The chapter “The Golden Arches Theory of Conflict Prevention” of “The Lexus and The Olive Tree” by Thomas Friedman is devoted to a unique and rather insightful finding. This finding is exclusively the author’s own and has been challenged by some. While McDonald’s is one of the restaurants around the world, the author was hit by the realization that no two countries with McDonald’s have gone to war after getting McDonald’s in their country.
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Influences of globalization
The author is not only highlighting the influence of McDonald’s but is focusing on the economic side of war. When countries know that they have an economic stake in a country, they rarely go to war with that country. The author cites several examples of how countries after getting McDonald’s did not go to war with each other. Friedman explains: “It both increases the incentives for not making war and it increases the costs of going to war in more ways than in any previous era in modern history.” It’s not liked those countries will never fight each other, but now if they do, they have more to lose than before. This is the basic argument in the chapter and one that has been supported by ample examples.
The author clearly understands that his theory has, “a limited shelf life” which means that “sooner or later virtually every country would have McDonald’s, and sooner or later two of them would go to war.” But now the war will not only cost more, but it will also be rather damaging to the world on the whole.
Another important argument in the chapter is that regardless of how rapidly globalization is taking place, it is unable to change geopolitics. In other words, while the world may have become a village, people are still sentimental about their own culture and countries. Now the question is: what has globalization done then if it has not removed boundaries. The author replies that globalization may have been unable to alter geopolitics but it has certainly affected it. In other words, while people were ready to go to war before at the drop of a hat if they felt their country was in danger, the same is not true anymore. People will think twice before waging a war because now governments have a lot to lose economics-wise.
After presenting these important arguments, the author moves back to his main premise of the book i.e., how technology and boundary-less behavior can help countries succeed. He makes it clear that when countries open their doors to new brains, it automatically makes them self-reliant and strong. In probably one of the most important lines in the chapter, the author says, “…if you close your country off in any way to either the best brains in the world or the best technologies in the world, you will fall behind faster and faster.
That’s why the most open-minded, tolerant, creative, and diverse societies will have the easiest time with globalization, while the most closed, rigid, uptight, self-absorbed, and traditional companies and countries, which are just not comfortable with openness will struggle.” The whole idea seems to make sense because even we are witness to the fact that countries, where people are allowed to enter and use their brains freely, are the ones who prosper the most.