To start, I want to say that Friedman makes a great point about Muslim radicals. I have often wondered what the mentality of an Islamic extremist was. I can’t comprehend how someone can commit suicide in an act to try to kill others, and actually believe they’re doing the right thing. I think that Friedman nails it when he says that they are willing to do these things because they don’t want to be wrong. When they see how powerful America has become, it shames them. They see that our “openness” and individual freedoms have created a society of great wealth and success, and it enrages them because they want an entire world where Sharia Law rules. I thought this was an interesting thought of Friedman’s.
The process of a Dell Laptop being built is incredible. When the order for a laptop is placed over the phone, the signal is immediately sent to parts suppliers, who ship the parts as soon as they can. This type of processing is called just-in-time processing. As an accounting major, I am very familiar with just-in-time processing and the benefits therein. I mentioned in module three that storing large amounts of inventory can cause the financial ruin of a company in today’s competitive business environment. The reason for this is that storing inventory costs money – a lot of money, and money spent amassing inventory is money wasted. Obviously, Dell knows this. The interesting thing, though, is that Dell’s parts suppliers are willing to bend over backwards to accommodate Dell’s demands, most likely taking the burden of storing inventory upon themselves. When I first learned about just-in-time processing, I wondered why this was the case, but then I realized that the parts suppliers did this because, as the book states, Dell sells between 140,000 and 150,000 computers every day. Parts suppliers will do whatever they have to do to keep their contracts with giant corporations like Dell. I have actually heard of other situations (Xerox is one example, if I remember correctly) where parts suppliers have built factories right next to their buyers in order to keep them happy. But I digress. Continuing on with the process, when parts suppliers ship the parts to Dell, they are received, and a Dell team member assembles the laptop by hand. Software is downloaded onto the computer, which is then shipped to its destination. All of this can happen in a matter of hours, and it can arrive at its destination in a matter of days.
It is scary to think that Al-Qaeda has a supply chain network as powerful as Dell’s. I have never really thought about it, but it makes sense that Al-Qaeda would take advantage of the flattening world to reap havoc on it. Friedman made a great point about that video of the reporter’s beheading going viral online. Not only can Al-Qaeda now create more chaos through the flattening world, but it can also instill terror much more easily. Just from Al-Qaeda putting a single video online, untold numbers of individuals are being terrorized across the world.
From what I could surmise, the curse of oil refers to nations with huge amounts of oil deposits. Because they have large amounts of oil, their dictators don’t need to tax the people, and therefore don’t need to listen to the people’s wants or explain anything to them. They spend the oil-money on pointless subsidies rather than investing in the people, and the nations don’t thrive. Those nations that are growing in the Middle East tend to be nations without oil. I found this very interesting because oil is basically a drug that the world can’t do without, and you would think that these oil-abundant countries would be able to amass enough wealth to rival the United States. I think that Friedman makes a solid point when he talks about the reason for this. When your country is that rich in black gold, the only thing you focus on is drilling holes in the ground in an effort to find more of it. Ingenuity and creativity are hampered, because the best way to make money is through oil.