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Irresponsible Dependence on a Flat Earth Mentality

In response to global governance challenges (Part #1)

Review of the implications of the prize winning work by Thomas L Friedman (The World Is Flat, 2005)

Flat Earth metaphor -- a cognitive trap to be sprung?
Connecting the dots -- erroneously?
Edge and boundary free?
Horizon effects -- a "hollow Earth"?
Misunderstanding of longer-term cycles
A "shrinking" Earth
A mathematical challenge: "global" as "flat"?
Need for "synthesizers"
Incapacity to reframe global issues
Personalized explanation
Instigation of a Global Flat Earth Society?
Possible astrophysical metaphors for an emergent global knowledge society

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The first edition of Thomas L. Friedman's The World Is Flat (2005) was given the first Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award in 2005. The award recognizes one business book that provides 'the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues, including management, finance and economics.'

Three-times winner of the Pulitzer Prize as a foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, Friedman was named in America's Best Leaders 2005 -- a report by the Harvard Center for Public Leadership, U.S. News and World Report magazine, and public opinion research firm Yankelovic. The book's editions have had various subtitles: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century (2005) and The Globalized World in the Twenty-First Century (2006).

As argued in what follows, the acclaim of the business community for this study (see summary) is extremely valuable in helping to understand the failure of the world to come to grips with the challenges of its governance. These are epitomized by the global crises of climate change, banking, food, energy, and water, subsequent to the 2006 edition, as well as by the continuing cycles of violence in many regions.

This review was undertaken in support of arguments presented elsewhere (Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors, 2008).

ral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors, 2008).

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