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The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis-Driven World (AgatePro Books) [Paperback]

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Item description for The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis-Driven World (AgatePro Books) by Marvin Zonis...

"In order to 'do globalization better,' business leaders need to recognize the importance of local political dynamics. . . . The three authors . . . [provide] the big picture on this complex issue."-Publishers Weekly

Ted Koppel called it "a 'must-read' for all the architects of American policy, those who seek to replace them, and all Americans who will have to deal with the consequences of their policies." Wesley Clark called it "the best account yet of the difficulties facing conventional approaches to economic development around the world."

In The Kimchi Matters, authors Zonis, Lefkovitz and Wilkin show that globalization (and events like the Iraq war and the September 11 attacks) makes understanding the political economies of distant countries more important than ever.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   356
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.6" Width: 5.6" Height: 1.1"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jun 1, 2005
Publisher   Agate
ISBN  1932841040  
ISBN13  9781932841046  

Availability  0 units.

More About Marvin Zonis

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Zonis is professor of international political economy at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Chicago.

Marvin Zonis was born in 1936.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > General
2Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Economics > Economics
3Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > General
4Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > International > General
5Books > Subjects > Business & Investing > Investing > General
6Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Politics > Globalization
7Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Accounting & Finance > International > Finance > Finance & Investing

Reviews - What do customers think about The Kimchi Matters: Global Business and Local Politics in a Crisis-Driven World (AgatePro Books)?

The Kimchi Does Matter  May 10, 2007
The Kimchi Matters - what does that mean? The "Kimchi" is literally the spicy Korean food, and figuratively it stands for the local spice of a country or market. Marvin Zonis (scholar of strategy, technology, international business and leadership) teaches that rather than focusing exclusively on the big (a global brand strategy, or a global technology map) the local must understood.

The book succeeds in what it sets out to do - explain the importance of understanding localization. Definitely worth the read.
Propping Up Globalization? Ha!  Aug 21, 2004
First of all, as a student and scholar of Business I think this book is poison in a pie. It basically tries to let "globalists" understand how to make Globalization successful by understanding the "Kimchi" at work. What nonsense!
First of all, his History of the East Asian economic crisis is just wrong. On this subject, please consult someone who has real experience in the region, such as Chalmers Johnson etc.
Secondly, only a fool would miss the poignancy of his selective tribalization of Africans.
As another reviewer pointed out; it is JUST wrong, and it is foolish.
That the wall street Journal and the Economist use such a term as Nguyen pointed out doesnt make it right.

It is wrong and this is because the definition of "Tribes" in any good english dictionary, ancient or Modern as well as present social useage does not match the reality on ground in Nigeria or Kenya.

I read the book and then did a search on the WaBenzi as well as the so called BeenTos and I am appalled that any scholar would even attempt to defend the appropriation of those terms.

Furthermore - Linda's comments about "Understanding" the Nigerians anger about Colonialism is insane.

I went to Nigeria as a member of an academic team 2 years ago and to talk about "anger concerning colonialism" with respect to what is happening in the Niger Delta at present is just stupid.

It is not about the past, its about the Present.

Of all the reviewers who reviewed the book, the Nigerian had the best insight on the true nature of books like this.

Everybody else is just parroting "common sense" wisdom.

The book is chock full of errors.

On the Economics of Asia - Read Chalmers Johnson.

And for a balanced view to the Nature of Africans societies, Basil Davidson is good also.

Zonis is a pop scholar writing a pop book for a pop audience. This is not for serious minded policy makers.
understand the globe  Jun 15, 2004
I was going to give this four stars, but up it to five owing to the biased review from Nigeria.

I understand the Nigerian scholar's anger about colonialism -- but to say this book has "errors" is off the mark. The main "error" identified is that the book uses the term "tribes" to describe ethnic groups in Nigeria. The fact is, that's the term currently employed in most Western publications -- the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist. So it's not an error. I understand the Nigerian wants to change the world, and that's a great goal -- but I think rating down a book that explains colonialism's lingering effects, not just in Nigeria but in Pakistan, Brazil, etc. -- is the wrong approach. The Kimchi Matters probably says more about colonialism than any business book ever written.

The reason it talks about colonialism is The Kimchi Matters takes you on a fascinating tour of the globe -- mostly emerging markets -- from China to India to Brazil to Russia and about twenty countries in between, explaining not just WHAT is going on but WHY.

If you have spent your life studying Nigeria, then yes, the section on Nigeria will seem like an introduction -- but you will get fascinating insight on the rest of the world. (The Nigerian scholar's comments actually apply only to one section of one chapter.) The book draws on everything from public choice theory to institutional economics to social psychology -- you'll learn a lot that's new.

I was going to give it four stars, because in some sections The Kimchi Matters skips controversies and present things just too simply and elegantly. I know it has a lot of ground to cover. And the writing is readable and the stories well-told.

But I'll give it five, and that's appropriate. As the Nigerian scholar admits, it is "a good book." I would say a very good book.

