Smart Globalization: The Canadian Business and Economic History Experience

By Hawkins, Richard A. | British Journal of Canadian Studies, January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Smart Globalization: The Canadian Business and Economic History Experience


Hawkins, Richard A., British Journal of Canadian Studies


Andrew Smith and Dimitry Anastakis (eds), Smart Globalization: The Canadian Business and Economic History Experience (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2014), 256 pp. Cased. $67. ISBN 978-1-4426-4804-3. Paper. $27.95. ISBN 978-1-4426-1612-7.

In their Introduction, Smith and Anastakis explain that the greatest direct influence on this book is the Harvard economist Dani Rodrik, who has argued that selective globalisation is the best way for a countr y to develop. This is a middle way between neo-liberals who seek the removal of all barriers to international trade and investment and those who are totally opposed to globalisation. Rodrik does not explicitly draw upon the Canadian historical experience. However, the editors of this book believe that Canada provides a good case study of Rodrik's concept of smart globalisation.

In the first chapter, Dilley shows how in the early years of the twentieth century the Canadian province of Ontario invested in the generation and distribution of cheap publicly generated hydroelectric power in order to force down prices by breaking the monopoly of a company owned by City of London investors. Dilley argues that the fact Ontario overcame the City's opposition shows that in practice the first age of globalisation was not constrained by a 'straitjacket', as many have argued, including Rodrik, but was instead governed by a loose-fitting set of rules. The second chapter, by Mark Kuhlberg, provides evidence of the opposite of smart globalisation. His case study of the Ontario provincial government's mismanagement of the spruce forests from 1890 to 1930 shows that wood was exported unprocessed, allowing the pulp and paper industries in the United States to gain the added value from manufacturing. …

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