The World is Flat: Chapter 9
Summary of Chapter Nine: This is Not a Test
The point of this chapter is that the country has not recognized the urgency of the challenge as it did when Sputnik was launched. There is not enough public discussion of the changes going on and what should be done about them. The United States is not utilizing its potential and are not working on long-term goals, such as getting off dependence on foreign oil. Political stability is dependent on economic stability, and we are entering a new era, disruptive of old economic models. Everyone will be affected. Friedman discusses the fact that many leaders in other countries are innovative scientists with vision, while the United States is led by conservative lawyers.
Commentary on Chapter Nine: This is Not a Test
Friedman calls for a new leadership in the United States that will work on building lifetime employability for people. Workers will need portable benefits, especially universal pension plans and health care, and opportunity for lifelong learning. It is interesting that President Obama's Affordable Care Act, passed in 2010, answers Friedman's point, allowing workers to take their health insurance with them. Education similarly needs to be upgraded for all workers, with everyone having at least two years of college, he says, subsidized by the government. Friedman would give more foreign visas to students studying for PhDs at American universities. He wants to retain social safety nets like Social Security and wage insurance over and above unemployment compensation. He encourages social activism to motivate the creation of sustainable manufacture and industry.