This is an adventurous and imaginative study of the "globalization" of world trade. The author delves deeply into complex areas, and he presents his material with both lucidity and a lightness of touch.
Professor Fischer emphasizes that there no longer is, or can be, a national economic policy unaffected by global pressures, and he looks in detail at the emergence of three powerful and expanding trading blocs ( America, Europe and the Asia/ Pacific Rim). In the course of his wide-ranging consideration of so many interlocking areas of economic activity, he examines (for instance) the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA).
Considerable attention is given to the European Union, with a sensitive awareness of the problems of "federalization" evolving either by design or otherwise. He accepts that "there continue to be divisions among the heads of state about the pace and direction of European integration," and he is fully aware of the differences of political and social philosophy, of culture, history and language. Moreover, he is fully aware of critical developments of the last decade, and he recognizes the continuing pressure for expansion of the Community. There is great unpredictability in the process of absorption, and it is difficult to formulate a timetable for developments in the new millennium.
There is a predictably somber note in the treatment of Japan ("Asia's Disintegrating Colossus"), of China ("the greatest enigma of all") and of the varying fortunes of other economies including Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand, but Professor Fischer is not pessimistic about the future.
The final part of the book, on the subject of "globalizing" trade, brings