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Global Shift

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Critical Review

Global Shift: Mapping The Changing Contours of the World Economy

When the term “Globalization” is discussed, most academics, scholars, professionals and intellectuals attempt to define and interpret it in a summarized fashion. My main concern with this approach is that one cannot and should not define a process that altered decades of history and continues to, in less than 30 words. Global Shift is a book with remarkable insight. Peter Dicken rather than attempting to define the commonly misused word, explains Globalization in a clear and logical fashion, which interconnects numerous views. Dicken takes full advantage of his position to write and identify the imperative changes of political, economic, social, and technological dimensions of globalization.

The case studies and examples in his book support key theoretical arguments; but the primary deficiency is it doesn’t have real life examples that elaborate on the theories. The book’s youngest audiences are undergraduates, and it is intended to educate and guide them towards the true meaning of globalization. No matter how explicate the theory is, it is very important to support it with specific examples. In chapter one Dicken points out “There is real danger of resource exhaustion in specific areas…geopolitical complication that access to localized resource (like oil, for example) may be restricted from time to time by states within whose territory it is located.”(Dicken2007 p.25) Imbedding an example such as “When the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo removed about 25% of the worlds daily crude oil from the market в"Ђ oil prices increased significantly.” (McPherson) brings additional insight and understanding to a significant issue or event. Dicken’s writing style doesn’t emphasize on examples. They are the cornerstone of good reasoning, drawing pictures and allowing the reader to relate and receive an enhanced view of his arguments.

Throughout the chapters assigned, Dicken focuses on the patterns and processes of global shifts, on the forms produced by the globalization of economic activities and on the forces producing those forms. He builds his arguments around three interconnected processes, which in his view are the reasons for reshaping the global economic map. Those are Transnational Corporations (“TNC”), States, and Technology.

Transnational Corporations - State

Dicken believes that most TNCs are capitalist enterprises driven by profit. He argues that they are the primary movers and shapers of the global economy with the power to easily control or coordinate production networks across the world. In chapter four Dicken challenges a view that with time TNCs are going to abandon their country of origin, and take over the smaller weaker firms. “Dominant organizational form will develop and wipe out less efficient competitors no longer protected by national or local barriers.”(Dicken2007 p.124) Dicken supports his argument using the Transnationality index (appendix 1). Fundamentally it concludes that a majority of the TNCs are connected to their home base and will not abandon that connection. “They are national corporations with international operations”(Dicken2007 p.126). Kenichi Ohamaes on the other hand disagrees and claims, "Country of origin does not matter. Location of headquarters does not matter. The products for which you are responsible and the company you serve have become denationalised."

Despite the fact that the authors have completely opposing views, there is truth in both their statements. It can clearly be supported with an example on Keirestu: they have been the center of the Japanese economic development, but after the bursting of the вЂ?bubble economy’ it put them under pressure to change and adapt their practices globally. A key piece of evidence on this theory is the Renault and Nissan acquisition. There were strong pressures from external forces, for the Japanese business groups to open up to outsiders, become liberalized; more western rather than stick to their cultural social based stakeholders. “Greater involvement in the global economy is forcing these firms to modify some of their practices” (Yeung 2000). Throughout the year Japan’s TNCs have not become “boundaryless” or “placeless” instead they remain distinctively Japanese in their structure and practice, as Dicken would have argued. Equally Dicken can be argued against because TNCs have become part of the “Hyper-competition” environment where they are no longer competing nationally but rather across the world. For a TNC it doesn’t matter where you’re from or where you are, all non-local firms have to adapt their domestic practices to the host-nations local conditions in order to stay competitive and beat less efficient competition.


Dicken sees technology as “the dynamic heart of economic growth and development; it is fundamental to the evolution of a global economic system.” This is accurate, new technologies are what fuels the growing forms of political



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