Economic Development News & Insight


Review: “Hot, Flat, and Crowded”

/ September 1, 2012 /

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Thomas Friedman, the recipient of three Pulitzer Prizes and a regular contributor to the New York Times, has recently published multiple articles on the topic of the economic ramifications of climate change for magazines like the Foreign Policy. Known largely for his work on economic globalization of the world (see his book “The World Is Flat”) , in his recently published book, “Hot, Flat and Crowded”, Friedman analyzes the economic opportunities that can arise from the issue of climate change when government leaders and innovative firms work together.

Hot, Flat and CrowdedIn the book, Friedman emphasizes that global warming; rapidly growing populations and the expansion of the global middle class have produced a new global reality that he coins as “hot, flat and crowded”. Friedman propagates that both the solution to these environmental issues and the regeneration of the American economy are inherently linked: the adoption of a strategy for clean energy and energy efficiency by the United States. He highlights that in past decades much of the development seen has been around the IT industry; and in the next decade the most powerful economic driver is the emerging environmental technologies (ET).

There has been much talk about climate change and the growing awareness of sustainability; however, what is refreshing about Friedman’s perspective is the energy and importance he gives not only to the challenges, but also to the opportunities that can be capitalized on during this changing environmental and economic climate. This idea of capitalizing on changing global trends instead of fighting to maintain the status quo is what separates innovative and growing communities and businesses from those that become stagnant. Only the most flexible and adaptable companies and communities will take full advantage of the opportunities that environmental technologies are presenting. Overall, this book adds valuable insights and lessons to the work being done by economic developers throughout North America on benefiting from new opportunities in the midst of environmental and economic challenges.

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