Book Summary of Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L Friedman

By | November 27, 2008

This is Part 1 of the book I just finished reading. Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L Friedman. Yup, he is the same guy who wrote that the world is flat a few years back that highlighted how the internet and global supply chains is flattening the world. Now he is on to his next book that is highlighting Hot= Climate Change and Global Warming, Flat = Globalisation and Crowded = the growing middle class. Here is the first part of my summary.

Part 1: Where we are


1. Where birds don’t fly

American has gotten distracted by its war on terror and has become more insulated and loss its path from global leadership. Friedman argues that green is a new national strategy to take its economic to its new heights.  

2. Today’s Date 1E.C.E

The trends of Hot, Flat and crowded are converging.

 1.     Hot= Global Warming

2.     Flat= Globalisation of marketplaces

3.     Crowded= Growing competition for resources 

 The convergence of these 3 trends increase the magnitude of problems: energy supply and demand, petrodicatorship, climate change, energy poverty and biodiversity loss

 We have to do something about these 5 problems as they determine peace, security, economic growth and human rights. 

Part 2: How we got there

3. Our carbon copies

This chapter focuses on energy supply and demand.

 The American lifestyle is wasteful and being emulated in developing countries. If all of them reach American standards, the demand will be so high the Earth will not be able to provude the current level of resources to all. There will be intense competition for resources which will lead to conflict.

 Thus a more sustainable growth model is required. The US needs to take leadership as it is the country using most of the resources right now. 

4. Fill em up with dictators

This chapter focuses on petrodicatorship which is a political development in oil producing country. 

As energy demand exceeds supply, oil prices rises which then gives oil producing countries a lot of money. The influx of Oil money influences politics in countries and turns it less democratic and more anti American. It also fuels terrorism and armies. 

First Law Of Petro Politics: As oil prices does up, the less freedom in petrolist countries 

Thus reduction of oil use is necessary. 

5. Global Weirding

This chapter focuses on climate change. 

Climate change is real and proven. We are not sure if they will happen even faster than previous predictions. We are not sure of the changes that might happen because we have not accurately modelled the complexity of the climate. 

We need to increase national awareness of climate change. 

6. The Age of Noah

This chapter focuses on biodiversity loss. 

Rapid climate change and human development destroys biodiversity. Loss of biodiversity directly affects human life quality. Degrading the environment means that we have to do more that the climate used to do for us. 

Later is too late and we have to stop biodiversity loss now. 

7. Energy Poverty

This chapter focuses on energy poverty in developing countries. 

1.6 Billion people do not have access to electricity grid. Without energy, almost all aspect of life is affected. The poorest are the ones most affected by climate change.

Without electricity, one has no access to machines and communication necessary for making a living in this flat world. 

This keeps the poor poorer. 

With communication and electricity, we can move to a more sustainable work life style 

8. Green is the new red white and blue

We have passed the point where we cannot put off dealing with the 5 problems.

The true costs of the problems are becoming clear in a transparent flat world which demands accountability. 

America must take the lead because if it does not it will lose its global competitive edge. America can because it still has innovation, research and capitalist funding that is still leading edge in the world. 

Plan A (There is no Plan B) 

Code Green: Friedman proposes a Code Green Plan and highlights the need for a whole new system to power the economy. Need to replace the entire input of the system (dirty fuel) 

The components of the Plan are Clean Electrons, Energy Efficiency and Conservation 

Clean Electrons: We need to simulate innovation to find a source of electrons that is abundant, clean, reliable and cheap. 

Energy Efficiency and Resource Productivity: In the short term, we must reduce the demand because Clean Energy will not be here soon. 

Ethic of Conservation: Responsibilty for the earth. Changing our lifestyle to something that has less effect on the earth  

What We Need: A system of government policies, regulations, research funding and tax incentives that would stimulate a system for innovating, generating gland deploying clean electrons, energy efficient and resource productivity along with an ethic of conservation 

On the next summary, I will cover the remaining portions of the books.

Part 3: How We Move Forward

9. 205 Easy Ways To Save The Earth

10. The Energy Internet: When IT Meets ET

11. The Stone Age Didn’t End Because We Ran Out Of Stones

12. If It Isn’t Boring, It Isn’t Green

13. A Million Noahs, A Million Arks

14. Out Greening Al-Qaeda (Or Buy 1 Get Four Free)


Part 4: China

15: Can Red China Become Green China


Part 5: America

16. China For A Day (But Not For Two)

17. A Democratic China Or A Banana Republic