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October 2000 Issue
The Geographical Review
October 2000, Vol. 90 (4), pp. 603-628
MARTIN W. LEWIS
Keywords: global knowledge, globalization, world geography.
Stories exposing the lack of global knowledge among American high school and college students are ubiquitous. But it is not just students who have difficulty navigating a world map. Global ignorance, in fact, is appallingly prevalent even among scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals who write about globalization and world history. Otherwise erudite and insightful authors commit such basic geographical errors that they can only mystify the public. The present article focuses on, but is not limited to, the misconceptions of Benjamin Barber, Thomas L. Friedman, John Gray, David Landes, and Paul Krugman. It further explores the reasons why the debate over globalization, in particular, generates so much nonsense, and it concludes with a call for the revitalization of world geography.