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Hey everyone. I totally found this awesome youtube video. It is about 40 minutes long and is the taping of a lecture the author did speaking about the book. It's great to watch to get you caught up with what the point of the book is. [] Check it out. ~Lise

Awesome Video by lshafferlshaffer, 19 Nov 2008 01:46

Imitation: following the actions of someone or taking cues from everyone else's behavior.
The author used the famous example of Imo the monkey and how her actions influenced the rest of her monkey "society" this had such a positive impact on those around her and in this case imitation was used as a learning tool. In other cases we follow those who might not have the best ideas or have done their homework and in this case imitation can be damaging. It can also be damaging in the fashion industry when people copy or knock off others ideas. So just like all the other therories in the book Wisdom of Crowds it is still very important to stay diverse and still think for yourself so you can just reap the benefits of crowds and not fall victom to them.

Imitation by BonnieCraigheadBonnieCraighead, 17 Nov 2008 04:13
Here comes everybody pic by smnth_1smnth_1, 16 Nov 2008 23:31

These are couple of the notes I took from the checkpoint meeting with Courtney. Make sure you all include these factors in your paper and presentation. I didn't break it down by chapter, but hopefully after reading you can pick up on which parts are your's and which ones are not. Let me know if you have any questions. See you ladies later.

Economic Transaction
Institutional Cost
Former Audience and former consumer (relate it to fashion)
Coordinating groups and how to fix it making sure to refer to Wikinomics
Back to hiearchy of traditional management structure
New Media New Mermaid Parade related to how companies are changing
Sharing, Cooperative, Collection, Action
Big basis of group collective action in regards to free writers
using the microwave example ( ex. from class)
Ch 3 pg. 57 fashion
exist because of scarce resource, how does that refer to what you wanna do.
Media changing! blogging newspapers are failing in regards to fashion communication majors. What 200 Ch 4 user generated content.
pg 100 HP
More collective knowledge than organization, can that be applied to more business
102- Paper with more than a million readers attract tons of people that care about different things and make sure you get the audience involved.
Wikipedia-Why would people update Wikipedia if they were'nt being paid (reason)
121- Who contributes the most power? Do the top people make all of the decisions? Discuss the 80/20 rule, and relate it to the fashion industry.
Why is it easy to join a group? How do people communicate so easily? How or why is it so easy to join a group? How much harder is it to write a letter? How is it so easy to get involved on campus, or how do campus activities relate to chapter 6?

checkpoint topics by lshaun_05lshaun_05, 16 Nov 2008 03:08

Hi all!

For the paper and powerpoint these are the sections you should cover. We have split the project in half with group F (we will cover the first half of the book).

Here is a breakdown for our next presentation/paper over Wikinomics…

Intro- The Perfect Storm (pp 1-64)

Peer Pioneers-Ideagoras (pp 65-123)

The Presumers- The New Alexandrians (pp 124-182)

Individual Contribution: Each person should create one slide only for their part of the presentation and ideally contribute one page per person or three pages per group (however you want to look at it). Try to post to the wiki at least three times per person. Be thinking of a creative/interactive activity we can do (like the group today using the dress forms)!

Important Dates:
-Wed., Nov. 11 (in two days)- short grp. meeting after class in Windsor Aud.
-Mon., Nov. 17- meet w/ Courtney after class for checkpoint
-Wed, Dec. 3- email your part of the paper to me (ude.snehpets.cs|ecreipe#ude.snehpets.cs|ecreipe) or Megan (ude.snehpets.cs|namagaw.nagem#ude.snehpets.cs|namagaw.nagem) and your slides (w/text and transferable pictures) to Meg (moc.liamtoh|deihcsrednamgem#moc.liamtoh|deihcsrednamgem).
-Mon, Dec. 8- Presentation and paper due

Thanks and if you have any questions don't hesitate to email me!


Breakdown of Assignment by epierceepierce, 10 Nov 2008 23:23

Hi all!

For the paper and powerpoint these are the sections you should cover. We have split the project in half with group F (we will cover the first half of the book).

Here is a breakdown for our next presentation/paper over Wikinomics…

Intro- The Perfect Storm (pp 1-64)

Peer Pioneers-Ideagoras (pp 65-123)

The Presumers- The New Alexandrians (pp 124-182)

Individual Contribution: Each person should create one slide only for their part of the presentation and ideally contribute one page per person or three pages per group (however you want to look at it). Try to post to the wiki at least three times per person. Be thinking of a creative/interactive activity we can do (like the group today using the dress forms)!

Important Dates:
-Wed., Nov. 11 (in two days)- short grp. meeting after class in Windsor Aud.
-Mon., Nov. 17- meet w/ Courtney after class for checkpoint
-Wed, Dec. 3- email your part of the paper to me (ude.snehpets.cs|ecreipe#ude.snehpets.cs|ecreipe) or Megan (ude.snehpets.cs|namagaw.nagem#ude.snehpets.cs|namagaw.nagem) and your slides (w/text and transferable pictures) to Meg (moc.liamtoh|deihcsrednamgem#moc.liamtoh|deihcsrednamgem).
-Mon, Dec. 8- Presentation and paper due

Thanks and if you have any questions don't hesitate to email me!


Breakdown of Assignment by epierceepierce, 10 Nov 2008 23:22

Relating us, as students of fashion, to Surowiecki's ideas in The Wisdom of Crowds.

1. Surowiecki writes that diversity is most important in small groups. Does this mean if our groups in class are made up of very diverse individuals with varying sources of knowledge, we will have better projects than if our group members were similar?

2. What about our willingness to participate? If money is one motivator for individuals to make better decisions, what other factors could motivate a crowd?

