The Lexus and the Olive Tree (Anglais) Broché – 17 avril 2000
|Neuf à partir de||Occasion à partir de|
Les clients ayant acheté cet article ont également acheté
Descriptions du produit
Revue de presse
#1 New York Times Business Bestseller
"A brilliant guide to the here and now."--The New York Times Book Review
"An owner's manual for a globalized world."--USA Today
"A spirited and imaginative exploration of our new order of economic globalization.... Not only clear but interesting, not only interesting but necessary to us--first-rate."
--The New York Times
"A wellspring of economic common sense that will innoculate its readers against the 'globaloney' so prevalent in popular discussions of the subject.... Readers in search of a window onto the problems of the cyberspace-driven 'virtual world economy' of the twenty-first century are unlikely to find a better place to start."--Foreign Affairs
"This is an important book; not since Nicholas Negroponte's Being Digital has a volume come along that so well explains the technical and financial ether we are all swimming through.... There is hardly a page in the book without an underlineable passage."--Salon
"All of us are groping to understand what's going on. For a useful first pass on history, consult Thomas Friedman."--Business Week
"Required reading for anyone who still thinks of the Internet as little more than a gimmick for computer nerds--deftly accomplishes the impressive task of encapsulating the complex economic, cultural, and environmental challenges of globalization with the sort of hindsight that future historians will bring to bear upon the subject."--The Christian Science Monitor --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .
Présentation de l'éditeur
Aucun appareil Kindle n'est requis. Téléchargez l'une des applis Kindle gratuites et commencez à lire les livres Kindle sur votre smartphone, tablette ou ordinateur.
Pour obtenir l'appli gratuite, saisissez votre adresse e-mail ou numéro de téléphone mobile.
Détails sur le produit
En savoir plus sur l'auteur
Commentaires en ligne
Meilleurs commentaires des clients
Si vous avez peur des notions incompréhensibles rédigées dans un langage élitiste, lisez ce livre. Si vous voulez connaître l'opinion américaine sur ce que le monde devient et la place que les nations en général et les USA en particulier vont être menés à jouer, lisez ce livre. Et si vous ne parlez pas Anglais, envoyez une pétition à l'éditeur pour qu'il soit traduit en Français - quel dommage que cette petite perle ne soit pas accessible à tous...
Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Friedman's writing style is mostly conversational and easy to read, though he tends to talk about his own friends and adventures way too much. Also, Friedman can't stop making up his own terminology, like Golden Straitjacket, Electronic Herd, Globalution, Glocalism, and the especially irritating DOScapital. The problem is, Friedman merely throws these terms at numerous and scattershot examples of phenomena that may possibly lend them meaning, but fails to adequately describe them himself.
Parts One and Two of this book are actually quite strong as Friedman remains mostly objective in describing the rise of globalization and where things stand today. He also includes a surprising amount of coverage on the negative effects on the environment and non-Western cultures (for the time being). Unfortunately, this book collapses into a firestorm of arrogance in Part 3, which is misleadingly titled "The Backlash Against the System." Here Friedman actually spends more time criticizing those who can't or won't jump on the sacred globalization bandwagon. He uses the derogatory term "turtles" for people who are being left behind by the new economic realities around the world, and doesn't care if it's not their fault. He demeans concern for disadvantaged peoples and countries as "politically correct nonsense" (pg. 355).
Some portions of this book are getting outdated, which is not Friedman's fault, but the gaps are very revealing. Several times he cites Enron as a strong global company with the world's best interests at heart, and failed to predict the tech stock crash of 2000 and how it would drastically slow down the US-led growth of the world economy (see chapter 17). This shows that Friedman's predictions in this book are already starting to fall apart. Friedman also completely avoids the issue of corporate domination, as rulings by the pro-corporate WTO have allowed multinational companies to supersede the laws of sovereign nations (such as the blatant disregard for Nigeria's environmental laws by Western oil companies). Finally, Part Four of this book descends into anemic boosterism as Friedman tries to convince us that American culture and corporations will solve all the world's ills as peoples around the world happily embrace globalization. By this point, Friedman has left objectivity far behind. His clear contempt for those who are concerned about globalization's destructive effects, and his apparent belief that American corporations only wish to solve the world's ills, prove that he has not succeeded in telling the full story. Not even close.
Friedman is a New York Times columnist, and his book is somewhat of a darling in the business school I attend. It is rare not to hear some professor refer to his book as though it were the bible of globalization. His ideas and interpretations of the world make up a good part of the bedrock in my curriculum. Aside from some of the substance issues, something always irritates me about Friedman's style and I hadn't been able to pin it down exactly until I plowed through a few hundred pages of his book.
