Does the world need yet another book on globalization? Not a day goes by without impassioned authors and activists, whether anti- or pro-globalization, putting their oars into these agitated waters. Magazines and newspapers also write incessantly on the issue, and polls are taken and discussed on why there is “global rage” or why, as it happens, many support the process, especially in developing countries. 1
But when all is said the fact is that we lack a clear, coherent, and comprehensive sense of how globalization—and I refer to economic globalization (which embraces diverse forms of international integration, including foreign trade, multinational direct foreign investment, movements of short-term portfolio funds, technological diffusion, and crossborder migration)—works and how it can do better. There are evidently many who think that globalization may be economically benign, increasing economic prosperity in the conventional economic sense of enlarging the pie, but that it is also socially malign, that it diminishes, not enhances, the war on poverty, the assault on gender discrimination, the protection of culture both indigenous and mainstream, and indeed much else. The majority of those who agitate seem to agree on one thing: the rapaciousness of multinational corporations, which they believe are the principal beneficiaries, and the main agents—the B-52s, as I call them in this book—of this socially destructive globalization.
Far too often they produce “gotcha” examples (which I describe later), with fears masquerading as evidence. But then their pro-globalization opponents who refuse to buckle under this assault also fail to produce a concerted and total defense, based on a systematic examination of these contentions and concerns that builds up to a vision of the global system that is profoundly more optimistic yet suggests ways to make this globalization even better.