fishing business and you will have fed not only his family but also half the village.Consider, for instance, Endeavor, founded in 1997 by Linda Rottenberg and Peter Kellner, who are what I would call “mentor capitalists. ” Endeavor (www. endeavor. org) was formed for the purpose of promoting entrepreneurship in emerging markets, beginning in Latin America. Its basic model is to link up small and midsize businesses with seasoned entrepreneurs so that the little guys and gals can get the advice and contacts they need to grow their companies into bigger businesses that can employ more people—the best antipoverty program of all.This form of social entrepreneurship is critically important but is not always appreciated. As The Wall Street Journal reported in a story about Endeavor (April 15, 2003), “Latin America has long been viewed as a wasteland of business start-ups, with neither the financing nor the social mobility needed to nourish entrepreneurial dreams…Many development agencies in the region were focused on microcredits…Endeavor’s chosen beneficiaries—people with small to midsize businesses hoping to strike it rich—didn’t always elicit sympathy from donors.Ms. Rottenberg remembers one foundation rejecting her on the grounds that she was ‘just helping the middle class. ’” But it is precisely these sorts of middle-class start-ups and small businesses that create the most jobs and the greatest innovation in a society. As Rottenberg, Endeavor’s cofounder and CEO, explained to me in an e-mail, “The important work done by Grameen, Accion, BancoSol and other terrific micro-finance institutions has drawn attention to the need for small-scale loans to assist women and men at the bottom of the pyramid.But what we’ve found consistently in emerging markets is a gap: there is little support for entrepreneurs beyond the micro-credit stage. At the other extreme, access to world-class consulting and investment is limited to companies with $50 million to $100 million in revenues. ” By contrast, she explained, “Endeavor enters the picture when entrepreneurs have a proven business model that’s yielded $500,000 to $20 million in revenues—with significant future growth potential.We occasionally take on pure start-ups, but we’ve found that the true inflection point comes after the entrepreneur has taken the company to a certain point but needs mentoring and strategic assistance to go to scale. Most companies in emerging markets fail at this inflection point. ” Endeavor’s results are impressive: Rottenberg says that 96 percent of the entrepreneurs supported by the program are still operating and generating sustainable, well-paying jobs—an average of 214 jobs per Endeavor company at ten times the minimum wage, and with significantly better benefits, too. For us, the leverage in supporting these ‘high-impact’ entrepreneurs comes not only through the direct jobs but also through a multiplier effect: one high-impact entrepreneur creates hundreds of jobs, inspires thousands of future entrepreneurs, and the cycle continues. This point rarely enters the debate on philanthropy or even economic development. “A decade ago when Endeavor was starting, there were neither Spanish nor Portuguese words for entrepreneur(ship).In small part due to our efforts and in larger part due to the global economy, the words ‘emprendedor/empreendedor’ and emprendedorismo/empreendedorismo’ have entered into the lexicon. ” There is huge untapped potential in this form of social entrepreneurship. Too often, we have antipoverty debates but not proentrepreneurship debates. The inspirational power of a local business success story is incalculable: There is no greater motivator for the poor than looking at one of their own who makes it big and saying: “If she can do it, I can do it.   Yet another form of social entrepreneurship is the if-I-build-it-they-will-benefit model. My favorite example is Jeremy Hockenstein, a young man who first followed a time-honored path of studying at Harvard and going to work for the McKinsey & Company consulting firm, but then, with a colleague from McKinsey, veered totally off course and started a not-for-profit firm that does outsourced data entry for American-based companies in one of the least hospitable business environments in the world—post–Pol Pot Cambodia.Only in a flat world! Here’s the story: In February 2001, Hockenstein and some colleagues from McKinsey decided to go to Phnom Penh, half on vacation and half on a scouting mission for some social entrepreneurship. They were surprised to find a city salted with Internet cafes and schools for learning English—but with no jobs, or at best limited jobs, for those who graduated. “We decided we would leverage our connections in North America to try to bridge the gap and create some income-generating opportunities for people,” Hockenstein said.That summer, after another trip funded by themselves, Hockenstein and his colleagues opened Digital Divide Data, with a plan to start a small operation in Phnom Penh that would do data entry—hiring locals to type into computers printed materials that companies in the United States wanted in digitized form, so that the data could be stored on databases and retrieved and searched on computers. The material would be scanned in the United States and the files transmitted over the Internet. Their first move was to hire two local Cambodian managers.Hockenstein’s partner from McKinsey, Jaeson Rosenfeld, went to New Delhi and knocked on the doors of