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Seeing the Elephant: Understanding Globalization from Trunk to Tail 1st Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0470283851
ISBN-10: 0470283858
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

In the new millennium, it is nearly impossible for us to talk about basic concerns like food or gas prices, without examining global intersections in trade, energy, immigration, the environment, and defense. Many countries once described as "developing" nations now wield greater economic and political influence than some of the so-called "major" powers. Former debtor nations have become creditors of the United States and other developed countries that run budget deficits. Without recognizing and understanding these connections, we cannot even begin to discuss how the United States and other countries can craft and harness effective policies amid this breathtaking progress. In Seeing the Elephant, Peter Marber describes how increasing economic integration and the rise of new actors is drastically altering the geopolitical landscape, and offers insights on how the U.S. can make policy to maintain a leading role in the years to come.

The twenty-first century, Marber explains, demands a very different lens for viewing the world. In the era of globalization, America's success hinges on the success of its neighbors, too. Rising economic powerhouses—China, Russia, India, Brazil, and others—bring a diverse set of interests to the table that the U.S. cannot afford to ignore. Moreover, globalization has created thousands of non-state actors—corporations, banks, hedge funds, activists, and even terrorists—who bring their own concerns to bear. Marber underscores the importance of forging strong relationships with pivotal developing nations and America's need to reaffirm the centricity of global protocols, rules, and institutions after an unfortunate period of neglect. It's not too late. By focusing on seven key cross-border, interlinking issues—trade and finance, energy, security, immigration, health, the environment, and poverty—Marber recommends key adjustments in policies that aim to strengthen and modernize our current institutional infrastructure, including NATO, the WHO, the WTO, the World Bank, and the UN, among others. While his strategies do not guarantee that the United States will remain on top economically, they ensure that the global system America helped to create triumphs in the end, protecting against the factionalism that led to two World Wars and destroyed decades of economic progress.

In this timely book, Marber demystifies globalization and analyzes new international megatrends and interconnections. With bold suggestions on how America can reassert its historic leadership in the new global arena, Seeing the Elephant will show readers how the U.S. still remains the planet's best chance at building enduring peace and prosperity.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Seeing the Elephant

"Creative and accessible . . . Peter Marber has earned his insights into globalization as a practitioner who studied emerging markets long before they became fashionable in the West. An inspiring, terrific book about the most important subject of our era."
Steve Coll, Pulitzer Prize winner and bestselling author of Ghost Wars and The Bin Ladens

"On the money . . . . If you want to understand globalization's future, as well as some of the reasons we got into our current financial mess, reading Marber's Seeing the Elephant is a great place to start."
Craig Karmin, Wall Street Journal reporter and author of Biography of the Dollar: How the Mighty Buck Conquered the World and Why It's Under Siege

"Peter Marber is an original thinker who has managed to write a genuinely original book about globalization—a subject that has been exhausted by far too many more conventional analyses. His 'macro quantum' perspective on the world spotlights the critical, unavoidable fact of infinite connections among states and people. Those connections, and the uncertainty and unpredictability they bring, also open up a world of infinite possibility."
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

"At a time when we are witnessing the collapse of just about everything, Seeing the Elephant should be required reading for any American looking for a way forward. Peter Marber unpacks the intricately connected, fast-evolving world we live in with crystal-clear prose, apt metaphors, and hard data.
Seeing the Elephant provides a prototype of the new flight apparatus America needs to navigate our way successfully through the buffeting winds of the twenty-first century."
Mira Kamdar, author of Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy and the Future of Our World

"Great timing . . . . Seeing the Elephant captures global reality as it is today and where it is heading far more deeply than any framework offered so far. This is the book government and business leaders must read. By cleverly investigating the connections between finance, the environment, security, and poverty, Marber makes all previous writing on globalization redundant."
Parag Khanna, author of The Second World: Empires and Influence in the New Global Order


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (February 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470283858
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470283851
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,123,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A. Quku on February 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Best book to help you understand where the world is going.

Marber takes both the intellectual rigor of an academic and the pragmatic insight of an investor to analyze the underlying issues that are changing the world at a break-neck pace.

It is useful both as a primer on the modern international economy and as a go-to handbook for policy makers and portfolio managers alike.