Fascinating for global investors  May 1, 2004
Having seen Marvin Zonis on television and in speeches many times over the years, I bought this book for many of my internationally-based colleagues at Christmas. I have since finished reading it myself and it was an excellent decision.

This book is a precise, non-ideological, and often humorous, field guide to the political and economic dynamics of emerging market countries. Without understanding these dynamics, the authors argue, American businesses cannot hope to succeed in countries like China and India. From my own experiences in Turkey and elsewhere, I can confirm the truth of this.

The authors present a smorgasbord of cases from countries around the world. They call these vital, often overlooked local conditions "kimchi," after a spicy pickled-cabbage dish popular in (and, for the most part, only in) Korea. "Today," they explain, "almost everyone eats Big Macs," evidence of the global-village side of globalization. "But kimchi matters more than ever before.:

To illustrate how local obstacles can sideswipe international Goliaths, the authors offer Bill Gates's initial foray into the Korean market. In 1998 Microsoft planned to invest $20 million in Hangul & Computer, and in exchange the South Korean software company would stop producing its Korean-language word-processing program, surrendering its near monopoly to Microsoft. But news of the deal brought a national backlash-fueled by antiforeign sentiment and national reverence for the Korean alphabet-and Hangul & Computer was forced to abandon the deal. "In short," the book explains, "Microsoft's expansion strategy had inadvertently triggered a political opposition movement."

Investors and policy makers can avoid such missteps, the authors argue, by asking not only whether a country is stable but also how its stability is produced.

In the Philippines, for example, President Ferdinand Marcos's 1969 reelection coincided with a bad monsoon season and a violent Communist guerrilla uprising. "Though none of this was really the president's fault," the authors note, opposition grew. Marcos reacted by faking assassination attempts and terror attacks and then declaring martial law, crushing dissent and granting himself sweeping authority. To maintain power, he built a regime of corruption and patronage, which inhibited legitimate business, angered the middle class, and strengthened the opposition. When rival politicians were killed, discontent mounted, and Marcos was forced from office, leaving foreign businesses with Philippine investments tangled in criminal misconduct allegations.

But things might have turned out differently. Popular dissatisfaction of any source can be channeled in many ways, the writers argue, offering several examples. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe managed national discontent by blaming his country's problems on South Africa and England. India, though plagued by poverty, has dozens of political parties and holds relatively free and fair elections. And Singapore, while curtailing free speech and civil rights, heads off discontent with economic growth and stability.

Each of those governmental responses is intimately related to what Kimchi Matters terms "the ruling bargain." Submitting to authority, the authors argue, is onerous: taxes must be paid, laws obeyed, and other intrusions (in an extreme case, conscription into a national army) accepted. In exchange governments earn the public's support by promoting economic prosperity, physical security, and common defense. But each country formulates a unique bargain and justifies its authority-creating legitimacy-through different techniques. Autocratic nations rely on charismatic leaders to charm or terrorize the populace; democratic governments earn authority by representing the people; and in "developmental states" such as Singapore authority is earned by "delivering the goods-usually stability and prosperity."

While a government's structure may dictate its success in abating popular discontent, in some cases that structure is so attenuated that the task is assumed solely by a country's leader. In Uganda policies depend almost entirely on the president, now Yoweri Museveni, who has reduced poverty and AIDS but also has banned political parties and activities. The authors stress, however, that "leadership is only part of the story." Some countries have strong enough institutions that they can essentially run themselves. During "Monicagate," for instance, crime fell, the economy grew, and "the American government continued to function effectively regardless of its rather distracted leadership." Governments that have developed a self-perpetuating, responsive system are the most stable, the most likely to avert potential crises, and the best equipped to generate prosperity.

Even with a strong system, however, individual policies make or break stability, and political pressures can sometimes push policy makers in the wrong direction. When a leader faces reelection, for example, he or she often abandons policies that call for short-term sacrifices but create long-term benefits in favor of ones that create short-term economic booms, though they may ultimately cause a crash. This pattern clearly has emerged in Mexico, which has seen economic turmoil every six years-the length of the election cycle-since 1976. Likewise, entrenched interests can hinder development. Brazil's constitution specifies rights for nearly every special-interest group, preserving privileges, such as government pension programs that cost tens of billions of dollars, at the expense of the larger good. Thus particular political circumstances can inadvertently reduce a nation's economic potential.

The book concludes with a fascinating analysis of China. Once you read it, I guarantee you will rethink your strategy in that country.

A Great Read!  Apr 29, 2004
This was an informative and quick read, giving substantive background of the political histories/evolutions of a huge variety of countries from across the political, social, and economic spectrum. It's one of those books that helps you develop an effective mental model of thinking about globalization (from a local perspective). The academic theory underlying the anecdotes is logical and concise. The only criticism I would have is that the book might be too non-technical...would have appreciated a bit more concrete data to back up the theories. All in all, however, very enlightening!

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