The most glaring problem is his inane way of explaining any phenomenon through personal anecdote. He couldn't tell you that Walmart earns plaudits in the business community for its revolutionary management of the supply chain, he has to tell you a story about lunch he had with a Walmart executive and what the waiters shoes looked like. But he won't stop there; he will go on to recount a couple of shopping stories to make a pretty simple point. It is probably meant to be compelling and accessible, but it comes off as insulting and egotistical.
The second problem he has is with metaphor. His metaphors are always a hodge-podge of cliché. A good metaphor is a lens through which we can more clearly understand the world. It should filter out complexity and confusion that prevent us from fully understanding something. The problem is you have to be careful not to filter out so much complexity and confusion that the model no longer meaningfully relates to the world. Friedman applies half baked metaphors to everything, and often when they are unnecessary. Or to put it another way, many things he describes are not so complex or noisy that you can't understand it without a metaphor model. He uses metaphors to marginalize uncomfortable contradictions and distort reality to better fit his world view.
A third problem is his lack of empirical support for broad statements to explain what is going on in the world. He often assumes correlations between phenomenons that are not clearly correlated. (I will try to give a few examples off the top of my head when I recount a class discussion.)
And a fourth problem is that he marginalizes or dismisses any critics of how globalization is taking shape as neo-luddites. One example occurs around page 180 (I don't have the book in front of me so I can't look it up exactly.) He offhandedly refers to the Zapatista rebellion in Mexico as a group of people who are against globalization. That is not quite right, they are pissed because the Mexican government revoked article 27 of the Mexican constitution, which guaranteed the right of land to peasants, in order to approve NAFTA. That is what they are fighting against and Friedman just offhandedly dismisses their grievance, but he does this all the time. Anyone who questions his golden straight jacket doesn't want to get on the train of human progress. (His metaphors, not mine.)
His model of development, what he calls the golden straight jacket, has been roundly criticized by people of far weightier intellectual merit than he. I don't mean leftists like Noam Chomsky; I am talking about Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winning economist and former head of the World Bank. Or John Gray, a former economic advisor to Margaret Thatcher. In brief, the golden straight jacket means that governments deregulate their economy, open up their firms to foreign investors and ownership, and break down social safety nets. (Something Friedman couldn't explain without approximately 800 pages and 43 personal anecdotes.)
Stiglitz has a lot to say about these policies, and it isn't positive. And they are policies, not some force of nature blowing through the world. Anyway, to the main point: Stiglitz argues that when you look at developing countries, successful countries are ones that have rebelled against this model. This is true here too; the U.S. developed its economy with protectionism and subsidization. I will leave it mostly to Stiglitz and others that make the case by examining specific cases, but look at what happened in Argentina 2001 or the Cochabamba region of Bolivia to see what I am talking about. (Friedman would refer to Bolivian peasants that didn't want to spend half their pay checks on deregulated, skyrocketing water bills as people who are trying to stop the train of progress.)
The thing that was striking to me is the false associations from the class discussion and their shared world view. People assumed that democracy and free market theory are highly related. John Gray has commented on this, explaining that this is a product of New Right propaganda in the 1980s. There is no evidence to suggest that the two are in any way dependant on each other, and in fact are widely considered antagonists. Unfettered capitalism leads to vast inequality and the break down of civil society, no less a figure on the right than Alan Greenspan has repeatedly warned that the current wealth disparity in the U.S. threatens our system of democracy.
Another popular misconception, and this came directly from Friedman, is that wealth in the U.S. is diffusing or becoming more democratic. There are more people in the stock market today than ever before. This is counterfactual; the Federal Reserve just released a study (January 2006) that documents a net decrease in wages over the last 4 years. This continues a thirty year trend of stagnating wages for the working class with brief interruptions in the 1990s. But that is only a measure of income, when you look at wealth it is even worse. The U.S. scores terribly compared to other first world nations on a ratio economists use to measure wealth inequality called the Gini coefficient. The score is now at the level it was just before the Great Depression, as is the percentage of personal debt. (Wealth is a measure of assets, such as stocks, bonds, real estate, etc.)
It is not clear or a foregone conclusion that the current economic model is the ultimate method of development. There are some very ugly aspects of this system and indications that it is unsustainable. (I have elaborated on this topic before.) This is not surprising, nor should it be. The economy is a human institution and all human institutions evolve over time. There is every reason to believe things will change in the future, as they always have. Criticizing or working to change the current institutions is not an attempt to stop human progress, as Friedman insultingly suggests, it is precisely the opposite.
