I read Thomas Friedman's updated edition of The World is Flat in the last two weeks. I think it is a great book which definitely helped me to understand the current world situation so much better than I did before the book.
One of the major themes in his book is sourcing (outsourcing, insourcing, etc.). For a few years I have had familiarity with outsourcing having worked for a large company who outsourced much of their IT work. What I thought was good about the practice was that it shared wealth among other nations, which would help strengthen those societies in the long run. Part of the equation that I did not understand was how this benefits the United States economy. Friedman highlights how many small- and mid-size U.S. companies are benefiting from the lower prices on outsourced parts and labor for commodity work, which drives competitive pricing and the additional hiring of domestic staffing for more innovative and complex work. This drives demand for those products and services globally as the pool of consumers increases. This does not often make as big news as a large company laying off staff, but it is an upside to globalization that is important to comprehend.
What disturbed me about his book was how he points out the way in which the United States has been losing its competitive edge in science and technology. I hope that leadership in this country, whether at the federal level or at the local school board level, deals with this serious issue.