Book Review: The Lexus and the Olive Tree.
The author; Friedman is a foreign affairs columnist for the New York Times, where he has won three Pulitzer Prizes for his work with The New York Times. He is also the author for five bestselling books. In the past he has been bureau chief for the Times in Beirut and Jerusalem. He has travelled extensively, from the Amazon to Southeast Asia to Berlin to Angola to rural China and much more as a reporter with the Times. His anecdotes and metaphors drawn from these experiences are alternately educational, insightful, and amusing, although his theory is overzealous. He styles himself “one of America’s leading interpreters of world affairs.”
The title of the book represent two different things Lexus as a symbol of luxury thing and olive tree as a basic need in live. Lexus, a brand of a car which represent new and innovative world. The car itself drive for sustenance, improvement, prosperity and modernization which equal to the globalization system (p. 33). While olive tree represent something which is old and traditional and roots us to a place, culture or family. Friedman views the olive tree is an important things to individual because it means everything that form the person as individual which have its own identity (p. 31). Friedman starts the book with explanation of the old system which is during Cold War era and how the new system name globalisation replace this old system. According to Friedman during the Cold war, world was divided into three; 1st world, 2nd world or 3rd world. Each world have a different political and economic system and each of the world are guarded by walls. This walls has form a world that have their own olive tree; their own identity. Today the walls start to diminished and disappeared due to three factors which are democratization of technology, finance and information. The main factor here is technology which helped foster the other two drivers. Globalization, he says, stands for "the inexorable integration of markets, nation-states and technologies to a degree never witnessed before--in a way that is enabling individuals, corporations and nation-states to reach around the world faster, deeper and cheaper than ever before" (p. 9). According to Friedman, globalisation is not a trend but it is an international system that replaced the Cold War system which has its own rules. In the Cold War at least there are two people were in charge; the United States and the Soviet Union but in this new system, nobody is quite in charge. Those who able to take advantage from technology will have power over others. Friedman try to analyse and explains this new system by using the new terms such as Microchip Immune Deficiency, The Golden Straightjacket, The Electronic Herd, DOScapital, The Backlash and The Groundswell. Even though Friedman try to share his view about globalisation thoroughly through this book which he picture as the modern luxurious world of the "Lexus" car, but Friedman does not dismiss his concern about culture and our root (olive tree). According to Friedman, the concern about olive tree will remain important, but slowly either we like it or not the Lexus has indeed taken over. "The survival of globalization as a system will depend, in part, on how well all of us strike this balance. A country without a Lexus will never grow or go very far. A country without healthy olive trees will never be rooted or secure enough to open up fully to the world. But keeping them in balance is a constant struggle" (p. 42).
Friedman's thesis explain how a new generation of globalization became dominant and how it effects everything. Its become a new international system that has replaced the Cold War. It has its own dynamics that impact on the economics, geopolitics and environment of virtually every nation on earth. He also hope that we must find a balance between the Lexus and the olive...
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