Thomas Friedman: The Lexus and the Olive Tree. The World is Flat. A column in the New York Times. “Arguably the world’s most influential and popular foreign-policy thinker,” according to The Washingtonian.
Quick dear readers—which quote is parody and which is the real Thomas Friedman?
A. We got this free market, and I admit, I was speaking out in Minnesota – my hometown, in fact – and guy stood up in the audience, said, “Mr. Friedman, is there any free trade agreement you’d oppose?” I said, “No, absolutely not.” I said, “You know what, sir? I wrote a column supporting the CAFTA, the Caribbean Free Trade initiative [sic]. I didn’t even know what was in it. I just knew two words: free trade.” (in which Friedman admits that he knew next to nothing about a policy he promoted in the NYT)
B. Let’s face it—at this point I’m a rich guy, and I work for a newspaper run by guys who are even richer than I am. (in which Friedman owns up to his own place in the globalization hierarchy)
Answer: A is an actual quote. B is parody.
Solomon reports that The Washingtonian‘s July profile of Friedman had “scant ink to spare for criticisms of Friedman’s outlook: … strong support of … international trade rules and government policies [that] allow corporations to function with legal prerogatives that routinely trump labor rights, environmental protection, and economic justice.” Dollars & Sense has plenty of that ink, though. Here’s a small selection of our coverage of the downsides to corporate globalization:
- Know-Nothings and Know-It-Alls: What’s Wrong with the Hype about Globalization
- Nike to the Rescue? Africa Needs Better Jobs, Not Sweatshops
- Capital Stability and Local Democracy
- Fields of Free Trade: Mexico’s Small Farmers in a Global Economy
- Plus our recent coverage of immigration in May and September.