The Lexus and the Olive Tree
By Thomas L. Friedman
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Hardcover, 9780374192037, 289pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 1999
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Now Friedman has drawn on his years on the road to produce an engrossing and original look at globalization. Globalization, he argues, is not just a phenomenon and not just a passing trend. It is the international system that replaced the Cold War system; the new, well-greased, interconnected system: Globalization is the integration of capital, technology, and information across national borders, in a way that is creating a single global market and, to some degree, a global village. Simply put, one can't possibly understand the morning news or one's own investments without some grasp of this system. Just one example: During the Cold War, we reached for the hot line between the White House and the Kremlin -- a symbol that we were all divided but at least the two superpowers were in charge. In the era of globalization, we reach for the Internet -- a symbol that we are all connected but nobody is totally in charge.
With vivid stories and a set of original terms and concepts, Friedman offers readers remarkable access to his unique understanding of this new world order, and shows us how to see this new system. He dramatizes the conflict of "the Lexus and the olive tree" -- the tension between the globalization system and ancient forces of culture, geography, tradition, and community. He also details the powerful backlash that globalization produces among those whofed brutalized by it, and he spells out what we all need to do to keep this system in balance. Finding the proper balance between the Lexus and the olive tree is the great drama of the globalization era, and the ultimate theme of Friedman's challenging, provocative book -- essential reading for all who care about how the world really works.