3. In what ways has “groupthink” affected us as fashion students? Particularly, as fashion design students, do we lack diversity in our thinking and have we fallen into a routine way of doing things, in turn stifling our creativity?

Madison Tannenbaum
The Wisdom Of Crowds- Questions
Global Issues in the Fashion Industry
October 27, 2008

1. Sports betting is often calculated and studied before the actual bet when talking about the NFL. Why is college sports and horse racing not calculated the same way?
2. Are there any other small factors that go into making a crowd decision ?
3.If being independent is a large factor in making a group decision, why is the example of the “ Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” being used for the “ask the audience” choice?
4.Is the Linux program going to be sold on the market? If so, will the many contributors receive any compensation?
5. When using coordination problems in life, I found the section to be confusing. When the author refers to the two examples of bar crowdedness is there a right or wrong answer? Does it depend on personal choice?

Remember that we all have to read the book. Allyce and I are going to talk with Courtney and figure out the best way to spilt up the presentation within our group. We will keep you posted!

Reading by DaniellePDanielleP, 05 Nov 2008 01:34

Hello ladies the results of the poll:

Who are you going to vote for in the 2008 Presidential Election?
Obama/Biden: 20
McCain/Palin: 16
Not Voting: 4
Nader/Gonzalez: 1
Undecided: 1

If you had $100 who would you bet will win the 2008 Presidential Election?
Obama/Biden: 33
McCain/Palin: 8
No Answer: 1

*I guess we will see tomorrow!!!!!!!

*Also: Meeting Tuesday night @ 9:30 in the library!
**** For the meeting: bring main points about each chapter for discussion!!!!

Hey ladies, I talked to Group B (Kayla G) and we are going to take a poll on the upcoming election. The poll will take place on Wed Oct. 28 and will feature these two questions:

Who are you voting for?

If you had $100 who would you bet on to win?

I will make these handouts and bring them to class tom. We also need to make a meeting time for later this week.

Election Poll by ktaltmnnktaltmnn, 28 Oct 2008 17:54

Globalization of the Local
Main Worry- “globalization means Americanization.”
“Innovate without having to emigrate”
Internet- access to local community
-online newspapers
-phones SKYPE

If It’s Not Happening, It’s Because You’re Not Doing It.
Companies don’t manage their own reputations.
Old paradigm vs. new paradigm
Grameen Bank
Digital Divide Data
The Flat Classroom Project

If It’s Not Happening It’s Because You’re Not Doing It
Andrew Rasiej
Google Earth- Bahrain’s Government
Activists partnering multinational corporations

Globalization of the LocalRelated to Fashion
Designers Inspired by different cultures and local communities
No need to even travel

Technology and the Fashion Industry &
“After dragging their stilettos for years, fashion designers are starting to embrace online tools. Fashion cycles are faster, and designers want help scoping out competitors’ designs, discovering trends, experimenting with colors and fabrics and mocking up designs. Trend forecasting publications, which designers have relied on for four decades to scout new trends, are trying to bolster their own businesses by offering Web sites with real-time video and photos, downloadable sketches and prints, and collaboration and design tools” (New York Times Reporter Claire Miller, 2008).

Overall Idea
Flattening of the world has opened up opportunities to share ideas  
Opened opportunities in the Fashion Industry’s job market  
Great communication & sharing the best of skills

How this can effect us as individuals
There are two sides to every story:

Side 1: The flattening of the world could lend to more boring monotonous every day products.

Slide 2: The flattening of the world could nourish diversity.

Globalization can effect us as individuals
Even by the candy we eat!!
-The 2001 Cocoa Protocol promoted labels certifying chocolate product as “child labor free.”

Globalization can effect us as individuals continued ….
- International health policy
Job opportunities/economy

*1990’s we got all the upside of globalization.

  • Now were getting some of the downside.
Ashley Huber Slides I worked on by FAS493FAS493, 27 Oct 2008 18:54

Just for thought here are my discussion questions:
1. “With most things the average is mediocrity. With decision making, it’s often excellence” (pg 11). Can you think of a scenario this does not apply? If not, why do you think this is true?
2. The search engine, Google, is ruled by the “Wisdom of Crowds”. Are there any other sites ruled this way? Fashion related?
3. With decision markets available and proof that they are frequently correct. Why don’t companies look to them for market research instead of conducting their own?
4. Surowiecki writes that diversity is very important in the decision making process and having all experts may lead to reduced creative ideas. Demographic Winter states that families are having fewer children and investing more into each child to make them experts in their field. Will all of these experts and less crowds affect the creative future of the world? Technology? Fashion? Politics?
5. “As time passes the market winnows out the winners and losers, effectively choosing which technologies will flourish and which will disappear” (pg 26). What products have we seen change or disappear due to market response? How can we see this at work in the fashion industry?

Globalization and Child Labor:
The Cause Can Also Be A Cure
By Susan Ariel Aaronson *
March 13, 2007
In providing jobs for millions of Africans, the globalized chocolate industry must also avoid engaging child labor.

Many chocolate lovers still have a bitter taste in their mouths from revelations that the candies they adore might have been produced by child labor in West Africa. In an ensuing uproar, cocoa producers, traders, suppliers, governments, unions and civil-society groups agreed to a solution brokered by two members of Congress. In 2001, they created a multi-sectoral partnership, the Cocoa Protocol, to address the conditions that perpetuate forced child labor on these cacao plantations. Yet five years later, children still toil, picking cacao in unsafe and unfair conditions. Clearly, a sector-specific strategy cannot address the broad cultural, social and economic factors in West Africa that perpetuate child labor.

