Globalization's Boosters and Critics

Pangloss and Cassandra debate the global village.

Issue: Fall 1999

Thomas Friedman, The Lexus and the Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999), 394 pp., $27.50.

John Gray, False Dawn: The Delusions of Global Capitalism (New York: New Press, 1999), 262 pp., $25.

In the early 1990s, many American politicians and economists viewed Germany and Japan as emerging superpowers that were well on their way to supplanting the United States. The chastened former Axis powers, so the thinking went, had figured out that economic, not military, power was the key to success. They were investing in their infrastructures and educating their work forces for the era of globalization, while America, by contrast, was foolishly racking up higher and higher budget deficits--partly as a consequence of military spending for its protectorates in Europe and Asia--and creating, at best, dead-end McDonald's-type jobs. In his 1992 bestseller Head to Head, MIT economist Lester Thurow captured one version of the conventional wisdom: "Future historians will record that the 21st century belonged to the House of Europe."

You must be a subscriber of The National Interest to access this article. If you are already a subscriber, please activate your online access. Not a subscriber? Become a subscriber today!