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Review: Lexus & the Olive Tree

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Rachellynn24
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Rachel Lynn V. Atendido MBA – Regular Program THE LEXUS AND THE OLIVE TREE By Thomas L. Friedman

‘The Lexus and the Olive Tree’ is written by internationally acclaimed author Thomas L. Friedman that provides a framework for understanding globalization as an international system. He explains the influence globalization is making on politics, economics, society and religion. Friedman stages the conflict between the Lexus (globalization) and the Olive Tree (the primeval forces of culture, geography, tradition and community). The book explains how to look at globalization today and how it works. Friedman discusses that globalization today is similar to the previous era of globalization and what set today’s globalization apart from the past is the grade and intensity with which the world is being held together into a single globalized marketplace. What is new today is also the quantity of individuals and countries who can take advantage of the globalized economy and information networks. Furthermore, it discusses how nation-states, communities, individuals and the environment interrelate with globalization. Friedman indicates that the system allows farther, faster, deeper and cheaper reach around the world. For example, in the 1990s most people have not even heard about internet and only few people had an email address then but today the Internet, cell phones and emails have become a necessity for people. Whereas globalization has a good effect, Friedman also discussed the undesirable impact globalization. According to him, the most negative would be the increasing income gaps between the haves and the havenots. He explains that winners today becomes richer because they can sell their skills globally whereas those who are less talented or skilled can only flourish locally and tend to earn less. As Friedman discusses the benefits as well as costs of the Lexus (globalization), he also reiterated the importance of preserving the Olive Tree or the sense of identity, culture and character of an individual or country. Friedman views globalization as a realist rather than as an idealist. In the book, he said that he views globalization much as he views the sun coming up each day. According to him, he didn’t start it and he can’t stop it either. He thinks about how he can get the most out of it prepare for the worst that it can bring. With this, it may seem that he is pro-globalization however I think that he managed to explain in the book the pros and cons of globalization and at the same time highlights some preventive measures for the negative effects of it. Globalization, as much as change, is inevitable. I

think that instead of trying to fight it, we must find ways to benefit from it. While it seems that poor may become poorer and the rich will become richer because of globalization, I believe that what Friedman is trying to point out is that whatever situation we are in - good or bad and whatever things that we have – big or small, we must do what we can to improve our standard of living. And although it is imperative that every country, individual or business consider the latest trends and adapt to the technology-driven society and environment it is also important to preserve our identity. We must not be crushed by the global system but instead we must find the balance (although it would be a constant struggle) between the Lexus and the olive tree.…...

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