by Larry Smith
It's strange when you think about it, but the fact is that globalisation began right here in the Bahamas - when Christopher Columbus landed on San Salvador 500 years ago.
That event shrank the world and opened trade between the continents. So it's all the more odd that we are now being told the world is not round but flat - in the sense that technology has placed us on the brink of an entirely new era in human history.
This flat earth metaphor is used to good effect by a New York Times columnist named Thomas Friedman, who - in less than 16 months - has published two hardcover editions of his best-selling 575-page book, The World is Flat: a Brief History of the 21st Century.
Friedman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning author of several books on globalisation and his columns reach millions of people. He is best known as a populariser who can lucidly explain complex economic ideas and processes to the rest of us.
The flat world he talks about was created in less than two decades by several developments - beginning with the end of communism in 1989, the coming to life of the world wide web in 1995, the standardisation of workflow software, and the global spread of the Internet made possible by dot.com era over-investment in fibre-optics.