Friedman begins his book by explaining some key differences in worldviews and identifying himself as a “globalist.” Globalists look at every dimension of international influence which they can find. This is quite different than the attitude of a realist. Realists tend to believe that the search for power and advantage explain all foreign affairs. The author then proceeds to explain the significance of the items in the book’s title.
The olive trees, according to Friedman are important because they signify everything that ties or roots us to the world. This includes our involvement in such things as our community, tribe, nation, religion, and home. They are essential for human survival and provide feelings of self-esteem and belonging. They represent our belonging. While these olive trees are indispensable, too much of them can lead to forging identity by the exclusion of others.
A Lexus represents exemplifies the drive for success. It is all about improvement, prosperity, and modernization. The pursuit of a higher standard of living causes us to use tools such as global markets, financial institutions, and computer technology.
The Lexus versus the olive tree is a battle between cultural identities. The author compares it to the age old story of Cain and Abel. They were fighting over identity. Today, the battle rages on between the quest for material betterment and identity.
Democratization of technology resulted in many changes in the world. Instead of only being able to do business in the area in which one resides, there are now transactions made easily from all across the world. The barriers of location were destroyed. It became much easier to access information and much more difficult to isolate citizens of a nation from knowledge of the outside world.
The statement that, “all politics are now global” has significant ramifications in both political and economic realms. Foreign policy is... [continues]
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