This morning David Brooks wrote a piece in The New York Times called “Globalism Goes Viral” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/opinion/28brooks.html?_r=1&ref=opinion and in that piece I thought he did one thing very well, but strangely I thought he missed an obvious conclusion from that initial point.
The first point was that in this flat world we live in (and he didn’t call it that, and since his office is right next to that of Thomas L. Friedman at that paper, my guess is that he doesn’t have any motivation to further boost Mr. Friedman’s ego), just as it can be great for business for things to happen so fast in a flat world, the dark side is that a virus like the swine flu can also spread just as fast now. I hadn’t thought of it like that before, but he’s right and it is a little scary how important it is that we stay ahead of these things or it will get very bad very fast.
Then he went on to talk about the tradeoffs of managing this swine flu issue in a centralized vs. decentralized manner, concluding that the latter is more sensible. My reaction is that better the solution is embedded in his thesis and that he needs to rethink the choices.
While it may seem like a gray area to some, I think that the right answer for this situation is a third option which is enabled by the flat world and that is a decentralized approach (each government and region figure out what’s best for them), but with a centralized virtual guidance board made up of the heads of the Centers For Disease control here, and their respective counterparts around the world, ensuring that the best and current information about the spread and the cure travel at the speed of light. Literally.
I would love to hear your feedback on this.
P.S. Despite the evidence to the contrary, I don’t get all of my ideas for things to talk about from The New York Times.