The lexus and the olive tree
Just finished reading The lexus and the olive tree from Thomas L.Friedman that Fer-martin recommend me. It’s a book about “understanding globalization”, talking about the dynamics and interaction of finance, technology, society and geopolitics in our world. But what I felt while reading it is that I was reading the 90s decade history. I understood more in deep what happened around me while I was in high-school, what happened when I started using computers, when I started using the Internet; how the world was changing while I was “concentrated” in studying.
Is the typical book where the main thesis is explained in the first 50 pages and the rest is just examples, going back to the thesis and “blahlblahblah”; or as Roy would say “only about 10% of any non-fiction book is worth reading, the rest is just filler”. Anyways, “The lexus and the olive tree” beginning is pretty worth reading, and also some of the real examples at the different chapters; much better than other globalization books as No Logo. I read more in deep finance related chapters where I learned about hedge funds, big financial firms and investment banks and how they rule the world. Technology chapters are pretty boring, maybe because I’m tired of listening always about the same stuff.
Some quotes I found interesting while reading the book.
I like to compare countries to three parts of a computer. First, there is the actual machine, the “hardware”. This is the basic shell around your economy. And the throughout the Cold War system you had three kinds of hardware in the world: free-market hardware, communist hardware and hybrid hardware that combined features of both.
The second part is the “operating system” for your hardware. I compare this to the broad macroeconomic policies of any country. in the communist countries the basic economic operating system was central planning. There was no free market. The government decided how capital should be allocated. I call that communist economic operating system DOScapital 0.0.
In the hybrid states the operating systems were various combinations of socialism, free markets, state-directed economics and crony capitalism, in which government bureaucrats, businesses and banks were all tied in with one another. I call this DOSCapital 1.0 to 4.0, depending on the degree of government involvement and the sophistication of the economy. Hungary, for instance, is DOScapital 1.0, China is DOScapital 1.0 in the hinterland and 4.0 in Shanghai, Thailand is DOScapital 3.0, Indonesia is DOScapital 3.0 and Korea is DOScapital 4.0.
Last come the big industrial capitalist systems. Some of these have operating systems that are based on free markets but still have significant welfare-state components. This group includes, France, Germany, Japan…
The cold war was a world of “friends” and “enemies”. The globalization world, by contrast, tends to turn all friends and enemies into “competitors”.
Bill Gates’s fortune at one point was equal to the combined net worth of the 106 million “poorest” Americans.