Indian data-entry companies to see if he could find one—just one—that would take on his two Cambodian managers as trainees. Nine of the Indian companies slammed their doors. The last thing they wanted was even lower-cost competition emerging in Cambodia. But a generous Hindu soul, Lalit Gupta, agreed, and Hockenstein got his managers trained. They then hired their first twenty data-entry operators, many of whom were Cambodian war refugees, and bought twenty computers and an Internet line that cost them $100 a month.The project was financed with $25,000 of their own money and a $25,000 grant from the Global Catalyst Foundation, started by Silicon Valley venture capitalists. They opened for business in July 2001, and their first work assignment was for the Harvard Crimson, Harvard’s undergraduate daily newspaper. “The Crimson was digitizing their archives to make them available online, and because we were Harvard grads they threw some business our way,” said Hockenstein, recalling the company’s start-up. So our first project was having Cambodians typing news articles from the Harvard Crimson from 1873 to 1899, which reported on Harvard-Yale crew races. Later, actually, when we got to the years 1969 to 1971, when the turmoil in Cambodia was all happening, they were typing [Crimson stories] about their own story…We would convert the old Crimsons, which were on microfilm, to digital images in the United States through a company in Oklahoma that specialized in that sort of thing, and then we would just transfer the digital images to Cambodia by FTP [file transfer protocol]. Now you can go to thecrimson. com and download these stories. The Cambodian typists did not have to know English, only how to type English characters; they worked in pairs, each typing the same article, and then the computer program compared their work to make sure that there were no errors. Hockenstein said that each of the typists works six hours a day, six days a week, and is paid $75 a month, twice the minimum wage in Cambodia, where the average annual income is less than $400. In addition, each typist receives a matching scholarship for the rest of the workday to go to school, which for most means completing high school but for some has meant going to college. Our goal was to break the vicious cycle there of [young people] having to drop out of school to support families,” said Hockenstein. “We have tried to pioneer socially responsible outsourcing. The U. S. companies working with us are not just saving money that they can invest somewhere else. They are actually creating better lives for some of the poor citizens of the world. ” Four years after starting up, Digital Divide Data now has 400 employees in three offices: Phnom Penh; Battambang, the second-largest city in Cambodia; and a new office in Vientiane, Laos. We recruited our first two managers in Phnom Penh and sent them to India to get trained in data entry, and then, when we opened the Laos office, we recruited two managers who were trained by our staff in the Phnom Penh office,” Hockenstein said. This tree has scattered all kinds of seeds. In 2005, when Google announced a controversial project to scan libraries full of books, DDD was concerned that this would cut into its business. However, in the flat world, this project announced in Silicon Valley has ended up creating more jobs in Laos.Here’s how: Another major search portal decided also to scan tens of thousands of books in the United States. So the books from an Ivy League university are physically scanned in America, but DDD employees in Laos get paid to log on to the computers in the United States and review each image. “Our team checks to make sure the images are not crooked or the scanner did not skip a page,” explained Hockenstein. “Because of the flat world, it is now affordable to scan many more books with higher quality, whereas before all the steps had to be done by hand in the library. Besides book digitizing and the Harvard Crimson, one of the biggest sources of data-entry work came from NGOs, which wanted the results of their field surveys about health or families or labor conditions digitized. So—and this is my favorite part—some of the first wave of Digital Divide Data’s Cambodian workers left the company shortly after it started and spun off their own firm to design databases for NGOs that want to do surveys! Why? Because while they were working for Digital Divide Data, said Hockenstein, they kept getting survey work from NGOs that needed to be digitized.But because the NGOs had not done enough work in advance to standardize all the data they were collecting, it was very hard to digitize it in any efficient manner. So these Cambodian workers realized that there was value earlier in the supply chain and that they could get paid more for it—not for typing but for designing standardized formats for NGOs to collect survey data, which would make the surveys easier and cheaper to digitize, collate, and manipulate. So they started their own company to do just that—in Cambodia. Hockenstein argued that none of the jobs being done in Cambodia came from the United States.This sort of basic data-entry work got outsourced to India and the Caribbean a long time ago, and, if anywhere, that is where the jobs were taken from. But none of this would have been possible to set up in Cambodia a decade ago. It all came together in just the last few years. Hockenstein told me about his Cambodian partner, Sophary. “Until 1992 he was living