There are many reasons why some countries are better at doing things than others. Friedman gives numerous reasons and examples, but I am going to focus on what I think is the primary one: government policy. In the reading, it talks about how Egyptians in the fawanis industry believe that China has an advantage over Egypt because of their superior technology. However, Friedman makes the implication that it has a lot to do with government policies among other things. I believe this is his best reason, and in order to find out the root of the problem, one has to take a serious look at human nature. For instance, Egypt guarantees all college graduates a job each year. What impact does this have on people? Surely, it is a well-intentioned policy, but, as Friedman mentions, Egypt has been in poverty for half a century. It’s pretty clear if you think about it. If you were a college student in Egypt, and you knew you would receive a job upon graduation, why would you work hard or study? As long as you squeaked by with passing grades, you would be just as well off as someone who worked hard. Now contrast that with a country like India, where competition is fierce, with tens of thousands of applications flooding in for a single job opening. Many Indians graduate from college unable to get the job they want because the government guarantees them no such position. What effect does this have? Indians work and study vigorously because they can’t make it if they don’t compete. As a result, they are more ambitious, educated, and capable of acquiring wealth while making contributions to the world in the process. Now, there is nothing special about the location of India. The people of India aren’t genetically superior, and they aren’t any more naturally-talented. However, India has a much-more rapidly growing economy than Egypt does. It appears, then, that this comes down to government policy. I’m not taking a political stance. There are other political aspects that need to be taken into account. Rather, I am just pointing out human nature. I think it is sufficient to say that where there is no safety-net available, people will compete, innovate, labor, and do whatever they have to in order to survive, and as they do this, they create wealth in their countries. Friedman also talks about government policy’s impact in a fair amount of detail. He explains that countries that have the fastest-growing economies are those that have the lowest government regulation.
A self-directed consumer is a consumer who customizes his/her own shopping experience. Self-directed consumers feel powerful because they are customizing the product, service, etc., but really it is the companies who maintain the power by creating an avenue for the customer feel ‘in control.’ I am definitely a self-directed consumer. When I am in the market for a product, I research the product online. I read only the negative reviews, since all of the positive reviews say basically the same thing (i.e. “this product is awesome”). When I find the specific product I want, I find the cheapest place that I can buy it, which most of the time is Amazon.com. When the product arrives, I see if I like it, and if I don’t, I send it back. I feel like I have a huge amount of power when I shop. Like I mentioned earlier, companies that can provide this type of experience are the ones who have the most power and will be the most successful. Amazon.com is a perfect example of such a company.
Globalization doesn’t necessarily mean Americanization; however, there is definitely a resemblance of Americanization within globalization. For example, McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, and other American Corporations have spread worldwide. On the other hand, there are also foreign companies that have spread, such as Sony and Kodiak; also, most cultures still maintain some form of their original culture while assimilating into an American-based, free-market economy.