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The World is Flat: Chapter 14

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Summary of Chapter Fourteen: The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention: Old-Time Versus Just-in-Time

 

Friedman tells the story of ordering his computer from Dell in Austin, Texas, and how it was put together all over the world and then delivered to him. There are over thirty different components from different suppliers worldwide, and the computers are made only when customers order, because they can specify exactly what features they want. This is called just-in-time inventory and delivery. This kind of collaboration involving a supply-chain from around the world could go far in preventing or moderating conflicts and wars, making global trade more compelling than aggression. The problem is that hot spots in the world today such as Syria, Iraq, Iran, south Lebanon, North Korea, Pakistan, and Afghanistan are not part of anyone's global supply-chain.

 

Commentary on Chapter Fourteen: The Dell Theory of Conflict Prevention: Old-Time Versus Just-in-Time

 

Friedman claims that the IT industry has had a moderating effect on India's political policies toward Pakistan. A country at war is not a place where worldwide industry wants to locate its manufacture or distribution. This principle is also a factor in China's more moderate policies toward Taiwan. On the other hand, Friedman thinks the global network has been a boon for al-Qaeda and terrorist organizations. There is “nothing more dangerous today than a failed state with broadband capability” (p. 536). These comments of his are interesting in light of the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011 and the uncovering of his use of technology in his operations. Friedman pleads for a restriction of nuclear development in the world, for his Dell theory of conflict prevention does not work for a possible nuclear war.




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