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Kids swing the lanterns and sing songs, and people give them candy or gifts, as in America on Halloween.For centuries, small, low-wage workshops in Cairo's older neighborhoods have manufactured these lanterns until the last few years.It has to ask itself, "To what extent is my country advancing or being left behind by the flattening of the world, and to what extent is it adapting to and taking advantage of all the new platforms for collaboration and competition?" As that Chinese banking official boasted to my Mexican colleague, China is the wolf.She answered that it was just a few weeks earlier, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.She had done a story for CNBC Arabiya Television about the colorful lanterns called fawanis, each with a burning candle inside, that Egyptian schoolchildren traditionally carried around during Ramadan, a tradition dating back centuries to the Fatimid period in Egypt."Amid the crowds at Muski, [El Esway] gestured to one of his employees, who promptly opened a dust-covered box and pulled out a plastic fawanis shaped like the head of Simba, from The Lion King.'This is the first model we imported back in 1994,' he said. As the blue-colored lion's head lit up, the song 'It's a Small World' rang out."This article focuses on what sort of policies developing countries need to undertake in order to create the right environment for their companies and entrepreneurs to thrive in a flat world, although many of the things I am about to say apply to many developed countries as well.
He rolled his eyes and told me that for some time now he could feel the competitive playing field being leveled and that Mexico was losing some of its natural geographic advantages with the US market by just staring at the numbers on his computer screen.With its superior technology, they said, China can make mass quantities, which helps to keep prices relatively low.Egypt's traditional [fawanis] industry, by contrast, is characterized by a series of workshops specialized in different stages of the production process.Glassmakers, painters, welders and metal craftsmen all have their role to play.'There will always be fawanis in Ramadan, but in the future I think Egyptian-made ones could become extinct,' Zayat said.
The more I worked on this book, the more I found myself asking people I met around the world where they were when they first discovered that the world was flat.