The number of children forced to labor in the cacao plantations is small. In 2000, the US State Department, Knight Ridder and the BBC reported that some 15,000 children worked in conditions of forced labor picking beans in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Trafficked from extremely poor countries, like Mali and Burkina Faso, the children worked on some of the 1.5 million small cocoa farms in West Africa. These farms produce more than half the world's cacao that's processed into candy, cookies or cocoa butter used for cosmetics. Consumers and regulators don't know how to protect these child workers without jeopardizing the livelihoods of millions of their compatriots.

The news that forced labor was used to produce chocolate, a clear violation of existing legislation, raised a red flag for US policymakers as well as processors and manufacturers of cocoa products. Under the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act of 1930, the US Customs Service is supposed to refuse entry to any goods identified as made by forced labor. But it rarely investigates or interdicts such products. Congressman Elliott Engel and Senator Tom Harkin pursued a new tactic. The House passed legislation requiring the US Food and Drug Administration to develop a social label to reassure consumers that their cocoa products were free of child labor.

However, before the Senate could act, a panicked chocolate industry appealed for a non-legislative solution. The industry feared the US chocolate market, with some $13 billion in sales, would collapse if the bill became law. Harkin and Engel wanted to address child labor without undermining the fragile economies in question. They recognized that in the Ivory Coast alone, some 7 million individuals were engaged in cacao-related economic activity; but less than 1% of these workers were children. They also understood that a collapse of this trade could exacerbate rather than address the root factors - illiteracy, poverty and lack of economic alternatives - that perpetuate exploitation in the cocoa sector.

In September 2001, after intense negotiations, plantation owners, cacao traders and processors and chocolate manufacturers agreed to implement the Cocoa Protocol. All of the major chocolate company firms signed on and agreed to work with unions, civil society and government officials in a multi-sectoral partnership designed to ensure that all cocoa bean products are grown and processed without violating international accepted labor standards. Moreover, the signatories to the Protocol agreed to develop and put in place a certification to assure consumers that processed cacao was not produced in these conditions by July 1, 2005. But the companies did not meet that deadline. They were hampered by civil war in the Ivory Coast and the non-participation of companies that use cacao for cocoa butter products such as cosmetics firms.

After an in-depth investigation of conditions of cacao plantations in Ivory Coast in 2006, BBC reporter Humphrey Hawksley found little evidence that industry efforts were changing farm conditions and concluded: "No one is in charge of the efforts put in place under the Cocoa Protocol. There's no place the buck stops. In the cocoa belt, it's only a short drive to find children working with machetes amid some of the worst poverty anywhere in the world."

Some NGOs and activists are frustrated and want to abandon the Protocol. The International Labor Rights Fund filed suit against Nestlé, ADM and Cargill. Meanwhile, other NGOs such as Global Exchange want governments to adopt a social label and ban imports of cacao that can't be shown to be fairly traded. But a government approved or sanctioned social label is not a panacea. Although some countries, namely Belgium and South Africa, have put in place social labels for manufactured goods, they have not done so for bulk commodities such as cacao where it is difficult to separate out those commodities legitimately produced and those not. Moreover, policymakers don't yet know if such social labels could be challenged as a trade distortion at the WTO. In the face of these concerns, the two legislators as well as some NGOs such as Free the Slaves and the National Child Labor Coalition are willing to wait another year for the chocolate industry to develop its certification.

Forty-two countries in the chocolate supply chain endorsed the protocol and abide by its strictures. Industrialized country governments, international organizations, chocolate companies and foundations provide money and expertise to resolve complex problems in the sector. Under the watchful eye of Protocol participants, Ghana and the Ivory Coast have stepped up efforts to monitor labor conditions, reduce or eliminate school fees, and invest in the education of local children. Meanwhile, in countries such as Mali that have exported child labor, government officials teach families how they can raise family incomes if they let their kids go to school. These efforts are beginning to address the supply-side factors that can perpetuate forced child labor in the cocoa sector, while pushing cocoa processors and manufacturers on the demand side to stop procuring cacao from farms where forced child labor exists. And the changes do not undermine the cacao trade that sustains so many West Africans.

But a sector-specific strategy cannot address the economic and cultural factors that perpetuate forced child labor in West Africa: First, because of an oversupply of cacao, the real price of cacao remains low by historic standards. West African farmers have little leverage to bargain effectively for higher prices and thus they try to reap cost efficiencies from their workers. Secondly, the Protocol cannot address the cultural mores that perpetuate child labor in the countries of West Africa. Lacking educational opportunities, parents view their children as an extra hand, not as individuals who deserve time for education or play. Childhood is both a construct and a luxury good, available only to children of adults who earn sufficient livelihoods for their families as a whole.

Consequently, while the Cocoa Protocol may reduce child labor in one sector, it cannot guarantee that children won't continue to work in other sectors. Their exploitation will only stop when policymakers in the industrialized and developing world meet their human-rights obligations and enforce the law; when companies take responsibility for their supply chains and develop strategies to ensure that their suppliers don't rely on forced labor; and finally, when policymakers address the lack of opportunities, power, and education as well as cultural mores that allow individuals to be abused. The Cocoa Protocol offers a model as to how policymakers working in collaboration with industry, unions and civil society, might address these problems in one sector without distorting trade. But it's just a sector-specific start.

Very accurate and very sad. We should be teaching and learning at least at par with the top countries or we are going to fall behind, farther than we already have.

Re: Cartoon by FAS493FAS493, 27 Oct 2008 02:50
Re: Group E
FAS493FAS493 27 Oct 2008 02:46
in discussion Group E / Group Discussions » Group E

Questions for the presentation in reference to how globalization can effect us as individuals:
Do you think it is a positive and why?
Do you think it is a negative and why?

