“The Next Global Stage” by Kenichi Ohmae

Subject: Globalization
Pages: 12
Words: 4261
Reading time:
15 min
Study level: PhD


In today’s world, when traditional political and economic terminology can hardly be used to effectively define the realities of post-industrial living, it becomes the matter of foremost importance for just about anybody, to understand how the rapid development of informational technologies, along with continuous deterioration of classical concept of “national sovereignty”, might affect world’s socio-political dynamics in near future. The process of Globalization has resulted in creation of situation when the spiral of history is being twisted ever tighter, as we speak, which means that the social processes, which used to take hundreds of years to reveal their actual essence, now take 10-20 years, at the most. Even though that the majority of ordinary people have a hard time, while recognizing the effects of Globalization as having an immediate effect of their lives, it is no longer going to be the case, during the course of next decade. Therefore, Kenichi Ohmae’s book “The Next Global Stage” can be discussed as such that provides us with the insight onto things to come, which in its turn, corresponds to its value as literary piece, despite the fact that in this book, author strives to promote neo-Liberal agenda as his foremost goal. Apparently, people’s ability to instantly transfer large amounts of information from one corner of the globe to the other, does not only increase the effectiveness of international trade – it results in “virtual reality”, associated with Internet, to gradually acquire the subtleties of something absolutely real, despite its digital essence. In this paper, we will aim at substantiating this thesis even further, while utilizing Ohmae’s book as the source of information, in regards to the process of “world becoming borderless”, during the course of the process. In addition, we will expose this book as what it really is – the intellectual instrument of reducing people’s awareness of Globalization as absolutely counter-productive and dangerous socio-economic trend.

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Main part

Structurally, “The Next Global Stage” consists of three main parts: Part 1 (where Ohmae discusses various objective reasons for different aspects of world’s economy to become interconnected), Part 2 (which is dedicated to the analysis of what author considers to be the obstacles, on the way of economic and political Globalization) and Part 3 (where Ohmae provides us with the insight as to what will define the main trends, within the context of the process of Globalization taking place in near future, while analyzing the examples of economic “decentralization” and “self-sustainability”, found throughout the world, as such that confirms the overall validity of book’s conclusions). In this part of our paper, we are going to point out at main ideas, found in “The Next Global Stage”, throughout its entirety, while pointing out at their conceptual inconsistency, if necessary.

In the initial sub-chapters of his book, Ohmae strives to substantiate his vision of Globalization, as being essentially beneficial to humankind, because it significantly increases the efficiency of manufacturing processes. According to Ohmae, the process of Globalization is an objective socio-economic phenomenon, which is why, despite the fact that this process is strongly associated with public controversy, it simply cannot be stopped: “Data now passes freely from one side of the world to the other, along fiber-optic cables or satellite transmissions. Information defies barriers, whether physical or political. It is facilitated by the establishment of platforms for streaming the application of technology to definite tasks” (Ohmae, Plot). In its turn, this prompts author to come up with inductive statement that many economic and political concepts, which used to define the objective realities of industrial era, can no longer be applied, in order for us to get a better understanding of “existential essence” of post-industrial reality. At the same time, author leaves no doubts as to his political commitment to the idea of “new world order”, because even at the very beginning of his book, Ohmae clearly expresses his negative attitude towards the concept of national sovereignty: “The global economy ignores barriers, but if they are not removed, they cause distortion. The traditional centralized nation-state is another cause of friction. It is ill equipped to play a meaningful role on the global stage” (Ohmae, Plot). Thus, it would be wrong, on our part, to refer to Ohmae’s book as politically unengaged socio-economic study, as claimed by the author. Moreover, given the fact that in “The Next Global Stage” Ohmae prefers not to mention numerous negative aspects of Globalization, allows us to conclude that author did not remain intellectually honest with potential readers, during the course of writing his book. Even in book’s introductive part, Ohmae comes up with essentially unsubstantiated statements. For example, he continues to refer to post-industrial world as “borderless”, while failing to mention that such “borderlessness” only applies to international transactions of huge amounts of money, whereas ordinary citizens’ ability to travel throughout the world has been continuously undermined by introduction of ever-newer “security measures”, such as fingerprinting passengers at world’s major airports. Ohmae refers to Globalization as “Brave new economic order based on the fantastic technological advances unleashed through Internet” (Ohmae, p. 18) – a clearly emotional statement, which can hardly add plausibility to book’s main ideas, in the eyes of those readers who rely on their sense of rationale, while assessing the conceptual soundness of socio-political and economic concepts.

