Tag Archives: globalization

The Coming China Wars (2006)

 The Coming China Wars: Where they will be fought and where they can be won (2006) is a book by Dr. Peter Navarro, Professor of Business at University of California-Irvine about the intense competition between US and China. The book discusses the relatively rapid emergence of China as a formidable power in the modern global economy and how China’s rise is a threat to the world. He attributes China’s success to low cost labor, disregard for the health and safety of factory workers (and citizenry in general), currency manipulation, export subsidies, rampant counterfeiting and piracy, and oppression of the poor and the weak. It describes a China threatened by internal turmoils (e.g. peasant uprisings) and external problems (e.g. Japan), trapped between tradition and modernity, and unsure of the right balance between communism and capitalism. It describes the problems China faces and its inability (and in some cases, unwillingess) to deal with most of those problems. The underlying thesis of the book is that a global conflict between China and the US is inevitable and offers suggestions on the steps US government can take to win the war with China.

Most experts, analysts, and lay people around the world agree that China has emerged as a global power in the last few years. There is a general consensus that the China of today is much stronger than the China of 50 years back and that the rapid ascent of China is going to continue at least in the near future. Where people disagree is the factors that led to this ascent and the global consequences of China’s power. Professor Novarro’s book is not an unbiased analysis of the factors and consequences of China’s economic success, but it is certainly a passionate and well-written account of why China is a threat to the world. Notably, Professor Novarro is not the only one who holds the views expressed in this book, many China experts, popular commentators, and talk show hosts in the US have often expressed similar views on TV and other public forums (e.g. Glenn Beck and Sean Hannerty).

I enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to people who want to learn more about China and its relationship with China. I do not believe, and I am sure Professor Novarro would agree with me, that the book provides an unbiased discussion of the various China-related issues. However, I do not think the bias of the author is a weakness of the book. In fact, I think it’s a strength. Professor Novarro has wonderfully articulated the views held by a sizeable section of the US people (and many in other countries) about China. He has clearly stated that most of the research for the book was done on the internet and makes no claim of looking at things from a Chinese (or non U.S.) perspective. The biases have been acknowledged, now let the conversation begin!

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The World is Flat

worldisflat3.jpg The World is Flat: A brief history of the twenty-first century is an internationally acclaimed book by New York Times columnist and popular opinion-shaper Thomas Friedman. The title, based on a statement by Nandan Nilekani the former CEO of Infosys, is a metaphor for viewing the world a level playing field for companies from countries across the world. In the book, Friedman travels around the world and analyzes recent advances in globalization. He attributes the “flattening” of the world to 10 forces: (1) The fall of the Berlin Wall, (2) introduction of Netscape, (3) workflow software, (4) open-sourcing, (5)  outsourcing, (6) off-shoring, (7) supply chaining, (8) in-sourcing, (9) increased access to information, and (10) personal digital devices such as PDAs. Friedman argues that the 10 flatteners conerged to create a new, fallter, global playing field that is changing lives of people around the world. Friedman also discusses forces, such as terrorism and AIDS, that can impede and flattening of the world. Friedman’s book and his analysis of slobalization has become a must-read for strategic managers and influences government and business leaders around the world.

A major criticism of Friedman’s thesis in The World is Flat is that it is an one-sided view of globalization, a overly optimistic view of the benefits of globalization. Many scholars believe it is dangerous to have so much faith in globalization and have urged caution in following a book, which some believe, is based on “unsupported allegations” and “interviews with friends” and ” playing golf with rich and famous corporate executives”. Ronald Aronica and Mtetwa Ramdoo have written a hard-hitting book The World Is Flat?: A Critical Analysis of New York Times Bestseller by Thomas Friedman which presents another side of globalization, focusing on many issues ignored by Friedman. They recognize that “globalization is the greatest reorganization of the world since the Industrial Revolution”, and discuss many of the things that have gone wrong with globalization. Of course, Aronica and Ramdoo are not only the two authors critical of Friedman’s ideas about globalization, may other scholars, academics, and executives have written about the “dark side” of globalization.

Despite its limitations and shortcomings, I believe every person who is interested in globalization-related issues should read The World is Flat, even if they disagree with the ideas presented in the book.

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