END OF THE LINE by Barry C.  Lynn


The Rise and Coming Fall of the Global Corporation
Email this review


A well-reasoned antiglobalist call to arms.

Deftly avoiding sectarian stereotypes, former Global Business magazine editor Lynn (New American Foundation) holds that the reconfiguration of multinational commerce to become supranational commerce, “unchecked by any American state strategy, any American state vision, has left the American people relying on a global ‘industrial commons’ that is largely out of their control and that is riven by fundamental structural flaws.” In a business climate tempered by cost-cutting philosophies of “just-in-time” delivery forged by the likes of Sam Walton and Michael Dell, and by the specious idea that American workers actually benefit by having jobs outsourced across the globe, the corporation has become a postmodern construct loyal only to shareholders and investors, certainly not to the citizens of their home nation or, more pointedly, to workers. The abandonment of fundamental values of good corporate citizenship, Lynn holds, amounts to a repudiation of the Hamiltonian doctrine that kept nation and economy more or less healthy for 200 years—and certainly not hostage to perturbations overseas, as when a Taiwanese earthquake sent strong shock waves through Wall Street a few years back because it disrupted homegrown manufacturing that required Taiwanese parts, which turns out to be most manufacturing these days. Americans suffer when giant corporations move jobs to such hotspots as India for the sake of a few dollars, Lynn suggests, and they have not always prospered when jobs have come here from across the waters through mergers with Toyota, Daimler and other foreign firms: “In the end the great merger wave of the 1990s did truly bring the peoples of the world closer together,” he gamely writes, “at least in mutual loathing.” By way of remedy, Lynn calls in part for bringing jobs and industries back home—and not just here, but everywhere, as “discrete industrial units, distributed across more nations, split among more owners, counterbalanced by stronger competitors and stronger suppliers and stronger workers.”

There’s some pie in the sky in these pages, but also thoughtful voicing of concerns that are now widespread among American workers. They merit an audience.

Pub Date: Aug. 16th, 2005
ISBN: 0-385-51024-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2005