This essay is based on the book: „The Next Global Stage: The challenges and opportunities in our borderless world“, by Kenichi Ohmae. The theme chosen from this book is:“ globalization and its impact on international trade“. The essay discusses globalization and the extent to which the global economy has the potential not only to constrain but also to enable governments to pursue their policy objectives (Weis, 2009). This essay posits that if one wishes to account for impacts of globalization in any particular national setting, then one must start with the domestic institutions of governance, which mediate the challenges of openness
Keywords: globalization, the Next Global Stage, challenges and opportunities borderless world, challenges and opportunities
This essay is based on the book: „The Next Global Stage: The challenges and opportunities in our borderless world“, by Kenichi Ohmae. Ohmae explains why economic theories of the past no longer work in today’s global economy. He provides a blue print for today’s business to succeed in this global economy. He reinvents the map by defining region states and the blue print for them to succeed as well. One major question he tries to address is about the global economy. What is globalization? What makes our economy a global one? Ohmae states that even though our borders are diminishing, most nation states still want to continue to have power on the movement of people and goods for security reasons. But in the business world, there are areas that have proven they can exist without many constraints. These areas are in communication, capital corporations and consumers(Ohmae, 2005). In addition to being borderless, our economy has become more visible, cyber-connected and measured in multiples or expectation of success.
He argues that we must abandon our economic theories of yesterday. While they helped us to make sense of our economies in the past, and assisted us with devising appropriate legislature, the theories no longer work for the following reasons. The flow of money as described by Keynesian economics becomes complicated if two countries start trading a multitude of different products and services, or if they start communication with ultrafast computers.
The theme chosen from this book: „The Next Global Stage: The challenges and opportunities in our borderless world“, is globalization and its impact on international trade. The essay discusses globalization and the extent to which the global economy has the potential not only to constrain but also to enable governments to pursue their policy objectives (Weiss, 2003). This essay posits that if one wishes to account for impacts of globalization in any particular national setting, then one must start with the domestic institutions of governance, which mediate the challenges of openness. This essay is organized under the following headings:
1. The meaning of Globalization
2. Benefits of Trade
3. Competition and Consumers
4. Globalization and Domestic Institutions
5. Countries and Condominiums
The Concept of Globalization
The world economy is experiencing a fundamental change. We are moving away from a world in which national economies were relatively self – contained entities, isolated from each other by barriers by barriers to cross-border trade and investment, by distance, time zones and language, and by national differences in government regulation, culture, and business systems. And as Hill(2005) observes, we are moving toward a world in which barriers to cross-border trade and investment are falling, perceived distance is reducing due to technological advances in transportation and telecommunication, material culture is beginning to look similar the world over, national economies are merging into interdependent global economic system.
Globalization refers to the shift toward a more integrated and interdependent world economy. Globalization has several different features, including globalization of markets, and the globalization of production (Hill, 2005). The different definitions of globalization according to many authors, Annabelle and Betsy(2007), Boudreaux(2008), Schirm(2007) and Cortell(2006), converge around a common understanding of globalization as an integration of markets, a cross-border interconnectedness of economic spaces and thus a denationalization of economic process. Therefore, economic globalization shall be defined here as the increasing share of private cross- border activities in the total economic output of countries. With this basic definition, globalization can be measured as the share of foreign trade, foreign direct investment and financial transaction in the gross domestic product of a country or a region and as a share in the world product (Annabelle and Betsy, 2007; Boudreaux, 2008; Schirm, 2007 and Cortell, 2006).
The globalization of markets refers to the merging of historically distinct and separate national markets into one huge global market. Falling barriers to cross border trade have made it easier to sell internationally. For some time, the argument has been that the taste and preferences of consumers in different nations are beginning to converge on some global norm, thereby helping to create a global market(Bhagwati, 2004).
When we speak of globalization we typically talk of countries becoming more economically integrated with each other, of countries undertaking the actions that result in greater trade. For example, we speak of the United States buying more goods and services from China. So when a newspaper reporter writes that China is selling more goods to the United States, recognize that this statement really means that many individuals in that region of the globe that we call „China“ are spending more of their time and resources making things for shipment to that part of the globe that we call „the United States“ where many persons living there choose to buy these things.
This insistence that individuals rather than countries drive commerce might sound trite. It is not. Much misunderstanding sprouts from the failure to keep in mind that trade is done by persons not by countries or by governments. With this realization front and center, we correctly understand international trade as motivated by the same forces, and as unleashing the same consequences, as trade among citizens of the same country.
Benefits of Trade
The question that comes to mind in the wake of globalization is: Why do any two persons trade with each other? The answer is as obvious as it appears to be, because each party to a trade expects to be made better off by that trade. If you choose to spend
$5.00 for a cup of coffee at Starbucks, you do so because, as you judge your own well- being, that cup of coffee will give you greater satisfaction than would whatever else you might buy with that $5.00. The owner of the Starbucks franchise also has similar reasons. Having an additional $5.00 in her still is worth more to her than keeping on hand the coffee she sells to you. Nothing about this explanation for voluntary trade implies that people do not make mistakes. Perhaps after taking a few sips of the coffee you realize that you ordered regular when you meant to order decaffeinated, or that you suddenly are no longer in the mood for coffee. You then regret for any purchase that is made.
