Stiglitz and Friedman

There was a nice panel discussion, moderated by favorite Ted Koppel, formerly of Nightline, between Stiglitz and Friedman on Globalization (the official discussion title is some derivative of that). Friedman’s main argument was – due to the coming of Personal Computers, the Internet, and enabling software, the global playing field has been flattened so that more people are enabled to collaborate, compete, and innovate – regardless of proximity. And he further argues, this collaboration, competition, and over all ‘flattening’ of the world has been good for all involved, and directly responsible for lifting up a significant number of people’s standards of living, and overall economic output of the country.

Stliglitz seems to think that this is just a simplified way of looking at things, and actually seems to infer that it is just a load of crap, especially Tom’s correlation of technological advances to people’s standard of living. He points out the fact that the gap between the rich and poor are increasing, Africa has doubled its poor say ten years ago, India’s greater majority is dirt poor, China is suffering from numerous rural unrests stemming from land confiscations without adequate compensations. He argues that the world has actually become more unflattened, pointing the barriers that are there for the poor to join the middle class.

They both agreed on one thing. For a country, such as Ethiopia, to get ahead, it needs three things. It needs to: 1) education its people , and 2) build its infrastructure, and 3) have a good governance. Obvious recommendation?

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