in a refugee camp on the Cambodia-Thai border, while I was living in Harvard Square as an undergrad. We were worlds apart. After the UN peace treaty [in Cambodia], he walked home ten days to his village, and now today he lives in Phnom Penh running Digital Divide Data’s office. They now instant-message each other each night to collaborate on the delivery of services to people and companies around the world. The type of collaboration that is possible today “allows us to be partners and equals,” said Hockenstein. By early 2007, 200 people had graduated from Digital Divide Data’s program, and they were working in jobs averaging $153 a month. Almost all of them had dropped out of high school and before joining the company never thought they would earn more than a dollar a day. As important as the money is for them, the confidence and the new sense of what is possible that it gives them are equally valuable. It is not one of us dominating the other,” said Hockenstein. “It is real collaboration that is creating better futures for the people at the bottom and the top. ” Not surprisingly, as news of the program spread, Hockenstein and his partners began getting calls from people in Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran, and Jordan who wanted to provide IT services to the world. In mid-2004, a client approached Digital Divide Data to digitize an English-Arabic dictionary. Around the same time, Hockenstein’s office received an unsolicited e-mail from a company in Iran that was running a data-entry firm there. They found us through a Google search,” said Hockenstein. He asked the Iranians whether they could do an English-Arabic dictionary, even though the language of Iran is Farsi, which uses some but not all of the same letters as Arabic. “He said they could,” said Hockenstein, “so we partnered on a joint project for this client to digitize an Arabic dictionary. ” What I like most about the story, and why it is so telling of the flat world, is Hockenstein’s kicker: “I still have never met the guy [in Iran]. We did the whole deal over Yahoo! nstant messenger and e-mail. We wired him the money through Cambodia…I invited him to my wedding, but he wasn’t able to come. ” Today, Hockenstein pointed out, “you’re just one degree from anyone or anything. ” Reflecting on his and his partner’s experience in starting Digital Divide Data, he added: “Two people and a computer were able to create better lives for three hundred people…Two people and a Web site can now do anything. ” No one assigned Hockenstein to go to Cambodia. No one paid him to go, either. He just went. We showed up in Phnom Penh not knowing a person, rented an apartment, and knocked on doors,” said Hockenstein. “And twenty-four hours later we were in the office of the person who had brought the Internet to Cambodia and was searching for a way to create jobs. ” So I asked him: “If you were counseling young people today, what would you tell them? Go to work for an NGO? The World Bank? A charity? Or business school? ” “True sustainability depends on market solutions,” Hockenstein replied. “There are hundreds of NGOs training people to use computers and subsidizing the [enterprise].But when the money runs out, only a very small fraction of these people are able to create any kind of livelihood for themselves on their own. Most in Cambodia had to go back to their family farms or sex trafficking. ” When you are trying to root out something like sex trafficking or drug harvesting, “you need alternative economic opportunities to solve it permanently, if you are talking about large numbers of people. We have rescued twenty women in Cambodia who now work at our place and have not had to go back to their previous lives. Many others have had to go back [to sex work] to earn a living. Of course, the vast majority of people in Cambodia remain poor and disadvantaged. That is old. What is new is the emergence of home-grown Cambodian and Laotian engines to make Cambodia and Laos less poor. There are still miles to go, but you have to start somewhere. Hockenstein’s advice to college grads: “Young people find it hard to get involved with meaningful work even when they want to do something which matters. One reason is they are waiting for the corporate recruiters who come on campus to sit down and offer them a job which changes the world. Instead, consulting firms and investment banks show up.Don’t wait for the recruiter from HR to come on campus to interview you. Get together the money for a plane ticket yourself. ”   Two teachers from opposite sides of the globe decided that they could take advantage of the flat world to teach about collaboration in a totally different way—and they did so without waiting for any administrator to change their curricula or direct them from above. I happened to come across the work of Julie Lindsay, from the International School Dhaka, in Bangladesh, and Vicki Davis, from Westwood Schools in Camilla, Georgia, while surfing the Web.They were using this book in their courses, and their goal was to teach their respective high school students about the flat world by allowing them to experience its various aspects on their own. “When Vicki posted on her blog comments about her students’ views of the book [The World Is Flat], I knew we had a match,” Lindsay recalled. “By reading the blogs of other teachers, I realized that I could flatten the world by going directly to other teachers with common curricular purposes, and this is just what we