Re: Group E by FAS493FAS493, 27 Oct 2008 02:46

I want to talk about the possible effects on the economy for each candidate… is it true that democratic presidents usually have a positive effect on the economy? -Michaela

Re: Election by FAS493FAS493, 27 Oct 2008 02:34
Re: Group E
MwagamanMwagaman 27 Oct 2008 00:16
in discussion Group E / Group Discussions » Group E

For those who were not at the meeting I just wanted to let you know that Meg emailed everyone the powerpoint and Emily is going to email the paper to everyone as well as post it on the wiki. Here is a breakdown of the powerpoint:
Ashley Huber: Slides 1, 21 (Ashley is going to introduce the group then everyone will introduce themselves)
Morgan Epperson: Slides 2, 3, 4, and 11 (with Janna?)
Milena Linker: Slides 5, 6, 7
Janna Merciel: Slides 8, 9, 10, and 11 (with Morgan)
Emily Pierce: Slides 12, 13, 14
Meg Manderschied: Slides 15, 16
Megan Wagaman: Slides 17, 18, 19
Marijke Buitink: Slides 20, 22
Jane Zacharitz: Slides 23, 24
Michaela Ragains: Slides 25, 26, 27

Re: Group E by MwagamanMwagaman, 27 Oct 2008 00:16
Re: Group E- Paper!
epierceepierce 27 Oct 2008 00:15
in discussion Group E / Group Discussions » Group E

Running head: The Flat World

The Flat World:
Developing Countries, Companies, & You

Group E:
Marijke Buitink
Morgan Epperson
Ashley Huber
Milena Linker
Meg Manderschied
Janna Merciel
Emily Pierce
Michaela Ragains
Megan Wagaman
Jane Zachritz

