March 15, 2004
Friedman From India Again
Posted by Gordon Smith

Thomas Friedman is writing about India again. This time he is featuring software firm Infosys, which he characterizes as a spawn of globalization. He compares Infosys to another creation of globalization, al Qaeda:

Infosys was spawned in India, a country with few natural resources and a terrible climate. But India has a free market, a flawed but functioning democracy and a culture that prizes education, science and rationality, where women are empowered. The Indian spawning ground rewards anyone with a good idea, which is why the richest man in India is a Muslim software innovator, Azim Premji, the thoughtful chairman of Wipro.

Al Qaeda was spawned in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, societies where there was no democracy and where fundamentalists have often suffocated women and intellectuals who crave science, free thinking and rationality. Indeed, all three countries produced strains of Al Qaeda, despite Pakistan's having received billions in U.S. aid and Saudi Arabia's having earned billions from oil. But without a context encouraging freedom of thought, women's empowerment and innovation, neither society can tap and nurture its people's creative potential — so their biggest emotional export today is anger.

Hayek anyone?

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