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globalization: n. the irrational fear that someone in China will take your job Hardcover – November 10, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“The book's strength lies in its clear application of basic economic principles to reveal the hidden logic (and illogic) of claims about globalization's causes and effects.” (Choice, April 2009)

"In the process of dispelling . . .simplistic myths of economic globalization, Greenwald and Kahn present an alternative history based on facts . . . Refreshingly, their conclusions cut across traditional ideological chasms. . . Greenwald and Kahn challenge much of the conventional knowledge about globalization and offer investors a long-run look into macroeconomic developments. They present intriguing insights based on facts rather than political ideology. That's exactly what Foolish investors want to hear." (Motley Fool)

"Columbia professor and economist Bruce Greenwald, abetted by collaborator Judd Kahn, deftly punctures the prevailing wisdom on the effects of international trade, arguing that most of the books and reporting on the subject deal with this complex, multidimensional phenomenon simplistically, anecdotally and incorrectly… It's not globalization that's screwing things up. On the contrary. Overriding local political and economic interests subvert the flow of commerce, which introduces disparities and deficits that result in trade imbalances, inflation, deflation and unemployment."–Richard Pachter, "Globalization myths debunked," ( The Miami Herald)

"The list of globalization errors (both pro and con) is long, and makes fertile territory for Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn in "Globalization." The authors, a Columbia Business School professor and a historian, respectively, argue that local decision-making, productivity-enhancing technological change, and the growing demand for services will be the key forces shaping our futures -- not globalization, meaning the global flow of goods and capital. …this work is a crisp, provocative addition to the debate on globalization. It's well worth a look, particularly as a counterbalance to prevailing globalization "wisdom." (Rick Carew, The Wall Street Journal)

From the Inside Flap

To its critics, globalization is a terrible development that makes almost everybody worse off and threatens the survival of the planet. They blame it for everything from mass poverty in Africa and Latin America to the falling living standards for workers in Europe and North America. In contrast, globalization's advocates argue that it is the greatest force for good in human history, a powerful institution for improving the quality of life around the world. The underlying problem with both of these positions, says Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn, is that they are based on certain accepted truths that are either highly questionable or largely false. In Globalization, they cut through the myths surrounding globalization and look more closely at its real impact, presenting a more accurate picture of the present status of globalization and its future consequences.

The authors show that globalization is not a recent development but has a long and cyclical history. They explain how, by concentrating so intently on globalization, we ignore the role of other important trends and simply attribute every change to globalization. Perhaps most importantly, they reveal how the globalization debate largely ignores information that is essential to understanding what is really going on. While many commentators rely on anecdotes or studies that are fundamentally flawed, Greenwald and Kahn uncover the real facts about globalization and answer the most important questions it raises: Will globalization increase or diminish in economic importance? Do higher living standards depend more on global or local conditions? To what extent are workers in rich countries likely to be affected by globalization? How will business be influenced? What are the actual implications of globalization for financial markets?

Looking to the future, Greenwald and Kahn identify trends that point strongly to an economy in which services play a larger role and in which local decisions are critical. They suggest that international monetary reform is one area where global cooperation will be required.

There has clearly been a glaring need for a straightforward, inclusive, and digestible presentation of the wide range of systematic data that addresses the question of the likely future of globalization. This timely book meets this need.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 186 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (November 10, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047016963X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470169636
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,195,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Geri on December 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover
This book provides a thought-provoking summary and analysis of the economics of globalization. It is a quick read and the authors don't intend to provide substantial depth, but it is refreshing as one of the few texts willing to argue that globalization is not only not new, but not worth all the angst it has generated.

The authors' thesis: much of the fear associated with globalization is misplaced, because there is much more local control over economic success than either pro or anti-globalizers are willing to acknowledge. Or as they title one of their chapters: "Countries Control Their Fates." They support this thesis with an analysis of the factors they believe underlie the economic success of China, India and other successful developing countries. They emphasize sustained increases in productivity growth brought about by continuous improvement in efficiency--akin to what the Japanese term kaizen (though they don't call it that). They reject the projections by economist Alan Blinder and others that offshoring may threaten tens of millions of US jobs.

Subsequent chapters analyze trends in employment, wages, and a theory of the firm that concludes that local dominance, supported by a keen knowledge of local consumers and markets, is the way to profit. They correctly note that business formulas often do not translate from one culture to another (remember WalMart's failures abroad) and that an irony of globalization is that markets generally become even more competitive as they become global, reducing profits to firms stuck in commodity businesses. Their analysis of employment data are compelling.
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Professor Greenwald is know for his value investing focus at Columbia, in the tradition of Buffett and Columbia profs who really pioneered the concept. As usual, Bruce goes against the herd mentality to realistically discuss globalization. He doesn't argue that the loss of manufacturing jobs has been good for America but instead essentially says that globalization is often misunderstood and mischaracterized. This book has already been vindicated with the realities that some companies are bringing back certain jobs to the USA and China is experiencing significant wage inflation, hurting their competitiveness.

You don't have to agree with everything, but it works because it challenges our tendency to think conventionally.
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Format: Hardcover
Bruce C. Greenwald (who teaches in Columbia University's Graduate School of Business) and Judd Kahn (a former history professor) proof globalists to be dead wrong in Glob*ali*za'*tion: n. The Irrational Fear that Someone in China Will Take Your Job. While we're supposed to live in the Globalization 3.0 world according to Thomas L. Friedman c.s. the net effects of factors related to globalization seem absent. Necessary are good statistics (remember the lies, damned lies & statistics quotes?), and better research than mere anecdotes and unrelated data or non-correlations.
Local factors, better: local choices are much powerful than global factors or globalization as single entity. For example, the so called BRIC countries perform much better nowadays under same global conditions. Other factors need to be uncovered. Many sectors like healthcare, education, social arrangements, government, food distribution, services have a local focus: products & services are made, offered and consumed locally. Energy, telecommunication, utilities are all delivered locally too.
Globalists exaggerate their influence, while anti-globalists, present at top meetings to demonstrate, may have other concerns than pure economics. The authors present a 4 years economics graduate level education in 1 book. I was happy to be familiar with all factors researched (e.g. wages, profitability, economies of scale, barriers & tarriffs, competitive advantages, global branding, information asymmetry, moral hazard, Marshall Plan, Bretton Woods, Gold Standard, investments, savings, currency exchange rates, productivity measurements, IMF and World Bank).
Written in 2008 at the dawn of the current economic crisis, the authors draw many lessons from the past centuries, rather than trusting news networks anchormen or latest hypes.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading the review of "Globalization" in the Wall Street Journal, I had to see what triggered such a rave. Now I get it: Greenwald & Kahn cut through the typical bias, myth, and bloated rhetoric. The result is a thoughtful, accessible and short(!) tour de force of an important subject. I wish my economics courses had been as clear or as interesting!
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The book argues that the effects of globalization are exaggerated and that local trumps global. Even foreign manufactured products have to be marketed and distributed locally. Thus, service industries will offset the loss of manufacturing jobs in the US. However, we need a new reserve currency to replace the US dollar in order to reduce the US trade deficit which he says is driven by the use of the US dollar as a reserve currency by other nations. He suggests that the I'M F issue the new currency.
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