27 October 2008
Courtney Cothren
The flattening world affects almost everything and everyone in one way or another. Its affects are felt in developing countries, companies, and you. The flattening world’s effect can be positive or negative. The positive aspects can be achieved if all the players are willing to invest the time and resources it will take to profit from the flattening world. However, the flattening of the world can also be negative if these areas are not able or willing to change. Regardless of whether developing countries, companies, and you are ready for a flattened world it is a reality and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. No matter how removed it seems the flattened world affects the fashion industry greatly which in turn affects us all. The jobs we will get, where our clothing is made, how much it costs, the list goes on forever affecting everyone in all walks of life. The flattening of the world is like the domino effect, in which everything is interconnected.
Developing Countries and the Flat World
Reform Wholesale & Reform Retail
One prominent flattener, the fall of the Berlin Wall, made world leaders realize that “open and competitive markets are the only sustainable vehicle for growing a nation out of poverty” (Friedman, 2007, p. 409). David Dollar in a paper for the World Bank found, "the evidence from individual cases and from cross-country analysis supports the view that globalization leads to faster growth and poverty reduction in poor countries" (Americas, 2007). For example, “in 1990, 375 million people in China were living on less than $1 a day. By 2001, that number had dropped to 212 million people (Friedman, 2007). Compare these figures to sub-Saharan Africa, where globalization has been slow to take hold; in 1990, 227 million people were living on less than $1 a day there, and in 2001, that number had raised to 313 million” (Friedman, 2007, p. 410). According to Friedman (2007) “poor people grow out of poverty when their governments create an environment in which educated workers and capitalists have the physical and legal infrastructure that makes it easy to start a business, raise capital, and become entrepreneurs, and when they subject their people to at least some competition from beyond- because companies and countries with competitors always innovate more, better, and faster” (p. 413).
Friedman (2007) states that in order to provide cheap, productive labor, and participate in the flattening world a country must have four basics rights: infrastructure, education, governance, and environment (p. 419). First, the country must have an infrastructure that is capable of connecting its people to the flat world- meaning available bandwidth, mobile phones, and access to airports and roads (Friedman, 2007, p. 408). Second, the country must have a growing educational system that allows more people the ability to innovate and collaborate (Friedman, 2007, p. 408). Third, a proper government is needed to manage the flow of information and products between its people and the flat world in the most productive way possible (Friedman, 2007). Finally, the country must be mindful of how it treats its natural environment for obvious reasons but also because the fact that they are more likely to preserve and attract knowledge workers (Friedman, 2007).
Two aspects of economics a developing country must take into account are reform wholesale and reform retail. Reform wholesale is most noticeable in countries like China, Russia, Mexico, and India (Friedman, 2007). Through the use of an authoritarian political system, leaders push their countries into export-oriented, free-market strategies (Friedman, 2007). They privatize business, deregulate financial markets, encourage foreign direct investment, shrink subsidies, lower protectionist tariffs, and introduce more flexible labor laws (Friedman, 2007, p. 409).
“Presuming that a country has already completed reform wholesale, reform retail looks at infrastructure, education, governance, and upgrades each one, so people the legal framework to innovate and collaborate at the highest levels” (Friedman, 2007, p. 412). According to Friedman (2007) there are five steps to successful reform retail. First, a country must “simplify and deregulate wherever possible in competitive markets, because competition for consumers and workers can be the best source of pressure for best practices, and overregulation just opens the door for corrupt bureaucrats to demand bribes” (Friedman, 2007, p. 416). Second, a country must “focus on enhancing property rights” (Friedman, 2007, p. 416). Adults must be able to leave their home to find jobs, rather than staying home to protect land and house. Third, a country must expand the use and availability of the Internet (Friedman, 2007). Fourth, a country must be willing to “reduce the courts involvement in business relations” (Friedman, 2007, p. 416). Finally, reform retail must be a continuous process to succeed (Friedman, 2007).
A country that has developed well and will continue to succeed as the world flattens is Ireland. One major beginning factor is their well-educated workforce. In the 1960s, they eliminated the fee for secondary education and in 1996, Ireland “made public college education basically free” (Friedman, 2007, p.418). This resulted in the success of over half of the world’s top pharmaceutical, medical device, and software firm companies being located in Ireland; making it the second richest country in the European Union. In addition to the other changes Ireland made in order to overcome financial difficulties faced in the 1980s, flexible labor laws made an important difference. This is because other companies are looking for not only cheap labor, but also the highest productivity for their money.
Additionally Ireland has held on to its culture as the world has flattened and continues to do so. A country’s culture is a suprisingly important characteristic and “the more you have a culture that naturally glocalizes- that is, the more your culture easily absorbs foreign ideas and global best practices and melds those with its own traditions-the greater advantage you have in a flat world” (Friedman, 2007, p.422). Cultures that have the natural ability to glocalize are the Indian, American, Japanese, and Chinese cultures. Ones that have been struggling are Arab-Muslim countries and cultures. They will have to learn that not adopting or adapting to another culture will stick them in the same position they have always been in while everyone else advances around them. Change is nothing to be feared but rather must be embraced in order to survive in the flat world.
In Cairo, nothing seems to change economically or geographically from year to year, yet after a year a city in China is virtually unrecognizable compared to the previous year. Why is this? “The basic formula for economic success is reform wholesale, then reform retail, good governance, education, infrastructure, and the ability to globalize” (Friedman, 2007, p.427). After knowing this then why does one country seem to put itself together and grow rapidly, while others don’t seem to change at all? This is where the term “the intangible things” comes into play. “The intangibles are primarily two factors. First, a society’s willingness to pull together and sacrifice for the sake of economic development and second, the presence in a society of leaders with the vision to see what needs to be done and the power to push it rather than preserve the status quo” (Friedman, 2007, p. 427). China and Taiwan are examples of countries that have been successful in focusing on economic development while Egypt has been “distracted by ideology and local feuds” and thus been unsuccessful in developing within the flat world (Friedman, 2007, p. 427). Of course a country cannot neglect its history, geography, and culture to adopt a new of way of life in the flat world. Each country must find a way to use its resources to grow in the flat world but also still hold onto its history and culture.
Mexico is an example of a country working towards reform and the intangibles but unfortunately is not succeeding. When compared with China, Mexico should have been a thriving economic environment in a flat world. Mexico stands next to the U.S., which has the largest and most powerful economy and many valued natural resources. In comparison, China is thousands of miles away, has few natural resources, debt trouble and constant overpopulation, making it an illogical economic hot spot. However, Mexico has faced an economic slow down since it initially began its reform while China has not only caught up to Mexico but taken exceeded them in economic growth and is on its way to competing with America.
Fashion Companies and the Flat World
