Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order

John Cavanagh, Richard J. Barnet

Published by Simon & Schuster, 1994
ISBN 10: 0671633775 / ISBN 13: 9780671633776
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Synopsis: From Richard J. Barnet, coauthor of the groundbreaking bestseller Global Reach, and John Cavanagh comes an authoritative portrait of global corporations as they have evolved over the last twenty years - replacing national power; controlling the flow of money, goods, and information across the world; and dominating the fate of the world's economy and people.
On the threshold of a new century, the world is shrinking fast, but it is not coming together. Global Dreams explores the many different ways in which the global economy shapes our lives, changing politics, work, and families in the United States and throughout the world, including: How the integrated global production system is creating a job crisis that affects every American; how a few corporations, thanks to their control of earth-spanning technologies, control a global commercial culture that can penetrate any village or neighborhood; how the clash of global commercial culture and traditional societies is unleashing fundamentalist backlash and political conflict; how great corporations have become less and less accountable to public authorities everywhere, and what this means for the environment job opportunities, and our economic future; how "globalization," the business buzzword of the decade, is creating not a global village but a divided planet in the grip of global gridlock.
With major profiles of five of these corporations based on hundreds of interviews on four continents, Richard J. Barnet and John Cavanagh reveal how a few hundred companies with worldwide connections dominate the four intersecting webs of global commercial activity that make up the new world economy. In the Global Cultural Bazaar the focus is on Sony and Bertelsmann as they compete with Philips, Time Warner, Matsushita, Disney, and the other giants in the global market for education and entertainment. In the Global Shopping Mall, the frontrunner is Philip Morris against RJR Nabisco, Nestle, Sara Lee, and H. J. Heinz in the battle to decide what people around the planet will eat, drink, smoke, wear, and enjoy. Ford leads the way into the Global Workplace, a network of factories, workshops, hospitals, and restaurants with participants as far-ranging as Levi Strauss, Nike, Texas Instruments, and Toyota. Citibank, the largest bank based in the United States, is the window through which the authors explore the rapidly changing Global Financial Network.
As all this activity and reach come together, Barnet and Cavanagh show how these conglomerates contribute to political and social disintegration as they become the fragile world empires of the twenty-first century.

From Kirkus Reviews: A measured, anecdotally documented brief for the proposition that a few hundred corporate leviathans have gained a controlling interest in the world economy--at no small cost to national and local governments striving to preserve a sense of community. Barnet (The Rockets' Red Glare, 1990, etc.) and Cavanagh (a fellow at Washington's Institute for Policy Studies) make a more complete job of tracking the advances of multinational enterprises than in reckoning the price of such progress. By the numbers, they estimate that roughly one-quarter of the world's productive assets are held by the top 300 firms in Europe, Japan, and the US. In the course of doing business, the authors claim, these companies are integrating the planet and creating a new order. They go on to assert that a handful dominate the Global Village's so-called Cultural Bazaar, Shopping Mall, Workplace, and Financial Network- -``the four intersecting webs of...commercial activity on which the new world economy largely rests.'' Getting down to cases, Barnet and Cavanagh focus on five essentially stateless organizations whose resources allow them to compete with transnational rivals in markets almost anywhere. If not paradigmatic, their choices- -Bertelsmann, Citicorp, Ford Motor, Philip Morris, and Sony--are at least representative. At any rate, the authors point out that these powerful, innovative juggernauts remain less than accountable to any higher authority. Meanwhile, as economies are drawn closer together, they caution, nation-states and other sociopolitical politics are being pulled apart by post-cold war forces of various sorts. The situation poses many challenges for governments, which can no longer rely on traditional institutions or means to protect their people and territory. Whether humankind can develop a global consciousness that permits it to adapt successfully to altered circumstances, however, strikes the authors as a very open question. Wide-angle perspectives that afford a framework for assessing a widening world's increasingly intertwined economy. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Title: Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the...
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: 1994
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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