Years before globalism became a buzzword, business analyst Joel Kotkin was writing about trade and immigration as forces for economic and social vitality. His 1992 book, Tribes, offers an original and insightful view of business, history, and culture. His premise: that dispersed ethnic or national groups who share a strong sense of common identity, a culture of mutual self-help, and a desire to use knowledge for group and personal advancement have powerfully influenced today's global economy. Among the “tribes” he has studied are the Jews, Chinese, Japanese, Indians, and British.In a world that is both shrinking and splintering, these groups have shown how communities can thrive by looking outward while drawing on inner strengths. We spoke recently with the author at his Los Angeles home.