Silferts tells me that some people read this blog from some other place, where you cannot see the book right above these words. Therefore, she says, rather than knowing the title and author and cover design, they just get “this book”.
I had no idea. I’m terribly sorry. I am going to tell you from now on what book it is that I am talking about. In this case, it is The World is Flat, by Thomas Friedman. Friedman continues to be dull, but he also continues to be cheerful, which I like. In the part that I am reading now, however, he is acknowledging that there are some concerns. He mentions that Marx predicted some of the points he is making, and that some people say he is just giving a nicer name to phenomena which have been around for a while (I know that his discussions reminded me of the 19th century many times).
His response is to suggest that part of this new world is the necessity to “sort out” our multiple viewpoints. As consumers, he says, we like Wal-mart’s efficiency (though I have noticed that consumers don’t like the lack of choice and the death of local businesses attendent upon it), but as workers we dislike their ruthlessness and as citizens we dislike their taxpayer subsidies (in the form of Medicaid, subsidized housing, food stamps, and other such assistance for their workers). He does similar analyses of outsourcing to India and Mexico. It is hard to tell, he says, who is exploiting whom.
I have not finished the whole section, but it appears that his position is basically that the newly flattened earth allows everyone to exploit everyone else, if they are clever enough, so it is all fair and okay. He also seems to have faith that things will end up being better in some unspecified way that will bring prosperity to all the world’s people. At this point, I am reminded of the Middle Ages, when each young man (assuming that he was born into a position that allowed it) could set out with his lance to seek his fortune, perhaps vanquishing three dragons and winning the hand of a princess along the way.
In the real world, I am sewing shopping carts, singing Handel, still on Sleeve Island, preparing for the weekend trip to fetch #2 daughter, and — the big deal for today — helping #2 son bake traditional chocolate eclairs from scratch for his French class.