And therein lies a tale of technology and geoeconomics that is fundamentally reshaping our lives — much, much more quickly than many people realise. It all happened while we were sleeping, or rather while we were focused on 9/11, the dot-com bust and Enron — which even prompted some to wonder whether globalisation was over. Actually, just the opposite was true, which is why it’s time to wake up and prepare ourselves for this flat world, because others already are, and there is no time to waste.
In 1492 Christopher Columbus set sail for India, going west. He had the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. He never did find India, but he called the people he met “Indians” and came home and reported to his king and queen: “The world is round.” I set off for India 512 years later. I knew just which direction I was going. I went east. I had Lufthansa business class, and I came home and reported only to my wife and only in a whisper: “The world is flat.”