Friedman must live in a parallel universe where the world is metaphorically flat. The world that I see through research and first-hand observation is drastically varied with increasing class disparity.
I'm afraid you are the one living in a parallel universe. Either that or you see the world through the dim and self-serving glasses of an old Marxist. (The use of the word "class" gives you away). If you study the statistics on world income and poverty you will find that the world is becomming a better place for more people every year. As globalization continues, the pace will accelerate. All of the world wants to be like the West and the economics will follow. There will always be pockets of starvation and poverty but those will be caused (as they are today) by local politics (despots, mostly) or religion.
When I used the word "class" I was using the term in a broader context and not pledging myself to the particular doctrine of 'necessary class struggle' that Marx is so known for. You say that statistically, globalization (corporate globalization) makes more lives better. Sixteen hours a day in a sweatshop is not necessarily better than life in a primitive tribe. There is no real globalization of the people in this runaway-capitalist paradigm. There is only globalization of mass capital. Many people of the world are beginninig to despise the west. We are not only talking about islamic and religious zealots here. There are ordinary secular members of the world community who don't want to see a Mal*Wart in every town, or the rapid usurpation of natural resources. The people of the world who do want the 'western dream' are usually those in perilous destitution who have been sold the Hollywood fantasy. When such people finally do become westernized (corporatized), they find they've inherited another set of problems, such as ecological damage, wage slavery, and corporate installed or funded despots. Capitalism does not bring democracy, nor does it guarantee human freedom. It has a tendency to guarantee unchecked plundering of new markets.
Yikes, where do I start? My favorite Hollywood fantasy is the one where the happy dancing natives are living an innocent, peaceful life in balance with nature until the evil white men come drag the men off to be slaves, burn down the village, and give diseases to all of the women. Please.... Let's be real here. Most of the history of all of mankind is about brutality both natural and man-made. Disease, famine, infant mortality, tribal war, and wild animals have been the enemies man since the beginning. Life was "stressful" and short. It is only those of us in the West (particularly those born in the last half of the 20th century) who have been spoiled enough with leisure time who have the luxury of arguing as you do. I really wonder if your kid in a primitive tribe would turn down the opportunity to work at a warm, safe and relatively easy job at Wal-Mart. I agree with you that Capitalism by itself is no panacea and can be abusive when mixed with despotism. However, with democracy, rule of law, and protected property rights, it can produce wealth for the indigenous people. Economics is not a zero-sum game. There is always the ability to add more wealth through ingenuity and hard work. No, it does not happen all at once. It takes a generation or two, sometimes more. My great-grandfather came here to be a brick mason. His son was a successful carpenter and electrician. My father was a Dentist. I have time to write this in the middle of the day. None of the generations passed any considerable wealth to the next except for a wealth of experience and the drive for more education. I go on.... One more clarification, if you examine the global maps and statistics, you will find that third-world countries have the greatest environmental destruction and levels of pollution. Remember that Europe was mostly forested two thousand years ago. It's forests were turned into firewood and huts long before "capitalist greed" was ever uttered. The same thing is happening in Kenya and other countries today. It's hard to stop desperately poor people from wanting to expand their farms or cut firewood. China is one of the most polluted countries in the world. It is only in the wealthy parts of the world that there exists the luxury being "green".
Are you kidding me??? Sounds like you need a little perspective in life. Seriously. This is one of the most fallacious arguments I have ever read.
1. Do you think "natives" really know any better? Do you think they know that life could be spent in front of a TV with air conditioning on, while snacking on goods purchased at Wal Mart???? I just can't stop laughing at this. I agree with you, LET'S be real.
2. Before arguing for capitalism so blindly, maybe you should learn a little bit more about it. By DEFINITION capitalism creates inequality AND relies upon it. So let's never fool ourselves into thinking that one MAGICAL day we will all be living in a wonderful middle class where everyone is happy. Hahaha.
3. Are you SERIOUSLY clarifying that if you look at a global map you will find that the greatest env. destruction and levels of pollution are in 3rd world countries? Seriously??? That sentence is just embarassing. OF COURSE it is, and there are two reasons for it. One, the WEST has exploited these countries and sacked them for goods. It is NOT people expanding and cutting firewood. And two, places like China are polluted precisely because they have embraced capitalism too strongly.
As a general piece of advice: Looking at results is not enough, you need to look at causes. Else you are using evidence to perpetuate the ignorance within your head.
I think that were getting away from the topic of the book. It isn't to say that capitalism is good or bad or globalization is good or bad. It is not to put a Wal*mart in every country. It is in fact saying something quite different. Weather you like it or not, the Internet is available in places you would not expect it to be. Several years ago, I got somewhat of a wake up call. I was consulting for a manufacture performing programming services. I was local, educated and talented in the subject matter. I did a good job. They also hired some Ukrainian programmers. Yes, they weren't paid well and yes some of the software they were using was out of date. I questioned the quality of their work. But they had high speed Internet access, academic access and good equipment. I had a dial-up connection to the Internet, lived in a rural town with very limited academic access and my equipment was okay but not great. The point is that it doesn't matter what you think about the conditions of someone's life, in the job market wealth doesn't make better or equal. I felt my work was better then the work of the Ukrainian's which often had to be re-done and communication problems abounded; but the fact that they had better technology overall got them the job. You are competing with others in this world and yes they may not be living the same standard of life you are; but they are none the less competing and getting jobs that you may qualify for and even desire.