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End of the Line: The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporationby Barry C Lynn
"[T]he heart of End of the Line — and the reason why this book should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding what globalization has wrought — is Lynn's fascinating explanation of how the flexibility and interconnectedness that are fundamental building blocks of the global economy are actually its Achilles' heel. Not only are we now in bed with nations who don't share our values and may end up being our enemies (read: China), but our most successful corporations are companies that don't actually make anything, that in fact subtract value from the economy, rather than add to it." Andrew Leonard, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
In September 1999, an earthquake devastated much of Taiwan, toppling buildings, knocking out electricity, and killing 2,500 people. Within days, factories as far away as California and Texas began to close. Cut off from their supplies of semiconductor chips, companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard began to shutter assembly lines and send workers home. A disaster that only a decade earlier would have been mainly local in nature almost cascaded into a grave global crisis. The quake, in an instant, illustrated just how closely connected the world had become and just how radically different are the risks we all now face.
End of the Line is the first real anatomy of globalization. It is the story of how American corporations created a global production system by exploding the traditional factory and casting the pieces to dozens of points around the world. It is the story of how free trade has made American citizens come to depend on the good will of people in very different nations, in very different regions of the world. It is a story of how executives and entrepreneurs at such companies as General Electric, Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, and Flextronics adapted their companies to a world in which Americas international policies were driven ever more by ideology rather than a focus on the long-term security and well-being of society.
Politicians have long claimed that free trade creates wealth and fosters global stability. Yet Lynn argues that the exact opposite may increasingly be true, as the resulting global system becomes ever more vulnerable to terrorism, war, and the vagaries of nature. From a lucid explanation of outsourcings true impact on American workers to an eye-opening analysis of the ideologies that shape free-market competition, Lynn charts a path between the extremes of left and right. He shows that globalization can be a great force for spreading prosperity and promoting peacebut only if we master its complexities and approach it in a way that protects and advances our national interest.
Lynn shows that globalization can be a great force for spreading prosperity and promoting peace--but only when its complexities are mastered and protections are in place.
In September 1999, an earthquake devastated much of Taiwan, toppling buildings, knocking out electricity, and killing 2,500 people. Within days, the repercussions were felt in places as far away as Texas and California. Cut off from their supplies of semiconductors, companies like Dell and Hewlett-Packard closed down their assembly lines, sent workers home, and shut their factory doors. In an instant, it became clear just how closely connected the world has become.
In END OF THE LINE, Barry Lynn illuminates the full sweep and scope of the “butterfly effect” set in motion by the radical reorganization of industry and the system of trade it brought in its wake. Focusing on the tensions between corporate needs and the interests of society both here and abroad, and offering vivid examples of the impact of decisions made at such companies as General Electric, Dell, and Microsoft, he argues that the global system as it stands today is inherently fragile, upsets social balances, undermines healthy competition, and profoundly and dangerously changes the relationships among nations.
END OF THE LINE provides a vital perspective on how the global industrial revolution operates, who benefits, and who is put at risk. From a lucid explanation of outsourcing and its true impact on American workers, to an eye-opening analysis of the ideologies and politics that currently shape free market competition, Lynn charts a path between the extremes on both left and right. He shows that globalization can be a great force for spreading prosperity and promoting peace—but only when we master its complexities and initiate actions that will protect and advance our national economic and political goals.
About the Author
Barry C. Lynn is a fellow at the New American Foundation in Washington, D.C. He has reported on business from around the world and served as the executive editor of Global Business magazine for seven years. His views have been sought by U.S. politicians as well as by the governments of France, Japan, India, and other nations. His work has been supported by the Rockefeller Foundation. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two children.
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