Fashion companies in the United States must pay close attention to the countries they decide to work with. The fashion industry reaches many parts of the globe, affecting thousands of lives each day. The potential for the fashion industry to aid in the advancement of globalization and help raise the standard of living worldwide is great. While making sure the countries in which the fashion industry does business with are keeping up with the “four basics”- infrastructure, education, governance, and environment, it is extremely important that developed countries such as the United States also follow the “four basics” outlined by Friedman. “The jobs are going to go where the best-educated workforce is with the most competitive infrastructure and environment for creativity and supportive government” (Friedman, 2007, p.420). By meeting the criteria of the “four basics”, a country is making a pleasurable working environment, gaining an impressive reputation that more companies will want to work with. “In a flat world, the division of labor is steadily becoming more and more complex, with a lot more people interacting with a lot of other people they don’t know and may never meet” (Friedman, 2007, p.423). This relates to fashion because there is so much off shore production that is done between many different countries. Many parties are involved with garment production and throughout the production they are faced with many challenges such as having to learn to cross communication barriers, transmit ideas, follow government regulations, company policies, all while most likely not ever meeting the person. The flat world has changed how many people do business and particularly within the fashion industry.
Companies and the Flat World
Economist Paul Romer states, “Everyone wants economic growth, but nobody wants change.” “Unfortunately you cannot have one without the other” (Friedman, 2007, p. 441). According to Friedman (2007), the companies that have managed to survive in the flat world are those that have adapted the best to change and those that take full advantage of the flat world’s possibilities. Chapter eleven examines eight rules that companies in the flat world live by.
Rule #1: “When the world is flat, whatever can be done will be done. The only question is whether it will be done by you or to you.”
Since the flattening of the world, people are now able to connect at any time of day across all geographic and legal boundaries. This connectivity brings lower costs and the ability to ‘shop around’, more innovative and widespread ideas, larger markets and workforces, and a quick circulation of ideas. Many multinational companies are now spreading their operations out across the world in order to reduce risk and to take advantage of each country’s resources and specializations. Entrepreneurs entering into the flat world do not have to worry about geographic location as a barrier to resources, employees, or their market. “All I had to think about [when I started this company] was: Where was the best resource to get something done,” said global entrepreneur Arijit Sengupta (Friedman, 2007, p. 447). These new business models that allow individuals and companies of any size to compete on a global scale are unlike any before and show that “whatever can be done is being done” (Friedman, 2007, p. 447).
Rule #2: “Because we are in a world where whatever can be done will be done, the most important competition today is between you and your own imagination.”
It is no longer a CEO who makes all the decisions in a company and it is no longer large companies that rule the market. Today, individuals either employees or customers are allowed to ‘stretch their imagination to create new products and services’ that cater to a more specific market (Friedman, 2007). While companies are still competing with each other, it is the competition within one’s self that is driving the new innovative changes in today’s marketplace. Because an individual is now capable of doing so much more than he or she used to, we no longer rely on companies to show us what they are capable of. Instead we are showing them what we want and what we, as individuals, are capable of.
Rule #3: “And the small shall act big… One way small companies flourish in the flat world is by learning to act really big. Imagination is necessary, but not sufficient. You have to be able to implement what you imagine. And the key to being small and acting big is being quick to take advantage of all the new tools of collaboration to reach farther, faster, wider and deeper.”
Friedman uses the example of Fadi Ghandour, founder of DHL, to illustrate a small company acting big. In Ghandour’s case the flattening of the world allowed for his company to be able to compete with a large company through the use of technology, imagination, and a competitive edge. He was able to cut costs that his competitor was not and also used technology that was ahead of his competitor’s. “You don’t need to be a giant, you can find a niche, and technology will enable us to compete with the big boys” (Friedman, 2007, p. 453). Ghandour is just one example of a small company who recognized that the rules of the flat world were different than before and that he could take advantage of what it had to offer in order to maximize his business. Ghandour stated, “I was big locally and small internationally—and I reversed that” (Friedman, 2007, p. 454).
Rule #4: “And the big shall act small…One way that big companies learn to flourish in the flat world is by learning how to act really small by enabling their customers to act really big.”
The birth of the “self-directed consumer” is an attribute of the flat world that has truly changed the way businesses operate. Now, “instead of companies being in control of consumers’ behavior, consumers are in control of the companies’ behavior” (Friedman, 2007, p. 456). Large companies are acting small by allowing customers to make their own decisions. Companies are setting up a “buffet” for their customers in which they “serve themselves.” Friedman (2007) points out, “They [companies] are actually making their customers their employees and having them pay the company for that pleasure at the same time” (p. 455). Although it seems like an oxymoron this business model has proven to be a success. Take Starbucks for an example; It offers convenience, independence, and creativity to customers all the while allowing the company to act small and the customer to act big.
Rule #5: “The best companies are the best collaborators. In the flat world, more and more business will be done through collaborations within and between companies, for a very simple reason: The next layers of value creation- whether in technology, marketing, biomedicine, or manufacturing- are becoming so complex that no single firm or department is going to be able to master them alone.”
Vivek Paul, Wipro President, accurately describes the changes between today’s companies and those of the ‘old days.’ In summary he said that in the ‘old days’ when you started a company you hoped that in twenty years you would be a multinational company but today you are a multinational company on the second day you’re in business (Friedman, 2007). In order to collaborate, companies are partnering together to take advantage of the specialties within each organization. It is impossible to specialize in every aspect of a business and that is why companies are synthesizing within industries and even within individual companies. For example, Apple takes advantage of what Steve Jobs calls a “deep collaboration” or “cross-pollination” in which all departments work together simultaneously instead of in an assembly line model (Friedman, 2007). Diversity within the working environment tends to lead towards more innovative ideas and products. Collaboration within a company can be beneficial in many ways. Just a few benefits that can come from collaboration include “a unified face to customers, faster internal decision making, reduced costs through shared resources, and the development of more innovative products” (Hughes & Weiss, 2005).
Rule #6: “In a flat world, the best companies stay healthy by getting regular chest X-Rays and then selling the results to their clients.”
Because the world is changing faster than ever before businesses have to keep up the pace. According to IBM vice president for business consulting services, Laurie Tropiano, having a regular ‘chest X-Ray’ means that companies are “constantly identifying and strengthening their niches and outsourcing the stuff that is not very differentiating” (Friedman, 2007, p. 461). In other words companies are breaking down each component of their business in order to verify which parts are being done efficiently in relation to cost and time and which components would be more beneficial to outsource. The idea is to outsource the components that a company is not strong in or that is costing it more money than it should and use the money saved by outsourcing to focus on core competencies. In order for a business to grow “we need to be continually looking at every phase of our operation to see where we can make changes that will achieve savings. Not all of these changes will result in large savings, but when added up they can have a significant affect on the bottom line” (Welsch, 2006, p. 30).
