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One World Ready or Not: The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism Hardcover – January 13, 1997
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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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Top Customer Reviews
It is easier to blame the workers, or blame the so-called "illegals", than to realize that the
nature of economics has fundamentally changed due to golbalization. I gained many insights
from the reading of this book and another more recent one "Come Home, America". What I really
appreciated about this book is that it was written at a time when the dismal shape of the world
was not so apparent, at least not to many. His insights have proven prophetic, valid and
cogent. Where we go from here is no trivial question
Early in the books Greider argues like a Marxist--the system has inherent tendencies based on competition, etc. But later he sounds more like a liberal describing the greed of international corporations and the corruption of equally greedy elites.
A superb condemnation of global capitalism. Greider is at his best when he describes the demand by the U.S. government for a laissez faire capitalism that is unfettered except in its treatment of third world workers who are virtually enslaved
In this book he addresses global capitalism from a variety of angles.
On the political side of it he explains what former presidents have done to assist multinational corporations' entry into foreign markets. Those nations will often protect their own domestic industries and receive concessions in the form of partnerships for the ability to enter their markets. This contributes to the trade deficit that the U.S. has experienced for decades.
From a human rights standpoint he examines the allegations that some governments bar employees from forming unions, and worse yet, physical punishment for various infractions. Global corporations profit immensely from cheap labor around the globe.
Another interesting subject was "overcapacity" in automobile manufacturing as a weakness for the car makers. Making more than can be sold is a strategy similar to dumping cheap products on the market to drive out competitors. It also makes cars available cheaper to move inventory.
"Offsets" are explained by way of Boeing as an example.
The chapter about America being the "buyer of last resort" made a lot of sense.
Two memorable quotes from the book were;
"The great multinationals are unwilling to face the moral and economic contradictions of their own behavior- producing in low-wage dictatorships and selling to high-wage democracies. Indeed, the striking quality about global enterprises is how easily free-market capitalism puts aside it's supposed values in order to do business."-page 170.
On corporate power- "The future often seems improbable until it happens".
On the topic of a One World or New World Order, I think that this book makes the point that at least on an economic basis, we already have that. We may not have a government ruling the world, but looking at current world events, we have a globally-linked financial crisis!
The only criticism I have of this book is the repetition of material throughout the book. It is a very good book on the global economy and various aspects of it.