Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States on September 19, 1999
The globalization of the world's economy is a phenomenon of the world after the demise of the Soviet Union. Friedman gives a brilliant tour de force of the causes and results of worldwide financial markets acting in accordance with their own perceived self-interest, bestowing wealth and new investment in countries based upon their potential to return a profit to investers. But he also describes what happens when the "Electronic Herd" of investors get spooked by unanticipated threats to their investments. Because countries differ widely in their ability to absorb and efficiently use investment capital, there are wide fluctuations in investment, with consequential social and economic damage as capital moves across national boundaries with the speed of a mouse click. Friedman uses an anecdotal approach it illustrate his points, and in the end, they coalesce into his principal themes, that predictability, transparency, and accountability are the standards against which all investment will be measured, and those who are unable or refuse to abide by these norms will suffer accordingly. He also analyzes the impact of these fluid financial markets on traditional societies, and the tensions that fluidity impose on the traditonal order of things. People want both the wealth that the new order brings, but also want the community and values that this financial fluidity tend to undermine. Striking a balance between hopes and dreams for a secure future, and protecting traditional community values, and providing a safety net for those who are unable to compete will be the principal tasks of political and financial leaders now and in the distant future. This book should be on every thinking person's reading list as a Must Read.
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