In Parts 2 and 3 of “The Next Global Stage”, Ohmae attempts to validate book’s initial ideological assumptions, by providing readers with what he considers empirical proofs of “world shrinking in size”, in economic sense of this word. For example, he points out at the process of national economies being deprived of their structural integrity (“regionalism”) as being absolutely natural, without mentioning that such process has more do to with particularities of world’s post-industrial banking system, then with the rapid progress of informational technologies. According to Ohmae, the economic regionalism, which continues to define the overall state of economy in every particular country to ever-increasing extent, should be considered as an indication of these countries’ economy embracing the “shining truth” of Globalization, and that the attempts of national governments to exercise a control over economy, are doomed to failure: “Devolution of decision making, especially in the area of economic and trade policy, has to happen if regions are to obtain their potential. Leaders at the national level are not motivated to or are incapable of taking effective measures to embrace and to interface with the global economy, They carry too much excess baggage” (Ohmae, p. 109). Thus, author comes to conclusion that managing of world’s economy should become a prerogative of small group of cosmopolitic “experts”, who are more then anybody else capable of economically benefiting humanity, because of their “open-mindedness”. In other words, Ohmae’s message appears to be Communist, in its essence, even though that author never mentions the word “communism”, throughout his book. Basically, Ohmae suggests that world’s natural resources must be carefully managed, because of their scarcity, but he tactfully avoids mentioning who should be in charge of such “Global management”, which nevertheless does not prevent him from implying that these “managers” should be given a power to deny nations their sovereignty, whenever they consider it necessary: “In today’s borderless world, finance does not respect borders. Arbitrage and leverage make sure that any residual national feeling in the money markets is dissolved. The national borders are often meaningless. They can be as much a burden to economic growth as the other nation-state fetishes” (Ohmae, p. 112). In other words, Ohmae promotes an old Marxist idea of nation-states being “dinosaurs of history” in more appealing “technological” wrapper, without even bothering to point out at the bearded prophet of “dictatorship of proletariat” as his spiritual precursor. Although Ohmae criticizes the traditional role of national governments as “distributors of wealth”, his vision of “borderless world” incorporates such distribution as its essential component, although on truly Global scale: “The role of central governments in the global economy is the opposite of what they are used to doing. Their best service to their people is to invite in capital, to welcome corporations so they bring in jobs and take over weak companies… The developed countries cannot possibly use all the money piled up in pensions and savings within their home countries” (Ohmae, p. 199). In other words, it is financial tycoons, who made their money by indulging in variety of financial speculations, just as George Soros, who actually should be put in charge of deciding what represents a particular country’s “excessive wealth” and how it should be dealt with. However, we have doubts as to plutocrats’ ability to be concerned with anything, except their own well-being and the well-being of members of their families. Allowing cosmopolitic money-bags to actually have more executive powers, when it comes to exercising control over sovereign countries’ economies then the governments of these countries themselves, is the same as putting foxes in charge of managing chicken farms. In the next part of this paper, we will explain the true subtleties of Globalization, even though that the actual consequences of world becoming “borderless” are now being felt by people throughout the globe – the current world-wide economic crisis (or to be more accurate – the initial stage of current economic crisis) is nothing but a direct result of “economic geniuses”, such as Ohmae, being allowed to institutionalize their theories in the eyes of ordinary citizens as only acceptable ones.

