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A Flat World, a Level Playing Field, a Small World After All, or None of the Above? A Review of Thomas L Friedman's The World is Flat

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  • Edward E. Leamer

Abstract

Geography, flat or not, creates special relationships between buyers and sellers who reside in the same neighborhoods, but Friedman turns this metaphor inside-out by using The World is Flat to warn us of the perils of a relationship-free world in which every economic transaction is contested globally. In his "flat" world, your wages are set in Shanghai. In fact, most of the footloose relationship-free jobs in apparel and footwear and consumer electronics departed the United States several decades ago, and few U.S. workers today feel the force of Chinese and Indian competition, notwithstanding the alarming anecdotes about the outsourcing of intellectual services. Of course, standardization, mechanization, and computerization all work to increase the number of footloose tasks, but innovation and education work in the opposite direction, creating relationship-based activities—like the writing of this review. It may only be personal conceit, but I imagine there is a reason why the Journal of Economic Literature asked me to do this review.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Literature.

Volume (Year): 45 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 83-126

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jeclit:v:45:y:2007:i:1:p:83-126

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jel.45.1.83
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  1. Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 2004. "In Defense of Globalization: It Has a Human Face," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(6), pages 9-20, November-.
  2. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," NBER Working Papers 10480, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Davies, Ronald & Desbordes, Rodolphe, 2012. "Greenfield FDI and Skill Upgrading," CEPR Discussion Papers 8912, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Keith Head & Thierry Mayer, 2013. "What Separates Us? Sources of Resistance to Globalization," Working Papers 2013-26, CEPII research center.
  3. Gács, János, 2007. "A gazdasági globalizáció számokban. A nyitottság alakulása az EU országaiban - II. rész
    [Economic globalization in figures. The development of openness in the EU countries, II]
    ," Közgazdasági Szemle (Economic Review - monthly of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences), Közgazdasági Szemle Alapítvány (Economic Review Foundation), vol. 0(11), pages 960-973.
  4. Lu, Yi & Ng, Travis, 2012. "Do Imports Spur Incremental Innovation in the South?," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 819-832.
  5. Massimo Riccaboni & Alessandro Rossi & Stefano Schiavo, 2013. "Global networks of trade and bits," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 33-56, April.
  6. Steven Brakman & Charles van Marrewijk, 2007. "It’s a Big World After All," CESifo Working Paper Series 1964, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Wim Suyker & Henri de Groot & P. Buitelaar, 2007. "India and the Dutch economy; stylised facts and prospects," CPB Document 155, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  8. Andrés Rodríguez-Clare, 2010. "Offshoring in a Ricardian World," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(2), pages 227-58, April.
  9. Dietmar Harhoff, 2008. "Innovation, Entrepreneurship und Demographie," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 9(3), pages 46-72, 08.
  10. Wim Suyker, 2007. "The Chinese economy, seen from Japan and the Netherlands," CPB Memorandum 185, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.
  11. Grimes, Arthur & Le Vaillant, Jason & McCann, Philip, 2011. "Auckland's Knowledge Economy: Australasian and European Comparisons," Occasional Papers 11/2, Ministry of Economic Development, New Zealand.
  12. Douglas A. Irwin, 2006. "Shifts in economic geography and their causes : commentary," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, pages 41-48.
  13. Lampón, Jesús F. & Lago-Peñas, Santiago & Cabanelas, Pablo, 2013. "Can the periphery achieve core? The case of the automobile components industry in Spain," MPRA Paper 52879, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  14. Bas Straathof & Gert Jan Linders & Arjan Lejour & Jan Möhlmann, 2008. "The internal market and the Dutch economy: implications for trade and economic growth," CPB Document 168, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

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