One last comment on the golden straightjacket, the thing about a straightjacket that escapes Friedman's attention is that when you stumble you can't put your arms out to balance yourself. And when you fall because of this, you can't put your hands out to break your fall so you end up on your face. That is a pretty accurate description of what has happened in many countries that followed the Washington Consensus in recent years.
In the Friedman tradition I will close with an anecdote about how I procured his book. I didn't buy it. One day after registering for classes and finding out I needed it for class; I was running and serendipitously found the book on the curb near a small apartment complex down the street. Someone was throwing the book out along with a pair of tattered cutoff denim shorts and some old issues of Newsweek. Something about that seems strangely appropriate to me now, and when I am done with this class I will likely pass the book along to the next reader via the street curb.
The book is in four parts.
Part one explains how to look at the system we call globalisation and how it works.
Part two is a discussion of how nation-states, communities, individuals and the environment interact with the system.
Part three is a good look at the backlash.
Part four is an even better look at the unique role of the USA in this new world.
To understand and convey the complexity of what is going on, Friedman believes that he had to learn to combine six dimensions or perspectives in different ways and weights to understand the systemic interrelationships at play and then tell stories in order to explain it. This is what he does in the book. He also identifies what he believes to be the key driving forces to globalisation and the conditions necessary for a society to succeed in a globalised world.
As an analysis of the multiple forces at play and their interaction, The Lexus and the Olive Tree could hardly be bettered, and the comment that we know about as much about the globalised world that is emerging as we did about the Cold War world in 1946 really resonates.
I am less satisfied with Friedman's prescription, which is essentially that rape is inevitable - and may be pleasurable - so we may as well relax and enjoy it. That both under-rates the very real dangers posed by a large group of potential losers and, more important, absolves us from the need to search creatively for a third way that places more emphasis on the human spirit and sustainability and less on money as such.
It is notable how much of the business literature is beginning to focus on ethics, spiritual values and moral and ethical obligations. It is also notable how rapidly the various movements to reshape the world around more fundamentally human values are building strength. The balance is not just, as Friedman seems to suggest, between globalised progress and separatist stagnation, but other options need creative development, based on wider values than those that motivate the 'electronic herd'.
The conspiracy theorists claim that global business is consciously trying to promote the 'inevitability' of a system that happens to suit them very well. They would probably claim that Friedman has fallen into their trap. Whatever the truth or otherwise of a 'conspiracy', I am left with Russell Ackoff's phrase ringing in my head - 'If we don't work to get the future we want, we will have to learn to live with the future we get.'
Recognising the strength of the forces that Friedman describes so well, that is perhaps the issue. Are we clear about what kind of world we want and are we prepared to work for it?
In The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Friedman uses may analogies and illustrations from his travels as the foreign affairs correspondent for The New York Times to fashion a layman's understanding of the globalization process. Friedman initially notes that: "Globalization is not a phenomenon. It is not just some passing trend. Today it is the overarching international system shaping the domestic politics and foreign relations of virtually every country, and we need to understand it as such" (p. 7). The author argues that as a result of the end of the cold war, the world order has turned to globalization due to "the democratization of technology" (p. 41), "the democratization of finance" (p. 47), and "the democratization of information" (p. 54). Friedman goes on to point out that: "When it comes to the question of which system today is the most effective at generating rising standards of living, the historical debate is over. The answer is free-market capitalism... When your country recognizes this fact, when it recognizes the rules of the free market in today's global economy, and deciddes to abide by them, it puts on what I call 'the Golden Straitjacket' "(p. 86). It is the use of these clever analogies that makes the book so easy for Everyman to comprehend. By turning complex ideas into unforgettable memory aids, Friedman effectively makes the economic and political theories he examines intelligible.
Although Friedman spends the bulk of his 378 pages of main text purporting the benefits and advantages of globalization, he does a splendid job of reporting the downside of the process. Friedman cites: "There is no question that in the globalization system, where power is now more evenly shared between states and Supermarkets [Wall Street, Chicago Board of Trade, major foreign stockmarkets, etc.], a certain degree of decisionmaking is moved out of each country's political sphere, where no one person, country or institution can exert exclusive political control... Clearly, one of the biggest challenges for political theory in this globalization era is how to give citizens a sense that they can exercise their will, not only over their own governments but over at least some of the global forces shaping their lives" (pgs. 161-162). In addition, Friedman tackles the dissident arguments of "homogenization" of cultures (p. 238), that "income gaps between the haves and have-nots within industrialized countries widened noticeably" (p.248), and "instead of popular mass opposition to globalization, [what has been occurring] is wave after wave after wave of crime" (p. 273). Ultimately, however, the author concludes that: "Because we tend to think of globalization as something that countries connect to outside themselves, or something imposed from above and beyond, we tend to forget how much, at its heart, it is also a grassroots movement that emerges from within each of us. This is why we always have to keep in mind that... there is a groundswell of people demanding the benefits of globalization" (p. 286).