Concluding part

It could not escape our attention that in his book, while often coming up with absolutely legitimate insights on the very essence of post-industrial reality, Ohmae appears to be incapable (or unwilling) to recognize their practical implications. For example, Ohmae makes a perfectly good point when suggesting that: “This (traditional) industrial growth model was dependant on trade with other countries because none possessed all the requisite natural resources for the domestic industrial complex. Today, the situation is different. It no longer matters if a country or region-state does not have its well-established domestic industry or home markets” (Ohmae 200). Nevertheless, the author wrongly refers to it as an indication of traditional forms of economic activities becoming obsolete: “What is important is to have an educated and motivated workforce – on the factory floor, in the computer room, or the provision of professional services. This is now more important than mines” (Ohmae 200). What never occurs to Ohmae though, is that it is not only mining that is “unimportant”, within the context of the post-industrial economy, but very often the “motivated workforce” itself, simply because such economy implies the absence of direct links between the process of manufacturing and the process of generating a commercial profit. Nowadays, it is banking, as a commercial activity, is associated with the best prospects of making quick profits. In its turn, this explains why the number of banks in the world had tripled, within a matter of last 20 years. Such rapid expansion of the world’s banking system would not be possible without the utilization of B2B (business to business) eCommerce. However, it is wrong to suggest that the emergence of new informational technologies had created a “new economic reality”, as Ohmae suggests in his book. We need to understand that the financial transactions that take place between banks consist of transferring “nothingness” from one bank to another (banking, is essentially the process of generating money out of thin air) since these transactions do not even involve handling cash; therefore, the practical effectiveness of electronic transactions, between banks and businesses, can only be insured, for as long as owners of these businesses are willing to play by game’s rules – that is, both: buyers and sellers have to pretend that they do believe that the “nothingness”, which is being inter-exchanged between them, in form of electronic transactions, somehow reflects the value of physical assets they supposedly possess, to maintain the “content” of their businesses. It is needless to say that, while being commercially effective, such a system (Global economy) is utterly unstable, as is being illustrated by the recent economic crisis. This crisis has been originally initiated by Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which used to conduct financial transactions amounting to hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars on daily basis (as the result of the Company’s owners have taken a full utilization of the B2B concept, immediately after the invention of the Internet), even though, as it is being revealed now, the actual value of Company’s physical assets only amounted to the value of furniture in its offices. In its turn, this prompted investors to investigate the financial standing of other transnational banking corporations. This investigation revealed that the situation with these corporations was no much better than the one with Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. We all know what happened as a result. Thus, while agreeing with Ohmae’s vision of “excess capital”, as the driving force behind Globalization: “The world has an excess of capital. Mutual and pension funds can be added to traditional forms of investing. As prosperity spreads in the world, so does the number of investment funds” (Ohmae 76), we do not share author’s optimistic attitude as to the actual economic potency of such capital if properly invested. The reason is simple – the actual buying power of the world’s major currencies is estimated to be at least twenty times lower than the declared one. Therefore, it was only a matter of time, before the fictional essence of “brave new world order” was going to become apparent to everyone, just as it happens today.

In his book, Ohmae keeps referring to the value of money as such that should not be related to the strength of economical and political standing of nations-states: “My view is that the strength of a national currency should never be confused with fetishes of the nation-state such as “national strength” (Ohmae 32). By doing it, he contradicts his ideas, because it is exactly the fact that major world powers can protect the strength of their currencies by a variety of non-economic methods, which made the emergence of economic Globalization possible in the first place. For example, the only reason why the U.S. dollar remains only the currency accepted for payments, on the international market of oil, is because of the U.S. 7th Fleet’s presence in the area of the Persian Gulf. This is because, ever since 1971, when Federal Reserve refused to redeem U.S. dollars for gold, the value of American legal tender remains largely a myth, while simply serving as the physical equivalent of the “American dream”, objective properties of which cannot even be defined by people with a truly wild imagination. This is the reason why commercial entities in possession of highly valuable physical assets, such as land or mineral resources, do not rush to enter the world of eCommerce and that is why large companies now engage in bartering activities on an ever-increased scale. For example, when it comes to selling oil to the U.S., Saudi Arabia appears to be increasingly reluctant to accept payments in USD, while preferring to be paid in American military equipment instead. Therefore, Ohmae could not be more wrong while saying: “In the global economy, there is no need for mineral resources or colonies” (Ohmae, p. 76). In the global economy, there is no need for nation-states to exercise authority over their own human and natural resources, because it makes it harder for representatives of the world’s financial elite to exploit these countries in the way they see it fit while being the least concerned with the well-being of local people. However, to say that the globalized world’s economy has ceased to experience a need for mineral resources is nothing but an indication of Ohmae’s complete economic ignorance. He also seems to be ignorant of another important factor, discussion of which cannot be avoided, while analyzing what corresponds to countries’ economic prosperity in the post-industrial world – a biological makeup of these countries’ population: “The nation-state and economics have been seemed inseparable, but they are not related biologically or scientifically. Indeed, one has had a very bad influence on the other” (Ohmae, p. 82). According to Ohmae, nothing stands in the way of such countries as Equatorial Guinea or Haiti to acquire economic prosperity, within a matter of comparatively short time, for as long as governments of these nations adopt an effective strategy for managing human resources. However, it never occurs to the author that “human resources” in countries of the Third World can hardly be managed effectively since the collective rate of their IQ often equals as low as 50. In their groundbreaking book “IQ and the Wealth of Nations”, Richard Lynn and Tatu Vanhanen had proven beyond any doubt that the economic prosperity of every particular nation directly relates to this nation’s citizens’ racial affiliation. Therefore, the economies of African countries can be “diversified” and “globalized” all they may, but after the end of the “colonial era”, these countries will always remain what they used to be, before the arrival of White explorers – the areas of never-ending tribal warfare. The very fact that, throughout his book, Ohmae fails to make even the slightest notice of people’s ethnic affiliation, within a context of discussing their chances to succeed economically in “brave new world”, significantly reduces the overall validity of his conclusions.

