Friday, August 11, 2006

The World Is Flat

In the first chapter of The World Is Flat Thomas Friedman identifies what he describes as 3 eras of globalization. Globalization 1.0 was characterized by political and economic relationships among and between governments. Globalization 2.o was characterized by international collaboration and competition among businesses and corporations. The first half of this era was driven by advances in transportation; the second half by advances in technology, especially telecommunications. The current era, Globalization 3.0, is characterized by individuals having the power to compete and collaborate on a global level.

In one illustration, he uses the example of airline reservations/ticketing. In a globalization 1.0 era, all ticketing is done manually and is on paper. In a globalization 2.o era, ticketing may be done electronically, but is still controlled by the airline or travel agent. In globalization 3.0 the passenger makes his reservations, pays, and prints his own boarding pass all from the convenience of his own home.

Thinking about how to do church and missions, there may be some parallels to consider as the world around us changes ever more rapidly. I'm not sure what missions looks like in a globalization 3.0 era, but I have the feeling it is much more about individual interactions than organized, structured efforts.

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