Across the country, a growing number of Americans fear that they could be replaced by someone from a developing country. Recent polls indicate that millions of Americans are preoccupied with the outsourcing of American jobs and the threat of global economic competition. From board rooms to class rooms to kitchen tables and water coolers, globalization has become a hot topic of discussion and debate everywhere.
Thomas Friedman’s recent New York Times Bestselling book, The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century, asserts that the international economic playing field is now more level than it has ever been. As popular as the book may be, Friedman’s theories on globalization have brought critics out in droves.
“The world isn’t flat as a result of globalization,” says Peter Fingar, noted business expert and author of Extreme Competition: Innovation and the Great 21st Century Business Reformation (MK Press, 2006). “The world is tilted in favor of a fierce new breed of competitors.” These competitors exploit three billion low-paid workers in China, India and the former Soviet Union, countries that have recently adopted capitalism.
“These fierce new competitors are ready to engage you, your company, and your kids in extreme competition,” says Fingar. “They play hardball and dominate their industries. They’ll go to the ends of the earth to employ factors workers for 9 cents an hour and PhDs in science and technology for $20,000 a year. This global search for low-cost labor has already begun to damage, and may even cripple, America’s middle class.”
This epic change in traditional business strategies and assumptions has shaken up the way the world does business. The development of the Internet has eliminated time and distance considerations for workers and added fuel to the fire of global competition. Americans are reluctantly facing a shift of wealth and power to the East.
“The great dot-com crash of 2000 wasn’t the signal for the beginning of the end, it was a signal that we had reached the end of the beginning,” says Fingar. “The tinkering phase of the Internet was complete, and now it’s time to get on with the real transformation of business and society.”
Fingar stresses that this transformation is not something for us to worry about in the