The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization

The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization

The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization

The Race to the Top: The Real Story of Globalization


Larsson takes the reader on a fast-paced, worldwide journey that extends from the slums of Rio to the brothels of Bangkok and shows what access to global markets means for those struggling to get ahead in the world.


Mason Su is the founder of Iwill, a Taiwanese maker of computer boards. Iwill's products are much in demand among those with a need for speed. “Every day there is just one thought in my head, ” says Su. “Who's going to take my business away from me?” His customer base is global.

Seni Williams is a software manufacturer in a city without infrastructure, Lagos, in a country where the rules are always changing, Nigeria; he sells software nimble enough to tame the chaos. Flexibility is a virtue in the global market too—which is why not only Nigerians do business with him.

Prasit Visedpaitoon is the marketing manager of Thailand's Siam Cycle, which once upon a time exported 200,000 mountain bikes to countries throughout Europe. Until the day the European Commission in Brussels announced an “anti-dumping” investigation of bicycle exporters in Thailand, and the firm's export market dried up. Is Prasit a predator or a victim?

Zejna Kasic is a Bosnian refugee who knits pullovers for shivering Europeans. Her export trade was closed down by the foes of international competition. Predator or victim?

Kim Joo Young is a lawyer eager to help jump-start South Korean capitalism, a reform effort that has gotten a big boost in the wake of the Asian financial crises of 1997. His People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy has already won a landmark case against the chaebols, mammoth government-propped corporations that flout the rules at the expense of stockholders. He wants South Korean markets to be shipshape by 2004.

These are the real people who, for good or ill, are caught in the thick of the accelerating world shrinkage that is globalization. Their tales are told in the pages that follow.

This story is not being reported from the bleachers. I, too, have been a player in the global market. A native of Sweden, I moved to Thailand in the autumn of 1990. I had studied Thai for three years at Lund University and was ready to put my knowledge to use. I

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