From Publishers Weekly
The problem with globalized outsourcing, former Global Business executive editor Lynn warns, is that "a breakdown anywhere increasingly means a breakdown everywhere," as when a 2003 earthquake in Taiwan halted semiconductor manufacturing for a week, negatively affecting American electronics firms. National security, he argues, is jeopardized by this "hyperspecialized and hyper-rigid production system" as well; for Lynn, until the NAFTA-izing Bill Clinton came along, our trade policy had been for two centuries designed to prevent such potential catastrophes. Lynn has a knack for finding attractive, easy-to-grasp models from the contemporary business scene—such as using Dell's rise in the 1990s to explain the triumph of logistics management—but readers sometimes have to wade through heavy doses of economic theory to get to the livelier sections. Though some might view his concerns as excessively alarmist, Lynn delivers a welcome new facet to the antiglobalization debate, moving well beyond the stale "corporations are evil" argument to lay out a worrying economic overview.
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About globalization Lynn observes, "Our corporations have built the most efficient system of production the world has even seen, perfectly calibrated to a world in which nothing bad ever happens." Yet, bad things happen all the time, from natural disasters and wars to human error. The American people are relying on a global industrial system, which has serious structural flaws, and Lynn offers a thought-provoking perspective on the system's winners and those at risk. We learn that while academics, investors, and customers view the global production system with enthusiasm, it is a disaster for many, including pension and health-insurance beneficiaries, and it shifts the power over wages and work environment from workers to investors. In reality we already live in a global system, and the author recommends using economic tools to correct the system's failings. Since we are participants in a production system that is not controlled by any one company or any one country, this will be a challenge. Mary Whaley
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