The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation
On Sale: August 8, 2006
Trade Size (reprint)
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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
America’s 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
outsourcing’s 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
peace—but only if we master its complexities and approach it
in a way that protects and advances our national interest.
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