I often get emails from readers who want to know my background in financial planning or financial services and why I always seem to look at items outside the United States. The answer to that last one is relatively simple. I believe strongly in globalization and I think we are living in a real, wired world today where whatever happens at one side of the planet can dramatically affect what happens at the other.

If you want to read something startling on this, pick up New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman's superb new book, ''The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century.''  The metaphor of a flat world is used by Friedman to describe the next phase of globalization. He discovered this following an interview with Indian software executive in India who told him the ways in which the economic playing field was being leveled.

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