For a century, economists have driven forward the cause of globalization in financial institutions, labour markets, and trade. Yet there have been consistent warning signs that a global economy and free trade might not always be advantageous. Where are the pressure points? What could be done about them?
Dani Rodrik examines the back-story from its seventeenth-century origins through the milestones of the gold standard, the Bretton Woods Agreement, and the Washington Consensus, to the present day. Although economic globalization has enabled unprecedented levels of prosperity in advanced countries and has been a boon to hundreds of millions of poor workers in China and elsewhere in Asia, it is a concept that rests on shaky pillars, he contends. Its long-term sustainability is not a given.
The heart of Rodrik's argument is a fundamental 'trilemma': that we cannot simultaneously pursue democracy, national self-determination, and economic globalization. Give too much power to governments, and you have protectionism. Give markets too much freedom, and you have an unstable world economy with little social and political support from those it is supposed to help. Rodrik argues for smart globalization, not maximum globalization.
Dani Rodrik is one of the world's top economists, well known for his original and prescient analyses of globalization and economic development. His ideas on improving national and global economic policies-in the fields of trade, industry, finance, and growth-have been highly influential among economists and policy makers alike. His 1997 book Has Globalization Gone Too Far? was called one of the decade's best economics books in Business Week. Rodrik's syndicated
monthly columns for the Project Syndicate network are published in scores of newspapers around the world. His blog, "Unconventional thoughts on economic development and globalization" is widely read and frequently cited in newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times and The Economist. In 2007, he
was recognized as the first recipient of the prestigious Albert O. Hirschman award of the Social Science Research Council (New York).