A ‘flat world’ is a metaphor for the phenomenon of reduced barriers between people everywhere. It’s a trend that is accelerating and I love it.
Two things are pushing this. An increase in global wealth and the expansion of the Internet. I read two fascinating articles this week in The New York Times that show the effects of growing global wealth and of the Internet. One was about a US high school in a small town that is struggling because local industry has been shutting down.
To bring in more money the school is trying to get parents to pay $27,000 for a year of high school. Chinese parents. That’s right, the school’s superintendent went to China to pitch parents on the benefits of coughing up 27 grand for a year at his jerkwater high school. Hundreds of Chinese kids are expected.
Another article this week talked about three schools in Britain that are teaching kids math via the Internet – using teachers in India. Private tutoring is also available at half the cost of local tutors. The teacher’s union doesn’t like it but they’ll never stop it. Any parent can go online and arrange private tutoring seven days a week for less money and without the added time and financial costs of driving across town.
My friends, this ‘flattening’ is coming like a tsunami and nothing is going to stop it. I grew up in Canada, raised a family in the United States and now I live in two or three different countries every year. In two months Connie and I will move to Guangzhou, China where two of our six kids (24 & 20) have already lived for years.
For years I’ve been urging my closest friends and my family members to find ways to embrace this change and find a way to make a living that will prosper rather than wither amid these enormous changes. If you want to really thrive in the new, flat world my best advice is to stop thinking like an employee and start thinking like a capitalist. An individual capitalist.
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