Winners and Losers in the Asia-Pacific
Edited by Noel Gaston and Ahmed M. Khalid
Chapter 2: The Twilight of Globalization?
2. The twilight of globalization? Marcus Noland* INTRODUCTION Although frequently invoked, “globalization” is an imprecisely defined term subject to multiple interpretations. Typically it signifies an expansion of cross-border economic interaction, though the word also embodies less precise though important, non-economic connotations relating to the erosion of local control, autonomy, and identity in the organization of political, social, and cultural life. At the popular level, these meanings are sometimes conflated with anti-capitalist, anti-Western, or anti-American impulses. Globalization has ebbed and flowed, and today’s experience, driven by technological change, supportive institutions, and the relative absence of international conflict, is not historically unprecedented. Relative to the size of the global economy, only recently have the levels of international trade and investment surpassed those reached at the end of the 19th century, and this still may not be true for labor markets: globally, the extent of crossborder labor migration has yet to re-attain the levels observed at the end of the 19th century. The US today, where both legal and illegal immigration are relatively high compared to past levels, is something of an exception in this regard. That earlier 19th-century “Golden Age” of globalization was built by a combination of technological innovations, such as the telegraph and the steamship, which drove down transaction costs, together with supportive institutions, including the gold standard, Pax Britannica, and European colonialism, which facilitated the global diffusion of those technological innovations. Of course, this Golden Age was more golden for some than for others, at the levels of both...
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