The Lexus and the Olive Tree

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In his introduction to The Lexus and the Olive Tree Freidman states that "[t]he world is 10 years old. It was born when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The Cold War system was replaced by a new, very greased, interconnected system called globalization." He is right, as evidenced first by the growth of portable computers and other electronic products, we have six portable and notebook computers in a house of four people, each connected through a wireless high-speed network to the other and the world not to mention cell phones (we all have one or more), beepers, fax machines (even my grand parents have one) and PDA's. In addition we have seen the fall of communism (or the liberalization as in China) in all parts of the world except Cuba and North Korea. This new world, where as Lawrence Grossman former president of NBC notes, we have all become broadcasters, has a new set of rules for individuals and nations. In this paper I will detail the rules of globalization as noted by Freidman as well as the challenges that Ecuador has faced as a global economy, the polices that Ecuador has pursued in facing these challenges, and lastly my interpretation of Freidman's reaction to these policies.

Freidman defines globalization as "the overarching international system shaping the domestic relations of virtually every country… [it] involves the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before… enabling individuals, corporations and nation-states to reach around the world farther, faster, deeper, and cheaper than ever before…." This contrasts to the Cold War system, dominated by two super powers, its black and white politics with the clash between capitalism and communism, real and imaginary trade barriers and every country was in one of three camps, the communist camp, the Western camp and the neutral camp, the ability of third world countries to play Russia against the United States or vice versa to support deficit spending programs and other social programs. In other words, during the Cold War the world was defined by division, the throw weight of nuclear missiles, and the knowledge that we knew that two people were in charge. Now the world it is defined by the "electronic herd", that group of faceless stock, bond and currency traders as well as you and me moving their money around looking for the best economic return and the financial "supermarkets" of Wall Street, London and Hong Kong.

So now that we have defined what globalization means in the theoretical sense, I am going to look at the practical implications of this globalization on Ecuador Ecuador in located on the northwest of South America, bordering Columbia, Peru and the Pacific Ocean, it is slightly smaller than Nevada. Its estimated population as of July 2003 is 13.7 million people, with a approximately 70% (2001) of its population below the poverty line. In 2002 the country's inflation rate was approximately 12.5% and its unemployment rate was 7.7% combined with widespread underemployment . The breakdown of the labor force by occupation is agriculture 30%, industry 25% and services 45%. In the post World War II era Ecuador has continued to undergo significant political turmoil, establishing a constitutional government with Galo Plaza serving as President in 1948. This was followed by a four-man military junta, which was anti communist seizing power in July 1963, claiming that they would the country to constitutional rule when the promised socio economic reforms had been completed. This military Junta was succeeded by direct military rule from 1972 to 1979 under Rodriquez Lara and lastly returned to democratic rule in 1979.

Prior to the 1970's Ecuador's primary exports were bananas and other agricultural products like coffee and sugar and its primary trading partner was the United States, accounting for over 50% of its exports. In the late 1960's petroleum fields were discovered in the eastern part of the...
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