Carlos X. Cantu
Midwestern State University
The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization
The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, published by Anchor Books, New York, is an interesting look at changing world events written by Thomas L. Friedman, a foreign affairs columnist and bureau chief for The New York Times. Friedman won the National Book Award in 1998 for his first book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, and has also won two Pulitzer Prizes for his reporting for The New York Times. The main idea or theme of the book is that globalization is the new emerging international system of finance and politics that has replaced the Cold War system that essentially divided the world into two spheres. The book was interesting for its topic, but it was also very frustrating in the manner it was written. The substance of the book is more the personal travels and experience of the author than a fact based analysis of the topic.
Friedman states that globalization has emerged from the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union and Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. ( 2000, p. 7) Friedman states, “In the Cold War, the most frequently asked question was: “Whose side are you on?” “In globalization, the most frequently asked question is: “To what extent are you connected to everyone?” (p. 10) He goes on two illustrate the difference in the two systems by saying in the Cold War system bigger missiles were more important but now with globalization its who has the faster modem. In the Cold War system the defining document was “The Treaty”, but in globalization the defining document is “The Deal.” (Friedman, 2000, p. 10) Essentially what he is saying is that the world was divided politically and financially by the Cold War system, with Communism on one side and Capitalism on the other. His metaphor the Lexus and the Olive Tree represent the... [continues]
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