did. Added Davis: “When Julie contacted me, I knew that our project-based learning environment would mesh well with Julie’s, and we immediately created a wiki and began planning” an educational joint venture. The Flat Classroom Project () took six weeks to plan and lasted for two weeks. Students from the class in Bangladesh and the class in Georgia were partnered and given the task to create a wiki page (a common Web page whose “members” can upload and edit content) based on one of the ten flatteners.To do this effectively, the students communicated regularly over the Internet, shared resources (photographs, music, and the like), and planned their project as if they were literally face-to-face in one classroom. They experienced the flatteners firsthand. Some students, for example, “outsourced” portions of their video presentation to their international partner, their teachers explained to me. The time difference was a challenge, with the two teachers often instant-messaging each other in the early morning or late at night.The students were never in the same classroom, on the same continent, or in the same time zone at the same time. The students moved seamlessly among many types of software, hardware, and Web applications to create an effective Web presentation on their topic, the teachers said in a joint e-mail they sent me. These included “a central wiki, wiki discussion areas for conversation and teacher feedback, and RSS feeds to monitor changes. Students and teachers also used VoIP (Skype), IM chat, MySpace (to connect), Evoca (to share audio), YouTube, Google Video, Dropload (to transfer files), and many other resources to collaborate. In one instance, the teachers said, two students who called themselves “The C Team” (their names were Casey and Cannelle), tackled the topic of “virtual communications. ” Lindsay and Davis agreed that social networking has great potential for learning and inspiring global collaboration. “This project also created friendships across the world and promoted a cultural understanding that is needed in our world today,” they said. “We may be from opposite sides of the world, but our students became one class tethered by invisible strings of bits and bytes. When I asked Lindsay and Davis what they learned from doing this, I got an earful: “Students are hungering for meaningful connections with one another. They want to understand if the stereotypes portrayed by much of the mass media are true and they want to connect and decide for themselves—thus the explosive growth of sites like MySpace and YouTube. This ability to connect has largely been ignored and blocked by many educators now bypassing traditional intermediaries to share resources, best practices, and information.Teachers interested in learning how to do more can contact [email protected] com. Some other social entrepreneurs are now using the flat-world platform to try to improve government in the United States, because they understand that this new platform gives a whole new power to grassroots activists in a democracy—as opposed to party machines or big media. Consider my friend Andrew Rasiej, a former music promoter who founded MOUSE. org to bring more technology to New York City schools and who, in 2005, was a Democratic candidate for New York City’s Office of PublicAdvocate—a city ombudsman who is supposed to hold the mayor accountable on community relations and investigates complaints about everything from potholes to city services. I met Rasiej during his campaign, when he was trying to get attention for his proposal that New York City provide universal Wi-Fi infrastructure, so anyone anywhere could get access to high-speed Internet and cell phone coverage. His candidacy ultimately failed. He was ahead of his time. But eventually, time will catch up to him. The old industrial approach to politics, argued Rasiej, “is one to many. That is, we elect someone who will solve our problems for us. The new model in business is that you involve your community and customers in an ongoing conversation about every aspect of your business, from the moment you conceive a product, to how you design it, to the supply chain that builds it and delivers it, to the way you collect and absorb customer feedback and respond more quickly to changing tastes. “Well, the time is here to apply the same principle—the power of many—to reinventing civic life and reinvigorating our democracy,” insisted Rasiej. Not only are you improving city services and the quality of life, but you are giving people a way to participate in the decisions that affect their lives in a way that is easy and where they see the results. ” Rasiej proposed the creation of a Web site where any citizen using his or her cell phone could take a picture of a pothole, any dangerous broken railing, or even a suspected crime and immediately e-mail it to City Hall or post it on the official Web site, so every citizen, in effect, becomes a potential ombudsman.Two years later, New York City started implementing just such a program. Rasiej believes that 2004 Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean accidentally discovered the power of the network when he started online fund-raising in his failed bid for the White House, but never had a chance to follow it up. “Dean did not realize that the money that was flowing into his campaign, via the Internet, was actually the by-product of the vibrant community of Democratic and angry anti-Bush and antiwar voters who were talking to