What does it all mean? That depends on you.
What this means to me: how can we even think about cutting any technology education? Especially at the sixth grade level.
So if the flattening of the world is largely (but not entirely)unstoppable, and holds out the potential to be as beneficial to American society as a whole as past market evolutions have been, how does an individual get the best out of it? What do we tell our kids?
There is only one message: You have to constantly upgrade your skills. There will be plenty of good jobs out there in the flat world for people with the knowledge and ideas to seize them.
I am not suggesting this will be simple. It will not be. There will be a lot of other people out there also trying to get smarter. It was never good to be mediocre in your job, but in a world of walls, mediocrity could still earn you a decent wage. In a flatter world, you really do not want to be mediocre. You don't want to find yourself in the shoes of Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, when his son Biff dispels his idea that the Loman family is special by declaring, "Pop! I'm a dime a dozen, and so are you!" An angry Willy retorts, "I am not a dime a dozen! I am Willy Loman, and you are Biff Loman!"
I don't care to have that conversation with my girls, so my advice to them in this flat world is very brief and very blunt: "Girls, when I was growing up, my parents used to say to me, "Tom, finish your dinner --- people in China and India are starving." My advice to you is: Girls, finish your homework --- people in China and India are starving for your jobs."
This is the world I work and compete in everyday. We can't throw money at this problem either. It's time to put aside petty differences. Our education system in Manchester has to become more efficient, and provide a better value. Not just a better value for our tax dollars, but more importantly a better value for our children's future. We have to help our children compete in tomorrow's world. It's hard enough to compete today.