Worth it for the insightful asides and case studies alone. His assessment of the cost of health care to companies is particularly apt in light of Detroit's search for additional bailouts.

Overall, makes complex issues very accessible.
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Format: Hardcover
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As a student of international affairs (I recently completed my Master's of International Affairs (MIA) at Columbia University) I definitely appreciate Peter Marber's point of view. He brings a fresh, comprehensive viewpoint to the subject of globalization and emerging markets. His discussion of Micro Domestic vs. Macro Quantum is especially timely given the current state of the world economy and international relations in general.

I would definitely recommend this book as a must-read for a person who is interested in globalization and its effects as well as the way forward for the US and G8 countries.
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Format: Hardcover
A book that gives you some hope for America's path ahead when everything seems to be going the wrong way.
A really well explained and detailed account of what has changed in global politics and economics, full of bold suggestions for the future. As a student studying international studies, Marber's writing is the most clear account and explanation of globalization that I've ever read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
"Seeing the Elephant" focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach to what Marber identified as seven key issues - trade and finance, energy, security, immigration, health, the environment, and poverty. Unfortunately, reality is less than promised - most of the book is superficial, and offers only recycled old thinking.

For example, the section on immigration contends that the U.S. needs large numbers of new immigrants for construction - never mind the fact that an untold number of American citizens formerly employed in construction are now idle or working in lower-income sectors. Marber also tries to defy facts by claiming that this group does not bring higher social expenses with them. Similarly, Marber seems oblivious to the high social costs of outsourcing and H1-B visas - unemployment, loss of pension and health care benefits, and lowered incomes for Americans. He also fails to make a solid connection between American agricultural supports and the increased illegal immigration since NAFTA. On the other hand, he does make a good point that increased global trade reduces the incentives and motivations for war.

Marber sees considerable need for improving protection against terrorism within the U.S., but ignores the much cheaper and more effective approach of reducing the motivation for others to become terrorists.

On the topic of health care, Marber makes the key point that American health care costs far more/citizen than any other developed country. However, he fails to identify our multiple-payer system, abuse by pharmaceutical companies, large amount of unneeded/harmful care provided, limits on M.D. enrollment, and high costs of medical education as factors. On the other hand, his suggestion of improved self-care is worthy of note.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Marber's Seeing the Elephant is a multidisciplinary and holistic perspective of globalization that is long overdue.

He illustrates globalization is more than trade or finance or foreign policy, but instead a complex tapestry that reaches across borders, cultures and religions. This complexity had led to great interconnectedness thereby policies that pursue isolation or harp towards the past are not effective at managing outcomes that lead to peace, prosperity and sustainability.

Marber argues that there is no way to maintain status quo. The rise of emerging economies, particularly the E7, a group in contrast to the diminishing dinosaurs of the G7, means that the global playing field is changing.

While the G7 increasingly engages E7 countries economically through trade and now through China largely financing efforts to bailout the US economy, serious political engagement has been slow and conditional. Early and constant engagement with these countries will tend them towards behaviors that value peace and human rights as well as the environment. Real engagement will also empower and incentivize them to maintain peace in their own regions thereby reducing the need for constant western led efforts.

Seeing the Elephant is a must read to understand the true breadth of globalization, the potential pitfalls and the great opportunities that exist. A five star book from a five star, post partisan thinker.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent treatment of a subject that adds a great deal to the important area of globalization. The book is clearly better than some of the more popular books on this subject, especially Tom Friedman's meandering writing in The World is Flat. Marber writes clearly and has chosen 7 important topics to discuss as related to a global world. I teach in this area at a graduate school and this book is now required reading.

The only idea I do not understand is his use of Macro Quantum - it is as if he had to call his ideas something new and make up a term. (Sorry, Peter, but lose the term and stay with the excellent research that you have done. In fact, your ability to pull in various types of research and data to make your point is a very strong benefit of the book). Marber did not need to fall victim to the popular press, Friedman-like technique of making up words to accentuate points. These new terms confuse rather than clarify.

Finally, his next book has to be one that is clearer about the intersection of trade, immigration, environment, energy etc. The book's title gives a good indication of this treatment but more is needed. Lots to ask for in one book so I anticipate Marber's next book on the topic.

Nicely done - one of the best current books on the topic and readable by people who do not have backgrounds in globalization and its various aspects.
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