Global Capitalism at Bay?

Global Capitalism at Bay?

Global Capitalism at Bay?

Global Capitalism at Bay?

Synopsis

This text elaborates theories on the situation of the foreign direct investment and multinational enterprises. It considers the unique characteristics of contemporary capitalism; and what must be done if it is to survive and in the 21st century.

Excerpt

The subject of this chapter has already intrigued scholars, business practitioners and politicians and various interest groups; and, no doubt, will continue to do so well into the twenty-first century. Yet, within the last decade or so, attitudes towards economic globalization, and predictions about its future, have undergone a profound transformation. From the euphoria which followed the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the liberalization of many goods, services and money markets, we are currently experiencing a kind of backlash—not dissimilar to that which followed the first positive reactions to the industrial revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Kennedy 1996, Searle 1998).

For now, as then, a different set of winners and losers are being created, and new social and political concerns are emerging. Titles of books published in the last couple of years—such as: The Global Trap (Martin and Schumann 1997); The Manic Logic of Global Capitalism (Greider 1997); Has Globalization Gone Too Far? (Rodrik 1997); False Dawn (Gray 1998); Global Capitalism in Crisis (Soros 1998); Turbo-Capitalism (Luttwak 1999); The Lexus and the Olive Tree (Friedman 1999) all emphasize some of the (perceived) downsides of globalization, which need to be set against its benefits emphasized by most economists and business strategists. Globaphobia (Bartlett and Lawrence 1998), indeed, may not be an exaggerated word to describe the current and growing disquiet about the future of global capitalism.

Where next then, one might ask? Will the current round of concerns and anxieties—so dramatically displayed at Seattle in December 1999 at the time of the World Trade Organization (WTO) meetings—escalate and force a back-tracking from the path now being pursued by so many countries; or will the more optimistic view of the future prevail—albeit with a greater emphasis on what Claude Smadja, at the 1999 World Economic Forum in Davos referred to as “responsible globality”?

Let me declare my hand straight away as a “conditional” optimist. What does this mean? Well, it is my belief that global capitalism can succeed, but

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