Harold James examines the vulnerability and fragility of processes of globalization, both historically and in the present. This book applies lessons from past breakdowns of globalization - above all in the Great Depression - to show how financial crises provoke backlashes against global integration: against the mobility of capital or goods, but ...
Harold James examines the vulnerability and fragility of processes of globalization, both historically and in the present. This book applies lessons from past breakdowns of globalization - above all in the Great Depression - to show how financial crises provoke backlashes against global integration: against the mobility of capital or goods, but also against flows of migration. By a parallel examination of the financial panics of 1929 and 1931 as well as that of 2008, he shows how banking and monetary collapses suddenly and radically alter the rules of engagement for every other type of economic activity. Increased calls for state action in countercyclical fiscal policy bring demands for trade protection. In the open economy of the twenty-first century, such calls are only viable in very large states - probably only in the United States and China. By contrast, in smaller countries demand trickles out of the national container, creating jobs in other countries. The international community is thus paralyzed, and international institutions are challenged by conflicts of interest. The book shows the looming psychological and material consequences of an interconnected world for people and the institutions they create.
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Publishers Weekly, 2009-07-27 Among the casualties of the recession will be the once unstoppable juggernaut of globalization itself, argues this scattershot treatise. Historian James (The End of Globalization) compares the current economic crisis to the Great Depression to suggest a cyclical dynamic in which advances in global integration are superseded by retrenchments toward economic nationalism and autarky. What links these cataclysms, he contends, is the crumbling of "values" in many senses. As banks' balance sheets grow murky, unemployment soars, currencies fluctuate and economies seesaw between inflation and deflation, the cultural values that depend on confidence in the global economy-trust, openness, tolerance-also waver. The result-in the 1930s and now, he fears-is a swing toward tariffs and trade wars, anti-immigrant backlashes and perhaps authoritarian government. James buttresses his thesis with statistics and graphs and detailed, blow-by-blow chronicles of stock market panics and bank runs past and present, but none of this ever gels into a systematic account of the various crises he investigates or a rigorous model of cyclicality in economic globalization. Instead, he's written an elegy for an expansive form of liberal capitalism that's now been done in by its financial excesses. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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