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Book Review The Lexus And The Olive Tree If you want to understand the post-Cold War world you have to start by understanding the new system that has succeeded it --- globalization That is the premise of the book The Lexus and the Olive Tree by the New York Times foregin affairs columnist Thomas L Friedman The book is divided into three parts Part One Seeing the System explains the system of globalization and how much it differs from the system that preceeded it---Cold War He explains that the driving force behind globalization is free market capitalism The more you open your economy to market forces free trade and competition the more efficient and flourishing your economy will be He mentions three important forces that are reposnsible for creating and sustaining globalization which are the democratization of technology information and finance To be successful in this economy you have to decentralize and give more responsibilities to people so that they can react faster to changes Due to the democratization of finance anonymous investors around the world can invest their savings in various countries and companies around the world This community of investors which Friedman calls the electronic herd likes countries which have worn the Golden Straightjacket By this he means counties which have made private sector the primary engine of economic growth maintains a low rate of inflation has small bureaucracy has removed restrictions on foreign investment promotes domestic competition etc The second part of the book Plugging into the system Friedman compares countries to a computer He says that for successfully participating in globalization a country should have the right hardware and the right software The right hardware is free market economy and the right software includes banking laws commercial laws bankruptcy rules independent central bank etc Another term he introduces is Globalution This is the process by which the electronic herd uses its financial clout to bring about changes in the internal working
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