In my opinion, the most relevant truism in Friedman's work comes in the introduction. While explaining his feelings on the subject of globalization, the author states, "I didn't start globalization, I can't stop it... and I'm not going to waste time trying. All I want to think about is how I can get the best out of this new system, and cushion the worst, for the most people" (p. xviii). After reading this definitive work on the subject, one would have to conclude that Friedman succeeds in his goal.
Friedman's strength is composing analogies to make globalization comprehensible. He describes the collective activities of investors, large and small, using the Internet to move money around the planet quickly and sometimes irresponsibly as the "Electronic Herd." He describes the American-style free-market capitalism that best takes advantage of globalization as the "Golden Straitjacket." He describes economies using a personal computer analogy; the basic economic system (e.g. capitalist, communist, authoritarian etc) is the "hardware" and the legal system, free press, social attitudes etc compromise the "operating system" and "software" of an economy. If a country just has an open economy with no political stability, no stock market regulation etc, it is like a computer without a surge protector when lightning strikes; the result is a meltdown.
As far as Friedman's evaluation of globalization, I would describe his view as cautiously optimistic. Friedman himself states, "Generally speaking, I think it's a good thing that the sun comes up every morning. It does more good than harm, especially if you wear sunscreen and sunglasses. But even if I didn't care for the dawn there isn't much I could do to stop it. I didn't start globalization, I can't stop it - except at a huge cost to human development - and I'm not going to waste time trying." (xxi-xxii)
In terms of documenting his position, the single largest problem with the book is the near total reliance on anecdotes and interviews. There is no bibliography and no footnotes in the book (well, there are some internal footnotes), merely a one and a half page list of acknowledgements for all the people he interviewed. While these definitely make the book interesting to read and personal, one always can and should ask, "Are these people representative of what's happening?" I think this sort of material should be used for purposes of highlighting points or illustration rather than the main content of a book. To be fair, Friedman does include statistics and other such information from a variety of sources (but his documentation is spotty; sometimes he will just say "The Economist says")
Friedman's main thesis is that globalization is the _system_ of international relations that has replaced the Cold War system of nuclear weapons, East vs. West and the rest of it. While there is certainly strong points to support him in this (e.g. the Soviets are gone) and the greatly increased importance of international trade and the ability of markets to move capital around the world quickly, an ability made possible by new technologies (especially the Internet), I think he has probably overstated his case.
To explain the title of the book, the Lexus represents all the forces of globalization; the Internet, investors, the Golden Straitjacket and so on. The Olive Tree represents the home, national identity and all the things provide a person's meaning and value in life. There needs to be a balance between these two forces. Silicon Valley executives that demand all Lexus and no Olive Tree are going to produce people with no sense of identity or self and people that only have the Olive Tree are either going to become poor or remain cut off from the major sources of growth in the world today.
The economic aspect of the globalization is the primary focus of the book, so there is only limited content dedicated to the effects (positive and negative) on the environment and culture. Friedman is also _very_ critical of those who would criticize globalization; his main criticism can be summed up with this quote: "Like other ideological backlashers against globalization, Zjuganov had more attitude than workable programs, more ideas about how to distribute income than about how to generate it." (page 328)
Critics of globalization ought to take note; simply saying, "This is all wrong!" is just not enough anymore. Real, workable alternatives have to be provided. I think one good example of this is the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which actually provides alternative Government budgets.
Friedman concludes the book with a long discussion (Part Four: America and the System) of how America is the country best suited to take responsibility for managing globalization AND how America is the country that is ideally situated to benefit from it. He thinks that there has to some safeguards on the system to prevent it from harming too many people. It is interesting to note that Friedman added about 100 pages in this second version of the book, which is only about a year old. He needs to change it to take account of September 11, the collapse of Argentina and the bankruptcy of Enron, among other things.
I have not decided what I think about globalization just yet though; this is a good starting place to begin though. The next book I read on the topic will be, "The Globalization Reader," edited by Frank Lechner and John Boli (ISBN: 0631214771); it covers all aspects of globalization from a variety of perspectives; critics, optimists, and those who are in between.