The World Is Flattening

>In 1960, Walter Rostow postulated that all countries pass through five stages of economic development. All countries initially begin as traditional agricultural societies, then build up and out. As their agricultural base evolves and diversifies, population grows, they will eventually reach preconditions for takeoff. Takeoff arrives when the country has a diversified economy, with industrial, commercial, agricultural activities, and a service sector that provides support and administrative capabilities. As these activities continue to grow and expand, coupled with an expansion of foreign investment opportunities, and the country becomes more entrenched within the global economy, the country drives to maturity. The final stage becomes that of high mass consumption. Now, the country and its people have reached a stage where incomes are high (generally speaking), industry, commerce, and technology have attained world-class recognition, and the government both oversees activities at home and promotes its national interests abroad.

Technology is helping countries leap-frog some of these stages. Global fiber optic cables are providing Internet access to locales once too remote or underdeveloped for telephone. Cell phones and associated towers encourage communication again in areas perhaps too remote or lacking land-line infrastructure. These technologies are being used by people to both push information into places and pull information and opportunities into places.

And that is what it is about: opportunity. Providing people opportunities to make their lives better, to improve upon what they already have. These technologies are equalizers, aka levelers, aka flatteners.

It is this freedom that is perhaps the greatest tool in the so-called “War on Terrorism.” Terrorism thrives where hope and opportunities are restricted.

Provide opportunities, not $30 billions dollars in weapons sales, and see how terrorism spreads.

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