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One World Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism Hardcover – January 13, 1997

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Editorial Reviews Review

The world is in the midst of an industrial and economic revolution more far-reaching than the one that transformed Europe and North America in the 19th century. According to William Greider, this revolution is a juggernaut that neither multinational corporations nor governments can control. Greider looks at the impact of the global revolution in terms of human struggle. While huge amounts of wealth are being generated, there is a downside, too: social dislocation; economic uncertainty; and the oldest, rawest form of exploitation--that of the weak by the strong. Greider proposes a number of steps governments of the world can take to avert disaster: moderate the flow of goods by imposing tariffs to rectify trade deficits, change labor practices in developing countries, and allow labor to share in the ownership of capital.

From Publishers Weekly

Greider (Secrets of the Temple) here surveys the dynamics and contradictions of the corporate-driven global economy, which, he says, is heading toward "an economic or political cataclysm." His selective tour?he avoids Africa and much of South America, and focuses on U.S. corporations?nonetheless vividly introduces this changing economic world and suggests populist reforms well worth discussion. In developing Malaysia, Greider sees multinational corporations seeking not just cheaper workers but another power base. He observes that technological improvement has actually led to overcapacity in the global auto industry. He notes that the industrialization of China?substituting low-paid workers for higher-paid Westerners?will erode the world's purchasing power. He perceives the U.S. as ominously failing to decrease its trade deficit or to defend domestic producers and jobs. Then Greider looks at the metastasizing world of finance capital and proposes a transaction tax to slow down the "furious pace" of computer-driven traders impelled to seek higher returns. He suggests debt forgiveness for poor nations. To foster a more responsible capitalism, he proposes taxes on capital, not payrolls, reciprocity with mercantilist countries such as Japan and labor rights for workers in poor countries. Greider devotes a final section to emerging examples (e.g., employee ownership) of his proposed "global humanism." But he skirts the question of how religious and ethnic nationalism might affect global economic convergence.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (January 13, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684811413
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684811413
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,531,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

William Greider is the bestselling author of five previous books, including One World, Ready or Not (on the global economy), Who Will Tell the People (on American politics), and Secrets of the Temple (on the Federal Reserve). A reporter for forty years, he has written for The Washington Post and Rolling Stone and has been an on-air correspondent for six Frontline documentaries on PBS. Currently the national affairs correspondent for The Nation, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Taparaho on January 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book attempts to create a paradigm shift from the optimistic traditional American dream of hard work and reward, to the more pessimistic global reality of being displaced by big business as the social classes polarize. Greider takes on an immense task as he presents a macroeconomic view of the global economy, which he states has caused a decline in the standard of living for the average worker since 1974. His main argument is that the free running of global capitalism has recreated the conditions that preceded the Great Depression -- excess supplies of goods and labor, an expanding inequality of wealth, and social exploitation in the name of free market economics, which threatens global economic crisis and social revolution. As multinational firms fiercely complete for global market shares, they abandon the national interests of their home country and disregard any social obligation that does not promote short-term profits, including displacing or exploiting workers. Without multilateral intervention that would regulate global commerce and protect the rights of workers everywhere, a world economic and social crisis is inevitable.
Greider successfully illustrates the struggle between labor and capital: Organized labor's power to control wages and working conditions, which has traditionally been grounded in its ability to limit the supply of workers, has been decimated by the mobility of capital. In a global market, there will always be workers willing to accept a lower wage as opposed to no wage. As this Awage arbitrage@ forces earnings down, the middle class with disposable income will slowly disappear.
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59 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Barron Laycock HALL OF FAME on June 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
No one writes with more verve, insight, and human compassion than long-time Rolling Stone contributor and Editor William Greider. His perspective always centers on the human cost of social phenomena, and is always heartfelt, compassionate, and extremely well focused. In this book he centers in brilliantly on the ways in which the so-called "Third Wave" of global trading and commerce is poised to transform the social, economic, and political landscape of the countries in which it is being introduced. His writing skills are superb, and the ordinarily dry and stuffy stuff of economics come alive in this highly readable and quite entertaining work. In fact, reviewer Brink Lindsey of the Kirkus Review called this book "the best-written book on the global economy" he had ever read. Ditto, Mr. Lindsey, ditto.
I also agree with his observations calling the prose energized, clear, and sharp. However, I disagree with the negative criticism many other critics and reviewers have voiced concerning Mr. Greider's conclusions herein, which seem to center on the fact that he is not an apologist, fellow-traveler, or celebrant of the new global forces. Indeed, Mr. Greider's perspective is more sanguine, expressing concern of the many ways in which this fundamentally anti-democratic new commerce tends toward becoming a revolutionary & extraordinarily well-focused force literally power-hosing the new wealth generated by this commerce in the direction of the rich and well placed at the expense of almost everyone else.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 1, 1999
Format: Audio Cassette
This book is a must read for anyone interested in learning about the global economy that runs our world today. This book does not have a story line or a plot, but it tells how our global economy works, and how it affects people's lives. The book is divided up into many different narratives. Having traveled the world and talked to factory workers, corporate CEOs, economists, and government officials, William Greider presents information with much insight and knowledge. Greider points out, the way multinational corporations are designed to work is not geared for what is best for national interests, but instead they are set up to take advantage of the free market. Greider tells it how it is. Multinational companies today are in a race to find the cheapest labor, and to become more effecient than their competitors. Multinationals are going into countries such as Malyasia and hiring poor, single females to manufacture computer chips and other goods. Just when these workers are starting to accumulate enough money to live on and feel like they are becoming productive, the company packs up and moves in hopes to become more productive elsewhere. Through the global economy and free market capitalism many people are being dehumanized and demoralized and are losing precious jobs to computer orchestrated robots. The globalization of many large companies has taken its toll on factory jobs in the US, and is a threat to middle-class lifestyle, as well as the social peace between the rich and poor countries of the world. Cheap labor and cheap production costs have created many product surpluses. Because of the surpluses the price of many goods has stayed status quo, or even dropped. The time we are in now is great for the consumer. Greider believes that the global economy is generating too much growth, and it is becoming hard for the free market to absorb. To find out a possible solution to this problem I suggest reading One World, Ready or Not.
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