“The global economy must be treated as a totality”, says the author and we can only agree with him. However, we cannot quite understand why Ohmae thinks of such a “totality” as essentially beneficial to ordinary people. Moreover, it is not only Ohmae’s book, as such, that was intended to intellectually justify Globalization, which fails at firmly substantiating its main ideas, but also the books of other famous pro-Globalists, such as Thomas Friedman, who in his work “The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century”, comes up with a ridiculous suggestion that the process of outsourcing (as an essential component of Globalization) should be welcomed by American citizens: “American individuals will be better off if we don’t erect barriers to outsourcing, supply-chaining, and offshoring than if we do. The simple message of this chapter is that even as the world gets flat, America as a whole will benefit more by sticking to the basic principles of free trade than by trying to erect walls” (Friedman 225). Just as Ohmae, Friedman expects readers to absorb his ideas in rather an uncritical manner. Yet, we will dare to disagree with two “highly acclaimed experts”, because there is plenty of evidence as to the fact that it is namely Americans, who would lose more than anybody else from the process of the world “shrinking in size”. For example, In August of 2008, when Russia invaded Georgia, George Bush had threatened Russia with economic sanctions. In their turn, Russians were quick to remind George Bush that the whole of America’s space exploration program, for the duration of the next 10 years, relies on the exploitation of Russian rocket launchers. Before new American space shuttles are being designed, Russians are going to remain in charge of launching American astronauts into space. Thus, there can be no doubt that the economic interdependence had significantly lessened the extent of America’s sovereignty, as well as, heightened national security concerns. The same applies to other countries as well.

