Thomas Friedman book review - Hot, Flat and CrowdedT here can be few writers so adept at catching the American mood as Thomas Friedman. The paean continued in The World Is Flat, which appeared in , but by then globalisation was not looking so unambiguously benign and the subtext of Friedman's jubilation was the threat it was posing to the American way of life. One of the book's messages was that the US needed to reduce its dependency on imported oil. American 'energy independence' would allow the US to delink itself from the global market. In this way, the prophet of globalisation seemed to be suggesting, the US could turn its back on the frighteningly unAmerican world that globalisation was actually producing. Friedman's latest book synthesises ideas that have been floating around in America ever since the scale of the disaster in Iraq became undeniable.
Book Review: Hot, Flat and Crowded
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Thank you! The world is flat, New York Times columnist Friedman told us in his bestselling book of that name. Now things are getting worse, and the clock is ticking. Readers who have been paying attention to Fareed Zakaria, Jared Diamond or similar writers know most of this, but still the word has been slow getting out. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again.
In Hot, Flat and Crowded , Thomas L Friedman presents a compelling and provocative account of the challenges and opportunities facing humanity as the converging pressures of global warming, a widening middle class and rapid population growth begin to characterize the twenty-first century. His short but lucid description of each portrays the well exposed interdependencies that have dominated environmental rhetoric since the UN Summit on Environment and Development. His rationale for an American Code Green strategy is threefold: first-mover advantage in renewable technologies will provide large economic benefits as clean power systems move down the learning curve and begin to scale, reduced dependency on foreign nations for fuel will improve energy security, and most evocative, a status quo in a fossil-fuel economy will undermine the quality of life for every person on the planet. He has no illusions about the scale of the problem, and compares it to scaling the summit of Mount Everest. Often misconstrued as something easy a truly green revolution will be disruptive and lead to a profound transformational shift in how we produce and consume energy.
Friedman, the thrice-Pulitzered foreign affairs columnist of The New York Times, has built a following beyond readers with an interest in international relations. Friedman does not shy away from this audience; indeed he sometimes seems to be writing especially for it. That constituency listened to Friedman on globalization and they might be ready to listen to him again on global warming. We live, Friedman explains with reference to his previous work, in a world that is flat — a level economic playing field with fewer barriers between countries and individuals — but that is now also becoming crowded, thanks to rising population. That, Friedman says, is unsustainable. Friedman knows what is to be done.
Would a Green America save both the world and its own supremacy? Thomas L. Friedman, foreign-affairs columnist for The New York Times, three-times Pulitzer Prize-winner, and prolific author - most recently of the lucid The World is Flat - is always worth reading, even when you disagree with him. Friedman has converted to the Green faith and to environmental trumpery, but in a more nuanced and optimistic way than most of his fellow travellers. In Hot, Flat and Crowded , he aims to reclaim 'greenness' from the liberal, tree-hugging, sissy and unpatriotic ghetto into which it has been forced by critics, adopting instead a realistic and economically literate position. Encouragingly, he avoids the misanthropy that characterises much environmentalist rhetoric, in which, to quote Reginald Heber's famous hymn, From Greenland's Icy Mountains, 'only man is vile!
H ere is a little game to pass the time. Key the words "world population" into Google and add the year of your birth. The results, in every case, will be intriguing. For example, in , when I was born, there were 2. Today there are around 6. Thus, in 40 years, the Earth's population will rise by a figure equivalent to its total population in the s, with most living in the developing world. As for the "hot" of his title, it reflects a future in which the burning of "fuels from hell" — his term for the world's underground supplies of coal, gas and oil — will bring calamitous warming, while the term "flat" refers to the levelling of the world's economic playing fields.