Magazine article The American Prospect

Globalization and Its Critics

Magazine article The American Prospect

Globalization and Its Critics

Article excerpt

THE WORLD ECONOMY IS INCREASINGLY governed by a kind of one-party system--a global party that believes in the freest possible flow of capital and commerce across international frontiers. Although center-right and center-left parties joust for control of national governments, both seem to accept the prevailing wisdom that economies do best when government interferes least. Yes, there are still skirmishes about levels of public services. But the core precept of the elite consensus is bipartisan, with scant difference between a Thomas Friedman and a Milton Friedman.

Critics are disparaged as fools and nativists. In fact, the dissenters are not challenging the value of global commerce, much less the virtue of international culture. At issue, rather, is the ability of democratically elected governments to regulate the less attractive aspects of a market economy and to allocate social investment to those areas of human life that markets find unprofitable--education, health, public infrastructure, the environment, and decent conditions of work. At issue, also, is the effect of a regime of speculative private investment on global wealth and poverty. …

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