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End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation Hardcover – August 16, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (August 16, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385510241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385510240
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,464,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

In his first book - End of the Line (2005) - Barry wrote a pathbreaking study of industrial systems made "Too Big to Fail" and of the dangers of overly extreme interdependence among nations. The Washington Post called End of the Line "Tom Friedman for grown-ups" and Ha Joon Chang compared that work to the writings of John Kenneth Galbraith. In Cornered, Barry takes an explosive look at how financiers use their powers in ways that destroy jobs, crush independent businesses, hobble innovation, degrade safety, harm our environment, and, most dangerous of all, threaten the political foundations of our democratic republic. Barry is director of the Markets, Enterprise, and Resiliency Project, and a senior fellow, at the New America Foundation. He has presented his work to high officials in Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Taiwan, and the European Commission, as well as the White House and U.S. Treasury.

Customer Reviews

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Lynn writes beautifully, making an important topic clearly accessible to the general reader, and interesting.
Pat Choate
Lynn asks us to see the global economy as a vast and intricate system of economic plumbing that links suppliers and customers in every corner of the globe.
Marcellus Andrews
Companies like Cisco for example rapidly grew through global acquisitions for technology and partnering with contract manufacturers like Flextronics.
B.Sudhakar Shenoy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

66 of 73 people found the following review helpful By Marcellus Andrews on August 31, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Barry Lynn's End of the Line is a superb volume that shows why economic analysis should not be left to economists. There are several occupational hazards of being an economist, the most irksome being that you have to pretend that politics and economics are not only different but actually separate. This sort of thinking is fine when one is engaged in a certain type of scientific economics - the dispassionate explanation of an aspect of our economic arrangements - but is a disaster when it comes to explaining real life economies. Market societies, for better and worse, are the product of deeply rooted economic imperatives that play out against institutions built in political - power - struggles between people with opposing interests and disparate means to achieve their ends. Economies are jerry-rigged, improvised institutions that sometimes work well and sometimes work very, very badly. Because Lynn is not an economist, he is less inclined to worship at the altar of free markets and more inclined to look at how the self-interested actions of leading business men and women, government officials and the general public combine to create risk as well as opportunity in our global economic commons. Lynn's lack of free market piety will earn him critics among the acolytes of laissez faire economics, but the rest of us should be grateful that he writes about the real world in these confusing times.

Lynn's point in End of the Line is to remind us that the global economy is, like all human creations, a grand improvisation that creates and distributes wealth in ways that are beyond the control of its designers in business and government.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Skylark Thibedeau VINE VOICE on February 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The flip side of "The World is Flat". While US Companies are sending jobs overseas to "Cubicle Coolies" in Third World Countries for a short term return to investors and the CEO's yacht funding, American workers suffer. In the long term US companies must rely on the good will of Pakistan not to nuke their call centers in India over the Kashmir.

Lynn's book is a good look at the mindset of International Corporations who like the media today do not look at themselves as American but as World citizens. To save a little money American corporations since NAFTA have started moving jobs overseas. To justify this they are claiming they are fighting terrorism by increasing the standard of living in the third world. A $300 a month tech in India may be as good as his american counterpart in the US making $4000 but a GI Joe with Kung Fu grip costs as much in Hylalabad as it does in LA. Their standard of living isn't going to rise too much.

Lynn argues that Globalization rather than decreasing our vulnerability to terrorists is actually increasing it as means of production are moved closer to hot spot areas and Companies are dependant on third world despots (and probably the US military) to protect their interests.

He relates how both parties in the US are in bed together on the issue of globalization. He relates that the free trade positions of both Bush Administrations and that of Bill Clinton were almost in lock step. It makes one wonder if there is a politicl solution out there.

The book is very scary and I would reccomend it to those who need a reply to some of the rah rah Pro Globalization books out there.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Craig L. Howe on February 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
On September 21, 1999 an earthquake that registered 7.6 rocked Taiwan. Despite the death toll of 2,400, the quake barely registered in the consciousness of most Americans.

Watching the news would lead even the most cosmopolitan American observer to conclude that people in this country were more interested in North Carolina. Hurricane Floyd dropped more than 28 inches of rain there the week before.

Yet the shock wave from the quake was felt within days. Xilinx, a highly-specialized American semiconductor designer and manufacturer, lost two of its factories that day in Taiwan. Soon, thousands of assembly-line workers located from California to Texas, were furlogued.

The chain reaction did not stop there. Wall Street traders began to place the Taiwanese natural disaster in its proper prospective. Shares of Dell, Apple and Hewlett-Packard began to tumble.

By Christmas, American shoppers were scurrying to avoid the shortages of laptop computers, Barbie cash registers and Furby dolls.

In short a disaster that only 10 years prior would have been a localized disaster, cascaded into a worldwide crisis. The Taiwanese earthquake had elevated itself into a symbol of how closely connected the world has become. Perhaps, more important, Barry Lynn, a fellow at the New American Foundation in Washington, D. C. illustrates how that out-sourced world faces different risks.

Lynn argues today's worldwide economy is an improvisation that creates and distributes wealth in ways beyond the control of its designers.

In this well-written and well-researched monograph is an at times angry look at globalization. It offers a departure from the now familiar argument that interconnected, worldwide capitalism is good. In its place, the author offers a subtle and often scary look at a risk-laden system beyond any government's control.

Lynn's arguments promise to add clarity to this nation's growing global debate.
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