The World is Flat: Chapter 15
Summary of Chapter Fifteen: 11/9 Versus 9/11
Friedman gives the date 11/9 (Berlin Wall coming down) as an example of positive imagination for changing the world, and 9/11 (the terrorist attack on New York and Washington D.C.) as an example of destructive imagination. One event opened the world to new possibility, and one closed it. Human imagination has never been more important than it is now. There are two ways to flatten the world: bring everyone up to the same level or bring everyone down to the same level. He gives positive examples with e-Bay, where the small guy can compete on a level playing field, and India, a state with more Muslims than Pakistan, but which is tolerant and progressive.
Commentary on Chapter Fifteen: 11/9 Versus 9/11
Friedman observes that even a small individual act can affect the world order today without the instrument of governments. He gives as examples Osama bin Laden for the negative example, and David Neeleman, an entrepreneur who founded the airline JetBlue, as the positive example. JetBlue uses mothers at home to ticket passengers on their home computers. This sets up a new and beneficial model for business. America once exported hope to the rest of the world, but Friedman worries that during the Bush administration it began to export fear. The way to measure a society is whether it relies mainly on memories of the past, or dreams for the future. Today, the Arab world must stop looking back and go forward toward reform, while U.S. leadership needs to stop creating fear and gain worldwide support for America's positive values.