Rule #7: “The best companies outsource to win, not to shrink. They outsource to innovate faster and more cheaply in order to grow larger, gain market share, and hire more and different specialists- not to save money by firing more people.”
The most successful and the majority of companies today outsource to gain knowledge and to provide customers with a better product or service. The idea behind outsourcing, as stated by Friedman (2007), is to “find ways to leverage what is in India with the best of what is in North Dakota with the best of what is in Los Angeles” (p. 467). Customers now have more of a demand and are able to browse different options globally, which means that businesses that are not outsourcing are not meeting demands. According to Dov Seidman, “This [decision to use outsourcing] is all about playing offense, not defense” (p. 467).
Outsourcing Within the Fashion Industry
This relates to the fashion industry in many ways. As Jennifer Marks puts it these are the “Retail Olympics, a global competition pitting the world’s savviest merchants, designers, manufacturers, importers and exporters against one another in a quest to bring to market hot new products at reasonable prices” (Marks, 2008, p. 38). If companies do not outsource they will not be able to compete with those companies that do outsource. It takes outsourcing for companies to be able to give customers what they want, when they want, at the price they want.
Outsourcing to get the best of everything is becoming easier than ever before. This is because more and more technologies are being created to make communicating and collaborating with others easier. This is especially true in the fashion industry. Now every important decision maker and supplier in the ‘concept-to-retail value chain’ is able to communicate with one another as if they were sitting next to each other. Because of this the fashion industry is able to outsource more jobs to those that specialize in specific fields (Parker, 2008, p. 37).
Rule #8: “HOW you do things as a company matter more today than ever.”
Friedman (2007) states that one reason it is important how a company does business is because almost everything within a business can be commoditized and copied (p. 468). It is no longer enough to rely on competitive pricing or service; now businesses must differentiate themselves from one another by how they do business. According to Seidman, “When it comes to conduct – the hows—there is still tremendous variation in the marketplace. And where variation exists, opportunity exists” (p. 468). Today, thanks to blogs and easily accessible customer reviews, customers are in control of measuring how well a company does business, not the companies’ marketing and PR firms.
Effects on the United States
How a company does business is especially important today while the United States is going through an economic downturn. Businesses now more than ever have to be different to be successful. For a business to succeed during times of economic downturn they must remember that “most distribution share growth happens going into a recession or coming out of a recession, not at the top or bottom of an economic cycle, those who react to cycle changes first will gain share over those who do not, those who understand best practice and have invested in their employees through development and training will maintain competitive advantage and grow market share by taking it from the competition” (Johnson, 2008, p. 184).
Leaders are important to the success of a business no matter what is going on with the economy; so when the economy is going through hard times, leadership is even more important. During times of economic downturns “people who get results are high-impact leaders. They are consistent, explicit and concise and they command a presence when they walk into a room. They have enough charisma and leadership insight to create success even in the tough times. When they move on, others want to go with them. They have a following. Their openness and honesty create a legacy that people admire and look up to. They gain commitment and foster trust” (Johnson, 2008, p.184). In order to be successful, especially during an economic downturn, you have to be more than just better than the competition, you must be different from your competition. Businesses must take advantage of the opportunity presented during these times of economic downturn. “This could involve anything from new technologies to market segmentation to development of new channels to taking of the competition’s weaknesses that may be accelerated due to the declining economy. It is all about the improvement and finding newer and better ways of doing things” (Johnson, 2008, p. 184). Basically, businesses can still succeed even when the economy is not. The keys to success during these times are leadership and differentiation.
Rule #9: “When the world goes flat- and you are feeling flattened- reach for a shovel and dig inside yourself. Don't try to build walls.”
Although many companies originated before the flattening of the world and may be reluctant to adapt to the changes, they are being forced into it. There are more choices available to customers at their fingertips than ever before. Companies have to constantly restructure to cater to this ever-changing market. Like Ken Greer, a business owner who was forced to compete in the flat world, many companies are changing their way of doing business just to survive. Companies must become horizontally integrated and not just focusing on ‘what they are able to do’ but rather how they do it (Friedman, 2007).
You and the Flat World
As globalization grew rapid after the Berlin Wall came down, so did the global fear that the face of globalization would be America. One large monoculture was the worlds fear, Friedman (2007) explains the fear perfectly when he states, “it seemed like the homogenizing-Americanizing forces were destined to triumph. Globalization would have an American face, an American look, and an American taste” (p. 478). The world has this fear that America can single handedly destroy all diversity that the world holds and everyone would then be the same. People across the world would wear the same clothes, listen to the same news and speak the same language, English. Thankfully, the argument against this theory is one that is supported by many accredited examples.
Cultural Revolution
Globalization is allowing in an unimagined way to spread culture and talent across the world. Friedman (2007) explains the flat world as a pizza, “It is just a flat piece of dough on which every culture puts its own distinctive foods and flavors. So Japan has sushi pizza and Bangkok has Thai pizza and Lebanon has mezze pizza” (p. 478-479). When the global community can take one thing and specialize it to what they like and what they are good at it actually encourages diversity and helps to keep local traditions and languages alive. Globalization is the opposite force against a monoculture; instead of people having to leave the native country, cultures, and beliefs to receive good jobs in far away countries like before, countries are now sending their jobs overseas to them. They can now stay near their original communities and families and work a good job with out being uprooted and sent half way across the world.
The effects of markets moving globally through outsourcing and off shoring have created amazing opportunities in countries where these opportunities were not available before. India is now the main outsourcer for cartoon animation and video game design. A country that was short on companies and jobs all around now has the opportunities of new jobs that have created new money, which in turn helps creativity thrive. The flattening of the world has encouraged local artists across the globe to refine their skills and share them with the global community; it has provided humans across the world to solicit their talents to anywhere and anyone that they wish. Take Google as an example, “Google is available in 116 different languages, from Arabic to Zulu to several versions of Chinese (Friedman, 2007, p. 483).” The flat world is helping unique and diverse cultures grow and thrive.
