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Globalization History

Globalization History

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Published by jerince

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Published by: jerince on Nov 18, 2010
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03/23/2015

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What are the lessons of the first globalization for thinking about

globalization today? To start, the first globalization provides another

powerful reminder that globalization is not irreversible. In our own

times, we have been forcefully reminded by the September 11, 2001

attacks that the stability and future of globalization are in no way

guaranteed. As trucks delivering parts for “just-in-time” production

piled up in great traffic jams on the Canadian and Mexican borders in

the days after 9/11, businessmen discovered that this is not a

“borderless world.” Financial analysts warned about increases in the

cost of security, insurance, and inspections for cross-border

transactions, and speculated about the “tipping point of

globalization” or the “end of globalization.” 88

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The great 19th century revolution in transportation and

communication technologies that lowered the costs of international

exchange did not prevent walls from rising around national societies

as soon as World War One broke out, and remaining up for the next

seventy years. Today, when globalization has been accelerated as

much by public policies of liberalization and deregulation as by new

technology, these policies seem more vulnerable than technological

advances to reversal. After September 11, we can imagine how

public concerns about national security might drown out the interests

that seek to keep movement across frontiers fluid and easy. While

globalization appears to rush ahead unimpeded in cold phases of

international relations, when the states that are the key actors in the

international system do not face major security challenges,

globalization may collapse in hot phases of international conflict.

Whatever the differences between the economic characteristics of the

first globalization and the contemporary situation, we are no less

likely than people were in 1914 to accept major limitations on the

movement of goods, capital and labor across borders or sharp

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increases in the costs of such transfers if these appear necessary for

reducing security threats.

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