Aseem Prakash and Jeffrey A. Hart
This volume examines the challenges posed by economic globalization to business and public policy and how governments and firms may address them. We begin with the premise that actors seek to cope with economic globalization because they perceive it as changing their economic and political landscapes, thereby creating new opportunities and threats. Unlike many other works on the subject, this volume does not advocate either resisting globalization (Boyer and Drache, 1996; Mittelman, 1996; Gills, forthcoming) or embracing it (Ohmae, 1991). Everyone does not benefit from economic integration; there are "winners" and "losers." Since the distribution of its costs and benefits is asymmetrical across countries, sectors (Midford, 1993), firms (Milner, 1988), and factors (Rogowski, 1989), there is a need to "cope" with it. 2
Firms and governments, the relevant actors in this volume, may choose not to respond to every opportunity or threat. When they choose to respond, their actions may be inefficient, ineffective or inequitable, only serving to accentuate the maladaption. Thus, the first issue addressed in this volume is: how does globalization impact a given actor's set of opportunities and threats, and consequently, should the actor respond? Second, what strategies are available to the actor? Actors could cope either individually or collectively, or some combination of both. They could modify extant institutions or create new ones. Strategies available to firms and governments may also differ-firms are mobile while states are not, and states can theoretically retreat to autarchy while firms cannot. On the other hand, both firms and governments can restructure-firms can outsource their components and governments can privatize/outsource production of public services. 3 Third, why should firms and governments choose specific coping strategies? What are the political, ideational and/or economic factors behind these choices? Fourth, assuming that these strategies have well-defined objectives, what is our assessment for their future success? Finally, what lessons can be distilled and generalized to other actors or issue areas?
Economic globalization is not an inexorable and/or irreversible process. Its impact is not ephemeral; it is causing long-term structural changes in the global economy, especially in the nature and extent of integration of