One of the fascinating parts of The World Is Flat relates the journeys that all the parts of Tom Friedman’s new laptop took before being assembled at Penang, Maylasia. It was co-designed in Austin, TX and Taiwan. Parts came from sources around the planet, some with multiple possible creation countries – here’s the list: Phillipines, Cost Rica, Malaysia, China, Taiwan, Korea, Germany, Japan, Shanghai, Mexico, Indonesia, Thailand, Britain, Ireland, India, and Israel. Americans own companies involved in this supply chain in several of those countries.
Tom’s old Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention – that countries whose level of economic development supports a big enough middle class to support a network of McDonald’s don’t like to fight wars any more – has been updated to the Dell Theory of Confict Prevention: no two countries that are both part of a major global supply chain (like Dell’s) will ever fight a war against each other as long as they are both part of the same global supply chain.
The book ends with a chapter called Imagination. Tom uses the story of the Arab company Aramex, which is the only Arab company listed on the Nasdaq. He theorizes that there are no Indian Muslims in al-Quaeda because there are opportunities there now to participate in the Flat World, and says that it is no accident that the 3,000 Arab employees of Aramex – a Fed Ex type company – “want to deliver only packages that help economies grow and Arab people flourish – not suicide bombs.”
“Give me just one hundred more examples like Aramex,” says Tom, “and I will start to give you a different context – and narrative” for the Middle East and for peace on the planet.