each other and propelling his candidacy,” said Rasiej.Neither did any other candidate; no one tried to run a flat campaign in 2004. But trust me, in the near future candidates will figure this out. There is an iron law in American politics: The party that most quickly absorbs and adopts the latest technology dominates politics. FDR dominated the radio through the fireside chat; JFK triumphed over Nixon in televised debates; Republicans rose to power on talk radio; and Karl Rove mastered the use of direct mail and computerized databases. The next technological political model will revolve around the power of community and individual uploading.In this model, the public officeholder will no longer be the one who promises to solve the problems of the many. Rather, he or she will become a hub of connectivity for the many to work with the many, creating networks of public advocates to identify problems, solve them, and get behind candidates who are ready to mobilize the government and the people in the right direction. “One elected official [alone] cannot solve the problems of eight million people,” said Rasiej, “but eight million people networked together can solve one city’s problems.They can spot and offer solutions better and faster than any bureaucrat. “The party that stakes out this new frontier is the party that will be the majority party in the twenty-first century,” Rasiej argues. “And the Democrats had better understand something: Their base right now is the most disconnected from the network. ” Democracy in America is changing, and it was with this change in mind that Rasiej joined with former Nation editor Micah Sifry to form www. personaldemocracy. com.They write: “A new force, rooted in new tools and practices built on and around the Internet, is rising alongside the old system of capital-intensive broadcast politics…Networked voices are reviving the civic conversation. More people, every day, are discovering this new power. After years of being treated like passive subjects of marketing and manipulation, they want to be heard. Members expect a say in the decision-making process of the organizations they join. Readers want to talk back to the news-makers.Citizens are insisting on more openness and transparency from government. All the old institutions and players—big money, top-down parties, big-foot journalism, cloistered organizations—must adapt or face losing status and power. Personal democracy, where everyone is a full participant, is coming. ” Just look at how Virginia’s Senator George Allen was caught on video using the term “macaca” to dismiss a young critic—an insult that was uploaded to the Internet, where it fatally wounded his reelection campaign.Future elections, note Rasiej and Sifry, are sure to be even further affected by the scope and reach of the Internet, “with all kinds of voter-generated content, citizen activism, social networks, and the power of the technology to force transparency in the electoral process and in government. ”   Walls simply aren’t what they used to be—even for kings and queens—and this change is opening new opportunities for political activism where it was previously unimaginable. A vivid example of this was described by William Wallis in the Financial Times (November 24, 2006).Writing from Manama, Bahrain, Wallis reported that “[s]ince Bahrain’s government blocked the Google Earth Web site earlier this year for its intrusion into private homes and royal palaces, Googling their island kingdom has become a national pastime for many Bahrainis. ” Bahrain is a tiny island state off the east coast of Saudi Arabia. About 60 per cent of Bahrain’s population are Shiite Muslims, but the ruling al-Khalifa family are Sunnis. The Bahraini Shiites have long insisted on a greater share of wealth and power. Opposition activists claim that 80 per cent of the island has been carved up between royals and other private landlords, while much of the rest of the population faces an acute housing shortage,” added Wallis. “The site allows Internet users to view satellite images of the world in varying degrees of detail. When Google updated its images of Bahrain to higher definition, cyber-activists seized on the view it gave of estates and private islands belonging to the ruling al-Khalifa family to highlight the inequity of land distribution in the tiny Gulf kingdom,” Wallis explained.A senior government official told Wallis that Google Earth “had allowed the public to pry into private homes and ogle people’s motor yachts and swimming pools. But he acknowledged that the government’s three-day attempt to block the site had proved counterproductive. It gave instant publicity to Google Earth and contributed to growing sophistication among Bahrainis in circumventing web censorship. It also provided more ammunition to democracy activists ahead of [the 2006] parliamentary elections…the second since King Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa began introducing limited political reforms in 2001. Wallis explained: “Mahmood al-Yousif, a businessman whose political chat and blog site Mahmood’s Den is among Bahrain’s most popular, says that in the tense run-up to the polls, few Bahrainis have not surfed over the contours of their kingdom, comparing vast royal palaces, marinas and golf courses with crowded Shia villages nearby, where unemployment is rife and services meager. For those with insufficient bandwidth to access Google Earth, a PDF file with dozens of downloaded images of