Podcasting is a new idea that will continue to increase in quality and affect more and more people including those within the fashion industry. Skilled workers are no longer longing for work in America. Founder of Toodou, China’s leading podcasting Web site, Gary Wang tells Friedman, “With the same amount of money, I can do ten times more here… I can live on $1000 a month in Shanghai and have the latest technology and all these servers- anything you can find in the U.S. is here” (p. 486). Electronic media creates exceptional communication between factories overseas. Deepak Ganguly, a computer artist, tells Friedman, “With all the easy sharing in the electronic media, we can get work here easier, we can send our skills over there easier” (p. 482).
Globalizing the Local
“Globalizing the local” does not mean taking culture out of the local communities but is actually doing the exact opposite by keeping jobs at home and bringing technology and opportunities to places that would not have them if it were not for the flattening of the world. It is bringing the rest of the world the cultures, beliefs and designs of the other smaller cultures. Friedman (2007) explains that globalization, contrary to what most critics believe, has not depleted local communities of rich culture. A perfect example of this is in fashion. Because of globalization, more and more people have been traveling around the world, including designers. For decades, designers have taken inspiration from foreign cultures around the world. African tribal batiks, Middle Eastern headdresses, and Oriental ceremony gowns are among many influences for major fashion trends in the past few years.’s review of Ralph Lauren’s latest Spring 2009 RTW collection reinforces this idea, “Down came last season's gold antlers and up went a Moroccan lamp: Ralph Lauren looked to North Africa for spring” (Phelps, 2008). Today, travel is no longer required to discover different inspirations from across the world; Designers, as well as trend forecasters, can easily obtain information and footage of these people and their cultural practices by entering a couple key words into Google or YouTube. Friedman (2007) explains how Google, podcasts, webcams, and Microsoft Movie Maker have made spreading ideas easy and inexpensive.
Flattened Awareness
Globalization has allowed us to become aware of negative things that go on in the world, like sweatshops, child labor, human sex trade, and the degrading of millions of people globally. Globalization affects everything around us today; it has even affected the candy we eat. In the article “Globalization and Child Labor: The Cause Can Also Be A Cure,” it is argued that even though economic globalization has allegedly led to forced child labor, political globalization can end it through general public knowledge and opinion. The 2001 Cocoa Protocol promoted labels certifying chocolate products as “child labor free” (Aaronson, 2007); these labels came about because of a global uproar over the human rights violations in the cacao industry. Aaronson (2007) argues that to end child labor there would have to be an integrated approach by government officials, companies, and the public. Topics of abuse are being spread rapidly through the use of many sources found on the Internet. The only way to fight the negatives that hide behind the positives of globalization is to educate and inform those indirectly harmed as well as those who buy the products that come from these sorts of labors.
The flattening of the world gave activism a tool to put in its arsenal. The Internet has allowed for the single activist idea to go globally for basically no cost at all. The global activist has been born and they fight whatever, whoever and whenever they want. Companies are forced to acknowledge people with concerns about their company and the way that they are conducting their business. A good example of this is TXU a Texas power company. Friedman (2007) explains how TXU didn’t understand some of the new things that have happened through the technologization of the flat world, “it didn’t understand that it could not manage its own reputation simply by putting out a press release…ordinary people could shape TXU’s image on a global basis through the web” (p. 491). This is placing a greater social responsibility on companies; unfortunately for corporations even the best PR department in the world cannot counter act the effect of your actions. Even our medical options have been effected by globalization. Ollila (2005) noticed that international health policy-making has been moving from the public and toward the private division, which is in the interest of “transnational corporations and their shareholders,” not the individual seeking health care. This, she says, “weakens the effectiveness of regulation and accountability in policy-making” (Ollila, 2005). Now that citizens can highlight these as problems and show facts and figures on the Web and create entire interest groups, medical policy making will be forced to change as well.
Technological Effects
Technology in the flat world has helped companies and industries take leaps and bounds from where they have been in just the past ten years. In the fashion industry today there are many opportunities for more of a technological fashion job market. Web designers for trend forecasting publications such as Style and WGSN are crucial to the industry. New York Times Reporter Claire Miller writes,
“After dragging their stilettos for years, fashion designers are starting to embrace online tools. Fashion cycles are faster, and designers want help scoping out competitors’ designs, discovering trends, experimenting with colors and fabrics and mocking up designs. Trend forecasting publications, which designers have relied on for four decades to scout new trends, are trying to bolster their own businesses by offering Web sites with real-time video and photos, downloadable sketches and prints, and collaboration and design tools” (Miller, 2008).
It is no doubt that globalization and rise in technology go hand and hand. With tools such as Google, YouTube, webcams, and moviemakers, all aspects of the fashion industry have been effected, and will continue to as technology morphs over time.
Technology has also opened the door for social entrepreneur-activist. Friedman (2007) is quoted several times saying, “If it’s not happening, it’s because you’re not doing it.” By this he means that every person young, old, rich or poor has the opportunity to raise money for what they want (p. 492). If a high school student in China wants to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa then they can get online and start a website, podcast or blog. Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for starting the Grameen Bank. Yunus is stunning example of the social entrepreneur-activist. The Grameen Bank is a bank that gives out micro loans- loans as small as ten dollars. “At the Grameen Bank, ninety-seven percent of the borrowers are women and the payback rate is ninety-eight percent” (Friedman, 2007, p. 494). This payback rate is beyond miraculous, but the women are so thankful for the opportunity that they pay back the loan the minute that they are able. There are several types of this social entrepreneurship; Friedman (2007) explains one of them as the, “if-I-build-it-they-will-benefit model.” An example of these types is the company Digital Divide Data, a company that hires locals in Phnom Penh to take printed material received from all over the world including the United States and digitalize them. They pay their employees seventy-five dollars, which is well over the average income for other jobs in Cambodia (Friedman, 2007). High school teachers are even taking advantage of the flat world and using the current technology to allow students in America to communicate and do a class project with student across the world in Bangladesh. These students use wiki sites for discussion and, “Students and teachers also used VoIP (Skype), IM chat, Myspace (to connect), Evoca (to share audio), YouTube, Google Video, Dropload (to transfer files)…” (Friedman, 2007, p. 502).
The flattening of the world, like the domino effect, when something affects one thing it affects everything. Developing countries, companies, and you are all impacted in the flattening of the world. The question is whether the flattened world will benefit or hurt each of these components. Each face their own unique set of challenges within the flat world, but if they slowly adapt to the changes they are likely to benefit in the long run. In conclusion, there is nothing that can be done to stop this flattening from taking place. The best approach for everyone to take is to embrace the change and reap the benefits that a flattened world can bring. Change is scary but inevitable and something we must accept if we do not want to be left behind.

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