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Globalization Intro


In his excellent recent works on the themes [of the] nature of globalization and expanding world trade – “The World is Flat,” and the earlier “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” – The New York Times Foreign Affairs columnist and book author Thomas Friedman brilliantly describes and elegantly frames the boundaries and frontiers of the new era that corporations and capital market players have entered, beginning in 1989. 

In that year, the post-World War II “Cold War” of a half-century duration began to wind down; no longer would two giant military powers face off in an expensive and uneasy truce that often involved virtually all continents and countries.  (The shifting alliances, alignments and common defense mechanisms of the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R would change dramatically over the following two decades.  “COMECON” and the Iron Curtain have vanished!)

After the early 1990s and an uncertain start to more “peaceful” times, money, human energy, imagination and national goals could be focused on a different kind of competition. Author Tom Friedman observes that as the 1990s began the world entered the “post-post-war era,” and began a new era in human civilization marked by the continuing and relentless “globalization” of politics, economies, technologies, regulations, cultures, business practices, capital market processes, stock exchanges, and information flows.

With all this we are experiencing dramatic and quite often upsetting change; we are even seeing the steady reduction of the influence [of] local, state and even national (sovereign) governments. (Think: World Trade Organization or WTO rules for competition vs. domestic national rules governing business, commerce and global trade.)

Who is affected by all the change?  Start with the world’s bankers, capital markets players, investors, financial analysts, corporate executives, regulators, boards of directors  trustees, not-for-profit managers, organized labor leaders, journalists, creators of intellectual property…and virtually all the rest of us!

To better understand where we stand at the start of 2007, consider author Friedman’s positioning and framing:  “This New World was born when the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, and the global economy is still finding its bearings…

Part of that quest for “bearings,” balance, and common sense approaches to new global challenges, is the journey toward greater individual and institutional accountability. 

Leaders’ views on accountability, responsibility, good governance and ethics vary (of course) from country-to-country and culture-to-culture. The differences can be startling and confrontation can show up as a shareholder challenge to management (say, on outsourcing or child labor), or government intervention in the U.S. and against a foreign sovereignty not playing by the rules governing intellectual property.

As part of the reporting and commenting on issues and concerns related to these important aspects of corporate, social and public sector life in the 21st Century, the Editors regularly add news, commentary, research and other useful information to Accountability Central.

Events and developments in the post-post-war era of Greater Globalization definitely affect (directly and indirectly) our expectations and performance regarding Accountability!

We welcome your views on the effects of Globalization and expanding world trade – send emails to:


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