royal estates has been circulated anonymously by e-mail.Mr Yousif, among others, initially encouraged web users to post images on photo-sharing websites. ‘Some of the palaces take up more space than three or four villages nearby and block access to the sea for fishermen. People knew this already. But they never saw it. All they saw were the surrounding walls,’ said Mr Yousif, who is seen in Bahrain as the grandfather of its blogging community. “He and other activists believe creative use of the Internet—connectivity in Bahrain is among the highest in the Arab world—is forcing the country to confront awkward realities and will speed the march towards a more egalitarian society.But loyalists find irreverent discussion of the royal family on the Web offensive and dangerous. While some younger members of the royal family apparently saw the futility of blocking Google Earth and reversed it quickly, others in government have waged a virtual battle with the nation’s proliferating cyber-activists using technology as well as an arsenal of press censorship laws…‘There are some in the government who are still living in the age of the telex, when you could very easily put controls on communications. But these Orwellian policing methods do not have a place in this modern age,’ says Mr Yousif. As they have been for generations, all of these Bahraini royal palaces are surrounded by high walls, keeping people from looking inside. And then along came Google Earth. It flattened all the walls, and suddenly everyone could look inside—and act on what they saw. While covering the Arab-Israeli conflict, I learned that the way you get big change is by getting the big players to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. That is, if you wait for everyone to do the right things for the right reasons, you can wait forever.This approach really underpins another kind of social entrepreneurship being made possible by the flat world—activists partnering with the world’s largest multinational corporations to get them to change their business practices, with far-reaching effects. In the flat world, the balance of power between global companies and the individual communities in which they operate is tilting more and more in favor of the companies, many of them American-based. These companies command as much if not more power than many governments, not only to create value but also to transmit values.The desire of corporations to avoid being the target of global protest in a flat world has made them much more open to working with social and environmental activists, who are collaborating with progressive companies in ways that can make the companies more profitable and the flat earth more livable. Let me illustrate this notion with a couple of examples. If you think about the forces that are gobbling up biodiversity around the planet, no force is more powerful than farming. So how and where the big food producers farm and fish really matters as to whether we manage to preserve natural habitats and species.Conservation International, one of the biggest environmental NGOs in the world, has as its main mission preserving biodiversity. It is also a big believer in trying, when possible, to collaborate with big business, because when you bring a major global player around, it can have a huge impact on the environment. In 2002, McDonald’s and Conservation International forged a partnership to use the McDonald’s global supply chain—a behemoth that sucks beef, fish, chicken, pork, bread, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, and potatoes from all four corners of the flat world—to produce not just monetary value but also different values about the environment. We and McDonald’s looked at a set of environmental issues and said, ‘Here are the things the food suppliers could do to reduce the environmental impact at little or no cost,’” explained Glenn Prickett, senior vice president of Conservation International. McDonald’s then met with its key suppliers and worked out, with them and with CI, a set of guidelines for what McDonald’s calls “socially responsible food supply. “For conservationists, the challenge is how do you get your arms around hundreds of millions of decisions and decision makers involved in agriculture and fisheries, who are not coordinated in any way except by the market,” said Prickett. “So what we look for are partners who can put their purchasing power behind a set of environmentally friendly practices in a way that is good for them, works for the producers, and is good for biodiversity. In that way, you can start to capture so many more decision makers…There is no global government authority to protect biodiversity.You have to collaborate with the players who can make a difference, and one of them is McDonald’s. ” Conservation International is already seeing improvements in conservation of water, energy, and waste, as well as steps to encourage better management of fisheries, among McDonald’s suppliers. But it is still early, and one will have to assess over a period of years, with comprehensive data collection, whether this is really having a positive impact on the environment. This form of collaboration cannot and should never be a substitute for government rules and oversight.But if it works, it can be a vehicle for actually getting government rules implemented. Environmentalists who prefer government regulation to these more collaborative efforts often ignore the fact that strong rules imposed against the will