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A Review Of Thomas Friedman's Hot Flat And Crowded

Updated on March 16, 2015

Hot, Flat, and Crowded

The fact of the matter is that I have NOT got down to reading Thomas Friedman’s new book…where he apparently suggests the industries and fields in which we should be investing.

Now I have trouble with anyone telling me where people should be investing, but if the reviews in New York Times, Washington Post and the Salon are to be believed, I am fairly sure I will be buying the book.

"The simplest and shortest way that I can explain it is that 'hot' apparently stands for the increase in global warming, 'flat' appears to be a metaphor for the rise of middle classes all over the world, from India to China to Brazil to Russia, who are now able to consume and produce like Americans, and 'crowded' , of course, is the fact that the population of the planet earth has almost tripled in my lifetime."

Friedman appears to offer a thought- provoking, accessible insight at the impact of wealth transfer from energy consuming to energy producing nations, failed policies, environmentalism, energy-conservation, greenness, and redefining a vision for America, that leave the reader asking questions and demanding solutions. Although some of the ideas presented aren’t new, this book to me appears worth the reader’s time. But not something extra-ordinary..

However, he has lost a lot of his supporters because of his vehement and open supporter of the invasion of Iraq. He later on became an outspoken critic of the war and the Bush administration which upset his credibility

A couple hundred thousand dead Iraqis who died for a "elective" social experiment even more revolting than "collateral damage" inflicted by an incompetent, undermanned, casualty averse US Military trying to accomplish some vague, every shifting "mission."

In short comments in the net call him a raging, pompous, self-justifying, cowardly, intellectual asshole!. I apologize for that, but that's how the majority of net users see him and sadly, that's what he appears to be.

So, I guess a lot of people still can't forgive him for advocating the Iraq war for mental health reasons, because he "felt it in his gut" that it was the right thing to do. Besides America had to strike out against somebody after 9/11. It is just about the most irresponsible thing any columnist could ever perhaps say or write.

Friedman as always is in search of a new bandwagon to pump out his new book - Hot, Flat, and Crowded. This wagon is already full of people who are seriously concerned about our planet earth, but TLF would like to take the reins of this shindig, and drive this buggy straight to the gates of hell, or at least to where the cash is stashed away. Of course, there isn't a good cause that can't be milked.

Now he is writing about a Green Revolution. Even though Al Gore did not invent the internet, he sure is at the forefront of the Green Revolution. Why do we need Thomas Friedman's thinking on the subject? Is he trying to redeem himself?

Jimmy Carter was right about this issue during his term at the office. Al Gore has been pumping this issue for years. John Kerry was right about this issue and who can forget his call for an Apollo program for green energy, back in the 2004 presidential campaign.

Personally, I believe the engine of this whole change is the market and all of the major investment banks have large positions in fossil fuels - in fact, Forbes recently claimed that if those banks were forced to liquidate their positions in fossil fuels, prices would drop to as low as $35-$50 a barrel - and that's what the current bailout is intended to avoid. Goldman Sachs also has huge holdings in fossil fuels, and the recent $5 billion Buffet injection should be viewed in the light of Buffet's extensive energy investments - PetroChina, ConocoPhillips, and Mid-American and Constellation Energy.

In other words, if only energy could be harnessed to take the place of oil . . . guess that is what TLF is trying to get across?

Or speaking as an Indian - The US can just get used to the Third World conditions - In other words the IMF proposes an austerity package for the U.S. as a precondition on a World Bank loan rescue package. Their first demand is that we privatize Social Security and halt all funding for public education. How is that for change?

That said, I used to work in a financial company that got influenced by the 'green committee' - trying to change the way we do business in an environmentally intelligent way. In fact the people involved who are mostly middle class people have basically no urgency or real understanding of what the hell is going on. They treat it like an irritating fad, and easily take 'no' as an answer when trying to change the way the company operates, or more so as they operate.

Unfortunately, most people still do not read or understand and to top it all do not care about science. Rationalism is apparently not their philosophy. In such a situation, how does one visualize environmentalism? Until they have intimate, personal experiences with global climate change - in other words they are scared, vis-à-vis Katrina, it is very unlikely they would do anything

As the apparent "God of Globalization," Friedman understands only too well how interconnected we have become. In other words, the pollution in India's Ganges River could have a direct impact on the quality of life in New York. Every coal factory that China builds, competes for resources with an Indonesian child. And to top it all, every time a woman in Southern California switched on her air conditioner, its effect travels to the Brazilian slums.

In short there is no way we can regulate our way out of this problem, but only innovate. This in turn requires legislation and rules.

But are we really, prepared for that ?

Bottom-line - He definitely is not the mystical seer, second only to that prophetic magician of the middle ages, the amazing Nostradamus, but somehow I like this guy - must be crazy !!

Thomas Friedman

Who Is Thomas Friedman?

Alright, let’s get this straight...

Who is Thomas Friedman and what do you know of him?

Thomas Lauren Friedman or TLF was born on 20th July, 1953. He is an American journalist, neo-liberal columnist and author. Well, now tell me something new!

He apparently is also a contributor to The New York Times and whose column appears twice weekly and mainly addresses topics relating to foreign affairs. TLF [it's easier calling him that as Thomas Lauren Friedman is a mouthful] is known for supporting a compromise resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and of course the modernization of the Arab world, then environmentalism and now globalization.

Thomas Friedman was born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, a suburb of Minneapolis, where he attended the St. Louis Park High School and where he wrote articles for his school's newspaper. While at school, he also managed to interview Ariel Sharon, an Israeli general who later on went to become the Prime Minister of Israel. TLF graduated in 1971. He later on when to attend the St Antony's College at the University of Oxford on a Marshall scholarship, earning an M.Phil., degree in Middle Eastern studies.

And that is not all; this "green revolutionary" is married to the heiress to a shopping center fortune and lives in an 11,000 square foot house in Maryland, valued at over $10 million. Friedman's wife, Ann, a graduate of Stanford University is the daughter of Matthew Bucksbaum, the chairman of the board of General Growth Properties, a real estate development group. The Bucksbaums helped pioneer the development of shopping centers in the United States and as of 2007, Forbes estimated the Bucksbaum family's assets at $4.1 billion that included about 18.6 million square meters of mall space

Phew! TLF is surely set… Am waiting to see when he comes out with a Foundation, that supports his books views - will surely give back his LOST credibility.

He is also a Pulitzer Prize winning writer Friedman who has written a couple of books that include, The Lexus and the Olive Tree which came out in 1999 and introduced thousands to the notion of globalization. So, when the book, The World Is Flat came out nearly everybody was reading it. So his new book Hot, Flat, and Crowded may make it official, for many, that ecology-mindedness is the character of our times.

I used to worship Thomas Friedman until he vocally, vehemently pushed the War in Iraq in line with a social experiment, certain that it would promote democracy in the Middle East. I was so disappointed in his nearsightedness, especially because he had spent his career covering the region.

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