Global Fortune: The Stumble and Rise of World Capitalism

By Ian Vásquez | Go to book overview

2. The Challenge of Globalization:
There Is No Third Way

Deepak Lal

In thinking about globalization, I like to imagine a Rip Van Winkle who had gone to sleep in about 1870, and has just awakened. He would find that little has changed in the world economy. He would note the various technological advances in transportation and communications (aircraft, telephones, and computers). These advances have further reduced the costs of international trade and commerce and led to the progressive integration of the world economy, which was well under way—after the first Great Age of Reform—when he went to sleep.

He would not have known of the terrible events of this century: two world wars, the Great Depression, and the battles against two illiberal creeds—fascism and communism—that led to the breakdown of the first liberal international economic order (LIEO) created under British leadership after the repeal of the Corn Laws. Nor would the various and varying fads in economic policy—both national and international—during this century make any sense, including, for example, exchange controls, the use of quotas rather than tariffs as instruments of protection, centralized planning and its associated controls on production and distribution, as well as restrictions on the free flow of capital.

He would be surprised by two features of the current world economy. Unlike the 19th century, when there was free movement of goods, money, and people, today there are relatively free flows of goods and money but there is no free movement of labor. This is related to the second surprising feature he would soon observe: the welfare states to be found in most advanced countries have created property rights in citizenship. This necessarily leads to restrictions on immigration because immigration creates new citizens with an automatic right of access to the purses of existing citizens through the transfer state.

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