U.S. Politics and the Global Economy: Corporate Power, Conservative Shift

By Ronald W. Cox; Daniel Skidmore-Hess | Go to book overview
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crisis while shifting from a relatively liberal to a more conservative globalism in terms of social, fiscal, and national defense policy preferences. The current trend of globalization of the economy is to a significant extent the historical product of the political success of these internationalist corporate interests and U.S. monetary, trade, and other policies that have adjusted and readjusted to the global economy by promoting and supporting the export and import of financial capital with little regulation of the effect of these flows on society.

No corners have been turned, no inevitable patterns established. If the reader takes nothing else from this work or disdains our political engagement, there is still the important lesson that globalization is a process constructed by government policy. The global economy is not some inevitable by-product of unfathomable economic laws, but something that is being made, and can be unmade or remade, through human agency. The ways in which globalization is pursued will determine whether or not human communities can sustain decent livelihoods and benefit from their own labor. As a final note, it is well worth considering that foreign trade and capital flows in 1913 for the present-day OECD countries stood at 16 percent of their collective GDPs. It was well into the postwar period, and following a notable dip after 1973, that a comparable level of internationalization was again attained (17.9 percent by 1991). 35 We are, in other words, living in this century's second wave of globalization. The first one crashed against the breakers of nationalism, imperialism, war, and revolution. There is no rational reason to adopt a dogmatic belief that the current pattern of globalization is permanent. Current academic fashion overemphasizes, callously celebrates, or unduly doomsays the reality of globalization. It is a comprehendible and alterable historical process that requires more comparative and theoretical study as well as practical engagement to which we hope we have in a modest yet provocative and intellectually productive way contributed.

Walter Lippmann, Drift and Mastery (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1961).
Susan Tolchin, The Angry American (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1996).
For corporate internationalist attitudes on Clinton, see Alain Enthoven and Sara Singer, “Give Clinton Some Credit, Fortune, November 1, 1993, p. 50; Ann Dowd, “Clinton Agenda for Business, Fortune, January 24, 1994, pp. 48–51; and David Shribman, “Can Clinton Make Peace with His Party?” Fortune, January 12, 1998, p. 48.
Wilson Carey McWilliams, The Politics of Disappointment (Chatham, NJ: Chatham House, 1995), p. 199. See also M. Levinson, “Regarding Clinton Economic Package, Dissent 40, 2 (Spring 1993): 142–5 on the limitations of Clinton's economic liberalism.


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