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on 2 June 2001
Friedman is able to illustrate in a straight forward, funny and eloquent manner the challenges and opportunities that faces states in todays world. Illuminating and captivating
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on 8 July 1999
All doors were open for foreign affairs columnist of the New York Times, Thomas Friedman. Anybody, everybody anywhere ranging from Alan Greenspan to street sellers in Hanoi. With a creative and enquiring mind he has created a very rich storybook. Easy to read, many times funny but with depth. Every body knows about globalisation. But what is it exactly? Is it beneficial or dangerous? The globalisation is based on free market capitalism. What counts is speed. It is no longer the big that eat the small but the fast that eat the slow. The speed is made possible by the "democratisation" of finance, technology and information. With "democratisation" is meant "used by and available to" ordinary citizens. Globalisation is made possible by these democratisations but is driven by the "electronic herd". The "electronic herd" consists of the persons and institutions that invest and move money in and out of countries at extremely short notice. As soon as a country or a company moves in a direction the herd does not like the money is withdrawn or held back. Good behaviour for government means: free market, low inflation and a balanced budget (the "golden straitjacket"). Nobody is in control of or can control the electronic herd. The consequences of this globalisation are serious both for government and individuals. A government that does not put on the golden straitjacket will be "punished" by the electronic herd. It will withdraw its money or make no further investments. To be able to cope with globalisation countries need to be flexible; laws and stock market regulations must be enforced. The government must be able to adapt rapidly to change. This is only possible with a "small" government, no state enterprises and a competent government. The only governments that can in the longer term meet these criteria are democracies. Globalisation creates enormous wealth for countries as a whole and for individuals on average. There are however several substantial risks. Persons unable to keep up with change and the new competencies required may revolt. Democratisation of technology gives enormous power to individuals (see a young man that bankrupted the oldest bank in England). frustrated persons can create enormous damage.The increasing gap between the rich and the poor further aggravates the problem. Ther are also countries with difficulties. Russia because there is not the proper respect for law. Robber barons plunder the country. China because it has a large inefficient state sector, corruption and no democracy. Japan because it has crony board-management-government relationship that leads to a snail's progress in making the necessary restructuring. The fourth and most serious risk is that the world becomes unliveable because of over-consumption and disregard for what the planet can cope with. Mr Friedman offers many useful suggestions as to what should be done. The solutions presented are less complete than the description of the problems. Perhaps by putting these ideas together with those of Mr Soros presented in "The crisis of global capitalism" and with those of the Dalai Lama about a spiritual revolution in "Ancient Wisdom,Modern World" a solution can be found. The book is a treasure chest of information and ideas, useful for businessmen, politicians, consultants involved in strategy development.
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on 2 November 2010
The book is based expounds the idea that the age of the nation state has ended, and that what has replaced it is 'globalisation'. The Lexus symbolises global homogenisation (and the struggle to fulfil unlimited consumer demand with only finite resources) and the Olive Tree represents cultural identity. Essentially, Friedman argues that these two conflicting pressures should be in balance in order for the world to progress.

This is a well considered and argued hypothesis, and holds water - to a greater or lesser extent. Friedman falls in to something of a trap when considering the USA, as he seems to state that by ceding power to other - predominantly non state actors - it is somehow becoming stronger. This could be more clearly explained, as it seems oxymoronic.
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on 18 June 2008
Hello. My name is Gary Shane McGill and I read this book as part of my course work at Salisbury University in Maryland. This book is a look at globalization as a snapshot prior to 9/11, so obviously the sequel The World is Flat is a must read, but this is like an appetizer to warm things up.

I would highly recommend anything that Thomas L. Friedman writes because you can learn a lot from his writings. There is no one single book out there that is perfect about globalization, but when you consider when this was written, I would say that he did an excellent job.
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on 28 December 2000
Thomas Friedman knows what he is talking about. A lot of what he discusses seems obvious in hindsight but just take a look around, at people, organisations or governments, specially in Europe, and you will understand that there is room for improvement. There are a lot of clueless managers & politics out there that need to read this before it's too late.
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on 31 July 2000
Globalization. See the future now and plan for it. Some of it will excite you and some of it will trouble you but as you read it it's hard to argue with. Better to be armed with this perspective 'cos the train is only speeding up.
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on 7 January 2002
Does more than identifing the drivers of globalisation, provides real insight, maps out future trends and policy implications.
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