In This Review
Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order

Global Dreams: Imperial Corporations and the New World Order

By Richard J. Barnet and John Cavanaugh

Simon & Schuster, 1994, 480 pp.

Growing production, widening markets and urbanization have been disrupting traditional life for over two centuries. The authors of this interesting but frustrating book have discovered that the process is occurring on a global scale.

The basic theme of this book is the influence of a few hundred giant corporations in creating a global culture, global marketplace, global production and system of global finance, all accessible only to a minority of the world's population. A subtheme is that these processes are not only undermining traditional ways of life, but are also destroying good jobs and replacing them with poor jobs or none at all.

The authors are at their best when telling the story of the evolution toward globalism, as they do illustratively for several of the world's large corporations. They are at their worst when pontificating on job losses with little recognition of how modern economies create employment as production and incomes rise, even as particular jobs are being destroyed by new technologies and changes in demand. They also have the irritating practice, too common in journalism, of confusing levels of growth with rates of growth or with market shares. They note that world poverty has increased. They fail to note that world affluence has also increased, and that the share of the world's population in poverty has surely declined over the last decade, not least because of the remarkable economic growth in China and India.