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It appears that, while disguising the main ideas of his book as such that revolve solemnly around the issue of economics, Ohmae is not being entirely honest with his readers, because of the actual message of “The Next Global Stage”, which can be read between the lines – the very principle of nation-states’ building must be disposed of, since it contradicts the neo-Liberal dogma of “diversity”: “Economies and societies thrive on diversity” (Ohmae, p. 91). According to Ohmae, it is quite impossible to revitalize the economy of nation-states, unless these countries provide socio-political conditions for their citizens to “celebrate diversity”, as their foremost social duty. However, we have doubts as to the fact that the promotion of “ethnic diversity” in traditionally White countries can result in anything but reducing these countries to Third World slums themselves. In his book, the author refers to current immigration laws, which are meant to regulate the flow of immigrants into Western countries, as “retrograde” and “obsolete”, simply because they are meant to protect the national integrity of nation-states – the very concept of which Ohmae hates with utter passion while referring to it as simply a “fetish”. Still, it would be very naïve, on our part, to think that author does believe that “celebration of diversity” can be productive, in the economic sense of this word, as he continues to imply, throughout his book, while understanding perfectly well that it is only financial tycoons who might benefit from allowing the hordes of illegal immigrants to settle in Western countries, simply because these immigrants are willing to work for a fraction of what is being paid to native workers. If fifteen million illegal Mexicans in America were to be given a legal status, it would automatically reduce the minimum wages in this country, thus allowing the rich to get even richer, while causing the poor to become even poorer. This, of course, seems to be of very little concern to Ohmae, who thinks that utilization of primitive political sloganeerism, on his part (“brave new world”), can prevent readers from an understanding of what his book is all about. Despite its pseudo-scientific sounding, Ohmae’s book does not contain any long-term forecasts, in regards to the future of economic Globalization. Moreover, the author admits that it is simply impossible to come up with such forecasts: “The global economy means uncertainty. It also spells giant opportunities for those brave and supple enough to adapt. The global economy is new. There is no rulebook. Nobody knows what will work. The only solution is to try and if at first, you fail…” (Ohmae, p. 244). Unfortunately, it never occurred to the author that if the Global economy fails (as the result of few banking corporations, such as Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., taking advantage of “giant opportunities”), it might result in reversing the course of history backward. As we have mentioned earlier, as the result of the current economic crisis, more and more commercial enterprises now resort to bartering practices, as if we’re living in a time of the Middle Ages. The trust towards banking, as the main stimulant of economic growth, has been ruined, throughout the world. Millions of people had lost their jobs. Those workers that managed to retain their jobs are not being paid their salaries. Many countries in Eastern Europe had realized themselves standing on the brink of complete financial default. Not a single day goes by, without mass protests taking place in the capitals of EU countries. And the most important – there are no indications that the situation will get better in near future, despite measures that are being undertaken by governments of “nation-states” to lessen the effects of financial speculators having enjoyed the liberty of “diversifying” the economies of these countries for a considerable period, while referring to the very existence of independent nations as “anachronism”. In his article “Crisis of Globalization”, Mark Zimmerman makes a very good suggestion, while pointing out at Globalists as those who should be blamed for plunging the whole world into the current economic crisis: “We are witnessing the impact of globalization on our economies and societies. Events in one country have a ripple effect across the world. Everything is so intricately intertwined that the solution to one problem may generate two or three other problems in seemingly unrelated areas” (Zimmerman 2008). However, instead of admitting being the perpetrators of this crisis, the promoters of the Globalist agenda, actually demand additional political and economic powers, while suggesting that some form of “world government” must be established, for humanity to continue being “benefited” by those who have crazed neo-Liberals on their payroll. In his article “Globalization Talk at Davos”, while referring to World Economic Forum, which had taken place in Davos on January 30, 2009, Thomas Eddlem talks about as an attempt of world’s plutocracy to legitimize their strive to take over the world: “What Merkel’s (German Chancellor) proposal would mean in concrete terms is a global government (which Globalists call “global governance”) and the creation of this global government through various international institutions under the umbrella of an empowered United Nations and its Millennium Goals. The Davos “World Economic Forum” masks itself as a “free trade” organization, but a closer look at the specific goals of the annual conference also reveals the overarching goal of global government” (Eddlem, 2009). Thus, we cannot refer to Ohmae’s “The Next Global Stage” other than the book “made of order”. Its main purpose was to ideologically justify the process of Globalist sharks enriching themselves enormously, at the expense of destroying the economies of independent countries. There is nothing new about this process – there are plenty of historical examples of spiritual ancestors of today’s Globalists having taken an advantage of ordinary people’s suffering while turning it into the source of income. These “universal poisoners of mankind”, as they were being aptly referred to by one German politician, who is now thought to be the embodiment of evil, can pose as Marxists, Communists, Capitalists, Liberals, Conservatives, Social-Democrats, Globalists, etc., but their essence will always remain the same – they nothing but social parasites, a “white collar robbers”, solemnly aimed at the destruction of national integrity of world’s nations, as the main obstacle that prevents them from indulging in financial speculations, without experiencing the fear of eventual punishment.


Dunn, J. “A Necessary Apocalypse”. 2007. American Thinker. 2009. Web.

Eddlem, T. “Globalization Talk at Davos”. 2009. New America. Web.

Friedman, T. (2005) “The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century”. NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Ohmae, K. (2005) “Next Global Stage: Challenges and Opportunities in Our Borderless World”. Upper Saddle River: Wharton School Publishing.

Zimmerman, M. “Crisis of Globalization”. 2008. Web.