of farmers end up being weakly enforced—or not enforced at all. What is in this for McDonald’s? It is a huge opportunity to improve its global brand by acting as a good global citizen. Conservation International has struck similar supply-chain collaborations with Starbucks, setting rules for its supply chain of coffee farmers, and Office Depot, with its supply chain of paper-product providers.What these collaborations do is start to “break down the walls between different interest groups,” said Prickett. Normally you would have the environmentalists on one side and the farmers on the other and each side trying to get the government to write the regulations in the way that would serve it. Government would end up writing the rules largely to benefit business. “Now, instead, we have a private entity saying, ‘We want to use our global supply chain to do some good, but we understand that to be effective it has to be a collaboration with the farmers and the environmentalists if it is going to have any impact,’” Prickett said.Following his work with McDonald’s, Prickett turned his attention to Wal-Mart, the world’s biggest retailer. Conservation International is working with Wal-Mart’s executives to think about their environmental footprint and create a strategy to turn that from a negative to a positive—from how they use energy to the packaging of the products they sell to how those products are produced around the world. What is exciting about working with Wal-Mart is that it is the world’s largest retailer,” said Prickett, “and when you start to impact its supply chain in terms of the standards it expects its suppliers to adopt, you are talking about more than sixty thousand suppliers across every merchandise supply chain and around the world. What is also exciting about Wal-Mart is the signal it sends to the business community at large. It tells other CEOs that if the world’s largest retailer has taken this seriously, there must be something to it. And suddenly ‘green’ becomes an acceptable business strategy.We have already seen that begin to empower individuals in big companies who have had great green ideas for their supply chains but have never had the executive-level mandate to act on them. Now they do—either because they are a Wal-Mart supplier and have to go green, or because they have experienced the Wal-Mart effect and their bosses are saying, ‘Hey, there is something to this. ’ Suddenly with Wal-Mart going green, you are putting the green movement on Main Street. Ultimately that will have a political impact. It is the democratization of sustainability. It is not just an elite cause for people on the coasts anymore. A similar movement has been under way for a while in the consumer electronics world, with an HP-Dell-IBM alliance. In October 2004, these three giants joined forces, in a collaborative effort with key members of their computer and printer supply chains, to promote a unified code of socially responsible manufacturing practices across the world. The new Electronics Industry Code of Conduct includes bans on bribes, child labor, embezzlement and extortion, and violations of intellectual property; rules governing usage of wastewater, hazardous materials, pollutants; and regulations on the reporting of occupational injuries.Several major electronics manufacturers who serve the IBM, Dell, and HP supply chains collaborated on writing the code, including Celestica, Flextronics, Jabil, Sanmina-SCI, and Solectron. Compliance is everything, and so, again, it remains to be seen just how vigilant the corporations will be with their suppliers. Nevertheless, this use of supply chains to create values—not just value—could be a wave of the future. As we have begun to look to other [offshore] suppliers to do most of our manufacturing, it has become clear to us that we have to assume some responsibility for how they do that work,” explained Debra Dunn, HP’s senior vice president of corporate affairs and global citizenship. First and foremost, that is what many of HP’s customers want. “Customers care,” said Dunn, “and European customers lead the way in caring. And human rights groups and NGOs, who are gaining increasing global influence as trust in corporations declines, are basically saying, ‘You guys have the power here.You are global companies, you can set expectations that will influence environmental practices and human rights practices in emerging markets. ’” Those voices are right, and what is more, they can use the Internet to drive the point home to companies that don’t get it. “When you have the procurement dollars that HP and McDonald’s have,” said Dunn, “people really want to do business with you, so you have leverage and are in a position to set standards, and [therefore] you have a responsibility to set standards…We used to say that as long as we complied with the local law, that was all we could be expected to do.But now the imbalance of power is so huge it is not practical to say that Wal-Mart or HP can do whatever they want as long as a state government or country does not stop them. The leverage HP would leave on the table would be immoral given its superior power…We have the power to transmit global governance to our universe of suppliers and employees and consumers, which is a pretty broad universe. ” I have no doubt that plenty of abuse remains in electronics factories in the developing world—particularly in China—even in those producing for the likes of HP, Dell, and IBM.But I also have no doubt