Keeping all due respect to Thomas Friedman and his great best-seller book ‘the World is Flat‘, I have to observe that it is not quite the case yet. This stems from my observations as a globe-trotter and my activities as a publisher.
Having moved from Singapore to France a few months ago I re-discover the convenience of online buying of groceries, books and all sorts of equipment. That was not possible even in Singapore (a developed country but a too small market in the midst of developing countries for most e-shops, and that also has some protectionist traits).
At the same time as a publisher I get requests from people from various countries like South Africa or less developed countries who want to get a paper copy of our books. Because e-bookstores are not convenient there I need to organize specific logistics from the digital printing shops we are using – and they are all located in western countries.
Notwithstanding the recent hints at increased protectionism, new technologies have brought an unprecedented access to information and dematerialized content. As for material goods, there are still wide differences and gaps due the maturity of distribution channels between countries.
The world will be flat when there will be an equality in the distribution of material goods globally. It is going in that direction but there is still a lot of way to go.