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Harvard Business Review
Apocalypse Now?
Harvard Business Review
October 2006

To the ancient Greeks, an apocalypse was the revelation to a privileged few of something hidden from the masses. In biblical writings, the term came to denote an abrupt transition from the present age to a future age, accompanied by great upheaval and extreme outcomes.

Much of the classic literature about globalization was apocalyptic in both senses of the term. The notion of an apocalypse due to globalization can be traced at least as far back as 1983, to the late Ted Levitt’s article “The Globalization of Markets” in Harvard Business Review. But with the profusion of new books on globalization—from 2000 to 2005, more than 5,000 were published, compared with fewer than 500 in the 1990s—the apocalypse has become the stuff of best sellers.

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