But at the time you made the trade, clearly you thought that buying that cup of coffee was in your best interest. Otherwise you would not have bought it. When we look at the world with snapshot vision—say, looking at it only as it exists on a particular day such as August 24, 2012—about the only steps we can take to improve human well- being is to reallocate things that already exist. The example of you buying a cup of coffee from Starbucks involves such a reallocation. The coffee beans used to brew your coffee already existed when you decided to purchase your cup of coffee, as did the cardboard cup in which it was served to you, the machine that brewed the coffee, and the retail space that you entered to make your purchase. But even though nothing new was produced by your purchase, it is important to see that voluntary exchange generally makes all parties to the transaction better off. You are better off because ownership of that cup of coffee was reallocated from Starbucks to you; Starbucks is better off because ownership of the $5.00 was reallocated from you to Starbucks. By simply reallocating goods from people who value them less to people who value them more, the well-being of society is increased.
And because each of us has incentives to seek out and strike deals that make us better off, and to avoid deals that do not, voluntary exchange, even of things that already exist, generally improves human well-being. But our well-being would not be improved very much if we did nothing but exchange things that already exist. Much greater and continuing improvement requires production. For standards of living to increase the economy must transform „inputs“ into desirable „outputs.“
A far more interesting question is what causes this wealth? Before we explore the answer to this question, it’s interesting to notice that Smith did not ask „what causes poverty.“ Smith(1981) would have found such a question to be odd, if not downright meaningless. In Smith’s time, even in relatively prosperous Western Europe, poverty was widespread. Poverty was the norm. Smith understood that poverty has no causes; it is, to use a modern term, humankind’s default mode.
If each of us does nothing, if each of us exerts no creativity and no effort, we will all be miserably poor. It is no challenge to „create“ poverty. The real challenge, Smith realized, is to create wealth, especially enough wealth so that it is regularly available to ordinary people. Smith saw that wealth is rooted in specialization, what he called „the division of labor.“ If each of us must produce everything that we consume, with no help from others, we would be unimaginably poor. How does specialization cause such awesome increases in total output? Smith(1981) identified three reasons.
First, specialization reduces the time spent moving from job to job. Someone who tends crops in the morning and then cleans skyscraper windows in the afternoon must spend a good deal of time each day traveling from the farm to the city and back. This time spent moving from one job to the next is time not spent producing output. So if Sam specializes in producing nothing but wheat and Suzy specializes in doing nothing but cleaning windows, together they will produce more output than they would if each worked at both tasks.
Second, specialization promotes the acquisition of skills; it promotes what Smith called „the increase of dexterity in every particular workman.“ If each day you spend only five minutes practicing the piano, you will never become a good piano player. This is true even if you are blessed with vast natural talent for that musical instrument. To become highly skilled, each week you must play the piano for many hours. And the more time you devote to playing the piano, the better you become at it. Put differently, the less time you must spend doing other things—growing your food, making your clothes, mowing the lawn, practicing karate—the more time you can spend honing your skills as a pianist and thus the better you become at making music with that instrument. What’s true for piano playing is true for nearly every other endeavor. Persons who become skilled automobile mechanics achieve this distinction only by devoting a good portion of their time each week to repairing cars and trucks. Bakers spend much time baking. Neurosurgeons spend much time learning and practicing brain surgery. Practice and experience may not make someone perfect, but they are sure do improve that person’s skills.
Third, specialization increases the likelihood of machinery replacing human labor and, thereby, releasing that labor to produce outputs that could not before be produced. Suppose you visit a factory and see each worker performing all the tasks required to produce a pin. Each worker pulls some wire from a roll, cuts it, sharpens one end to a point and flattens the other end to make the pin’s head. Each worker also packs the pins he or she makes into packing crates for shipment to market. If the factory owner asks you, „Hey, do you think you can make a machine to do what one of these workers does?“ how will you answer? You would have to be an exceptional genius of an engineer to design and manufacture a single machine that does several very different tasks. But now suppose that you visit another pin factory, one that has the same number of workers as the first factory.
In this second factory, however, one worker specializes in pulling the wire from the spool; a second worker specializes in cutting the wire; a third worker specializes in sharpening one end of each piece of cut wire into a pin point; a fourth worker specializes in flattening the other ends of the pins into pinheads; and so on. If the owner of this second factory asks you to make a machine to do one of these tasks, you are more likely to agree that designing and manufacturing such a machine is doable. A machine that does nothing but, say, cut wire into pin-length strips is vastly easier to conceive and to build than is a machine that does this task plus many others.
So, Adam Smith reasoned, when a worker specializes in performing a distinct task, chances increase that this worker, or someone observing him, will perceive an opportunity for inventing a machine to do this specific task. With a machine now doing a task that previously required human labor, workers who once performed this task can now perform other productive tasks. Society gets more output than before. Smith concluded that the wealth of nations grows with the division of labor and with the trade that naturally follows from it.
