The New York Magazine: Sexy Cause

Meet the new face of the anti-globalization movement.

By Marion Maneker
Published: 17th June 2002

When you hear the word anti-globalization, you usually think of shattered Starbucks windows and stringy-haired kids carrying on some pantomime of the sixties. But suddenly, the movement seems to have gone glam on us, with people like Nobel-laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz and billionaire currency speculator George Soros jumping on the bandwagon.

And next week, the city gets its chance to meet the movement’s first rock star (Bono aside): Noreena Hertz, a certified infobabe who casually inserts statistics into a conversation the way socialites drop names.

Hertz will be in town to promote her new book, The Silent Takeover, a passionate argument against the antidemocratic grip of multinational corporations. (Her best fun fact: Of the world’s 100 largest economic units, 51 are not countries but corporations.)

At 33, Hertz is anti-globalism’s Jane Fonda or Angela Davis, an earnest, attention-grabbing spokeswoman who just happens to look great in leather pants. “A year ago, I’d never spoken publicly,” she says, demurely confirming that she now gets ten invitations a day. “I debate government ministers on a fortnightly basis.”

The daughter of Israelis who immigrated to London, Hertz got her M.B.A. from Wharton in 1991, with dreams of becoming an independent movie producer (“Going to America was the first step in going Hollywood”). But she deferred a job at William Morris in L.A. to work in Russia on a professor’s pet project: nurturing markets in the post-Soviet economy. “I was working on a commodities exchange,” Hertz says. “But the only things being exchanged were cigarettes and funeral urns in what looked like a school gymnasium.”

Read the rest of this profile on Noreena on the New York Magazine website