In the context of the debate on the effects and complexties of globalisation Ohmae's book is insightful. He clearly portrays the extent of our changing society and the effects of global commerce and communications. However, his analysis is heavily biased towards the US and Japan - interesting though these examples are he fails to recognise the substantial and differing opinions of Europe and the third world economies. Furthermore, as a guru he is undisputed, but his arguments lack backup or proof - all references refer to books or articles written by himself! Hardly suggesting a rounded argument. He fails to acknowledge that some academics believe that globalisation is a myth and thus does little to convince us otherwise. A read for those interested only in a self opinionated ramble on globalisation, interesting concepts but dangerous to believe without a pinch of salt!
This goes beyond the description of why governments are obsolete in the age of globalisation, and suggests an alternative of federated regions competing to offer the best conditions for free trade. This will bring greater economic growth than keeping globally competitive industries and regions as cash cows made to pay for the economically uncompetitive special-interest sectors of a country.
I found this interestingly suggests a return to bioregionalism, as Ohmae argues against the 'artificial' nation state as an artifact, but suggests regions of 5 to 20 millions as a suitable size for a single distribution network, being large enough to be worth targeting and small enough to avoid diffusion and duplication in the marketing structures that cater to it.
The downsides are the fact that the descriptions are obviously dated by now, and the poor quality reproduction of the few diagrams in one chapter.
Ohmae obviously has substantial insight into the drivers of the economies of the Asian tigers. He adeptly applies his insights to his theory of the end of the nation state. However, his book is repetitive- he could have taken out half the chapters and still made the same points. Because of this, the book gets dull at moments. I recommend buying it in paperback and reading it on a plane trip.
It is a paradoxical view of the future. It might or might not happen. The redundancy of his views went as far as stagnation. I expected more from a McKinsey. He should have focused more on the relevancy of the more (poor) than the few (corporate world).