Title

Is the World Really Flat? Internationalization, Advanced Technology, and the Question of Convergence (vs. Divergence) in the Age of Globalization

Document Type

Thesis

Publication Date

2008

Advisor

Sanford Moskowitz, Management

Abstract

This Honors Thesis explores the question: Is the World Flat (or at least becoming flatter) in the age of globalization? The study explores the theme within two contexts: that the "developing" countries and regions and that of "developed" countries and regions, coming to the conclusion that "Divergence" is as prevalent as "convergence" and in fact exacerbated by the globalization movement. The center of the study is the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME). This study maintains that the case of "developing" countries and regions, the critical issue in this debate is degree of "internationalization" of SMEs in such traditional industries as textiles and apparel: those countries within which such internationalization happen move up the value chain and help kick-start a small economy to growth. We discuss this evolution from low-fee blue-collar to high-profit white-collar economic activity. In the case of already "developing" countries and regions, the issue is one of the proliferation of high-technology start up SMEs working within cluster environments (e.g., Silicon Valley) centered by venture capital and so-called gatekeepers working within multi-dimensional environments: in such cases new technologies come on the scene and accelerate national and regional productivity and economic growth. When these conditions - internationalization of SMEs and creation of high-tech SME clusters--are not met, divergent occurs ibn the sense that those countries and regions that are marginalized stagnate and fall by the wayside competitively and thus diverge from those more successful countries and regions. This thesis then uncovers common links between our analysis of "Developing" and "Developed" Countries and regions in the form of the necessity of becoming part of (for "Developing" countries) or creating (for "Developed" countries) "Seamless Webs" or networks. For "Developing" countries is the importance of external webs or networks (such as the necessity of SMEs in becoming an integral and active of the EU network); for "Developed" countries is the importance of forming the major actors of technology creation - SMEs, universities, venture capital, glatekeepers, markets - into coherent and multidimensional cluster groups. These discussions provide a model for predicting the competitive future of Asian companies.

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