Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy

Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy

Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy

Who Elected the Bankers? Surveillance and Control in the World Economy

Synopsis

A former banker and staff member of the International Monetary Fund, Louis W. Pauly explains why people are deeply concerned about the emergence of a global economy and the increasingly integrated capital markets at its heart. In nations as diverse as France, Canada, Russia, and Mexico, the lives of citizens are disrupted when national policy falls out of line with the expectations of international financiers. Such dilemmas, ever more conspicuous around the world, arise from the disjuncture between a rapidly changing international economic system and a political order still constituted by sovereign states. The evolution of global capital markets inspires an understandable fear among people that the governing authorities accountable to them are losing the power to make substantive decisions affecting their own material prospects and those of their children. Pauly points out that today's capital markets resulted from decisions taken over many years by sovereign states, and particularly by the leading industrial democracies, who simultaneously crafted the instrument of multilateral economic surveillance. The effort to build adequate political foundations for global capital markets spans the twentieth century and links the histories of such institutions as the League of Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, and the Group of Seven.

Excerpt

Hardly a day passes that we are not reminded of an emerging global economy. Nearly every day, it seems, we learn about the expansion of some multinational corporate behemoth. Nearly every day, we hear that international traders are pummeling the currency of some country because they don't like the national "balance sheet." Nearly every day, the workers of the next generation are being warned to expect a significant degree of mobility in their careers and to develop the flexible skills required for competitive success in global markets.

For the vast majority of us who are not Wall Street coupon clippers, not thrilled by the prospect of changing employment fields six or seven times in the course of our lifetime, and not particularly interested in moving to Singapore, this news about "globalization" engenders a deep sense of disquiet. We wonder exactly what we are gaining, and we fear for what we may be losing.

The distemper of any particular age has many sources. An underlying source of our own uneasiness surely lies in the palpably heightening tension between international economic integration and the practical possibilities of national politics. That tension poses an ever more obvious challenge to the very legitimacy of our contemporary political order. This book concerns that challenge.

Markets for money are now commonly depicted as the most global of all markets--and the harbinger of things to come. the claim is exaggerated, but there is something to it. Indeed, for most countries and for most of the world's people, the ebbs and flows of . . .

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