that programs like the Electronics Industry Code of Conduct create a baseline that give labor activists a much more powerful club to wield in pressing for improved working conditions. The key is enforcement. And the key to enforcement is for social entrepreneurs to educate consumers to the fact that they have power, that their buying decisions and buying power are political tools and they need to use them. But is it a sell-out for social entrepreneurs to try to change the world through markets rather than marches? I posed that question to Rob Watson, chairman and CEO of EcoTech International.Watson grew up in the environmental movement, was one of the most respected environmentalists working on China, but eventually decided to go to business school and start a company. When I asked him why, he sent me the following e-mail, titled “What I Learned in Business School. ” It is an important message: What would possess a 43-year-old father to abandon an extremely successful 20-plus-year career in the non-profit world for a two-year slog through business school and the trauma of starting a new business halfway around the world? My life has always been about doing the greatest good for the greatest number.I have chosen to focus my efforts on protecting the environment, which is the underpinning of human existence on the Earth. For me it has always been about the mission, with organizations being the means to that end. For over twenty years that organization was the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), one of the world’s most effective environmental advocacy groups. At NRDC I had the good fortune to have worked on four continents helping governments and businesses create policies, programs and projects that help the environment. As a founding member and volunteer for the U. S. Green Building Council, I founded the LEED Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building rating system, which—due to the dedication of hundreds of volunteers like myself and tireless efforts of the USGBC staff—has become the premier green building certification system in the world. Without a doubt I had made a difference. Yet, my experience in the field made me realize that I needed to chart a different course. For many years when people came to me at NRDC for advice about how to get involved and make a difference with the environment, invariably they would ask me to which law program or environmental science program they should apply.Instead, I would recommend that people go to business school. My advice was based on my belief that the legal and regulatory frameworks for environmental protection largely have been established. Given our current situation, I realized that now it was about diffusion and implementation—and implementation is where business excels. This belief coupled with the simple fact that there were far more environmental lawyers and scientists floating around than environmental businessmen and that green business was needed to put environmental protection on the ground.I felt that the main reason mainstream business continues to be a cause of environmental problems instead of its solution is that business-as-usual continues to use 19th-century economics and 20th-century engineering when trying to solve 21st-century problems. I saw the need for new green frameworks for business—where the clean path is the most profitable. Economics, finance and accounting are human laws and can be changed unlike, say, gravity, which is a natural law—one that applies to all species, not just one. We need to realign these human laws with natural law unless we want to be a bad biological experiment on the planet.I felt that as a (hopefully to be successful) businessperson I could make the case for this paradigm shift more effectively than as a non-profit environmental advocate. But to be an effective change agent, I felt I needed to know something about the system I was trying to change. So I finally took my own advice and went to Columbia Business School. Over the course of my MBA program I learned or reaffirmed three main things: Doing business well is very, very hard. Few people do business well. The conceptual frameworks and tools underlying the conduct of today’s business are hopelessly outdated—as noted above.I think the process of establishing a new business framework will be one of learning by doing—where theory and observation play off each other to create a truly sustainable way of providing people with what they want. As a first step, we need to get the market and regulatory polemicists off each other’s back. Both are right and both are wrong: markets and regulations each are necessary, but not sufficient. Good regulation makes markets work properly and removes the worst actors, while markets stimulate innovation and efficient delivery of goods and services.My goal in going to business school and switching hats from the non-profit to the business sector is to be a model for a new paradigm where business can effectively and efficiently operate on a large scale for the betterment of humankind. Wish me luck. Good luck, Rob. As for the rest of you, well, like I said, if it’s not happening, it’s because you’re not doing it. What Friedman means when he says “the world is flat” (explained in 2 minutes) http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=oM2BguxRSyY Updated lecture on 3. 0 (MIT open source) http://videolectures. net/mitmc07_friedman_keya/

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