As each of us specializes in doing a small, distinct job—teaching economics, preparing income tax returns, performing dentistry, playing French horn for the New York Philharmonic orchestra—and then exchanging our output for that of millions of other specialists, we are all better off. Smith’s explanation for the wealth-producing effects of specialization is important. But it was left to a younger British economist, Ricardo (2003), to discover and explain another, more fundamental reason why specialization increases the wealth of nations. That reason is the principle of comparative advantage, and it is one of the most important discoveries in all of the social sciences.
The discussion so far reveals several different ways that specialization increases society’s total output of goods and services. Specialization saves workers‘ time, it enhances each worker’s skill at performing his or her job, it promotes the use of machinery, and, perhaps most importantly, specialization done according to each worker’s comparative advantage ensures that each productive task is performed by workers who can perform that task most efficiently. That is, at the lowest possible cost. Another interesting, and counter intuitive fact is revealed if we combine Smith’s insight of how specialization increases the skill of each worker with Ricardo’s insight about comparative advantage. Return to the above example in which Ann has a comparative advantage in fishing while Bob has a comparative advantage in gathering bananas. As we saw, under these circumstances, Ann will specialize more in fishing while Bob specializes more in banana gathering. But now suppose that one day while out fishing Ann is struck by a creative insight about how she can increase her daily catch. She might, for example, realize that using her sweater as fishing net will enable her to catch more fish daily than before. Now using more „capital goods“ (her fishing net) than she used previously, Ann’s capacity to catch fish rises. Let’s assume that using the net increases her capacity to catch fish from 200 fish per month to 300 fish per month.
Ann’s capacity to produce fish now is higher (by 100 fish per month), although her capacity to gather bananas is unchanged. And, of course, Ann’s innovative use of her sweater as a fishing net does nothing to increase the quantities of bananas and of fish that Bob can produce in a month. In other words, while Ann certainly is better off having discovered an improved means of catching fish, Ann’s discovery does not make Bob better off. In fact, Ann’s greater capacity to catch fish makes even Bob at least potentially better off. To see how, note that before Ann began using a net, she was twice as efficient at fishing as Bob: each fish then cost Ann one-half a banana while each fish cost Bob one full banana. Now, not surprisingly, because her use of the net increases her efficiency at fishing, the cost to Ann of catching fish falls. Using her sweater as fishing net, each fish now costs Ann only one-third of a banana. She now gives up fewer bananas for each fish that she catches.
But here’s the fascinating fact: by becoming a better fisherman, Ann necessarily becomes a worse banana gatherer. This is true even though her capacity to produce bananas remains unchanged. Before Ann learned to use the net, each banana she produced cost her two fish. Now, because using the net increases Ann’s capacity to catch fish, each banana that she might now produce would cost her three fish. And although Bob’s cost of gathering bananas has not changed, it remains one fish per banana; his cost of gathering bananas relative to Ann’s cost has indeed fallen. Before Ann improved her capacity to catch fish, Bob’s cost of producing bananas was half of Ann’s cost of producing bananas (one fish per banana for Bob compared to two fish per banana for Ann). Now that Ann is a more productive fisherman, Bob’s cost of producing bananas falls to one-third of what it costs Ann to produce bananas (one fish per banana for Bob compared to three fish per banana for Ann). In other words, when Ann improves her advantage over Bob at fishing, she simultaneously and unavoidably improves Bob’s advantage over her at gathering bananas.
This comparative lowering of Bob’s cost of producing bananas means that Bob enjoys at least the potential of increasing the number of fish that he can persuade Ann to give him for every banana that he sells to her. Before Ann began to use the net, the most that she would pay for each of Bob’s bananas was two fish; now she is willing to pay up to three fish per banana.
Competition and Consumers
In the example above of comparative advantage, the gains from specialization and trade are shared pretty equally between Ann and Bob. This equality of sharing the gains from trade, however, need not be true in reality in order for comparative advantage still to work for the improvement of all peoples‘ material well-being. If Ann is a more skilled bargainer than Bob, she might persuade Bob to accept fewer fish in exchange for his bananas. Being a better bargainer than Bob, Ann will enjoy more of the gains from specialization and trade than Bob will. But as long as both parties voluntarily trade with each other, each person nevertheless is made better off than he or she would be without specializing and trading. No matter how good a bargainer Ann might be, she will never persuade Bob to pay more than one banana for each of her fish. Bob will not pay, for example, 1.1 bananas for a fish from Ann given that he can produce each of his own fish at a cost to him of 1.0 bananas.
In reality, of course, there are millions of consumers and millions of producers, with each producer being highly specialized. No single person today, for example, specializes in making automobiles. Instead, automobiles are produced by thousands of people, each of whom specializes in one or two finely distinct tasks, such as designing body styles, building parts for internal-combustion engines, cutting sheet metal, welding, tanning leather for the seats, and so on. As workers specialize at ever more narrow tasks, the productivity from specialization increases, both for the reasons identified by Adam Smith and because of the principle of comparative advantage. Compared to our simple two-person, two-good example, the real world is marked by a division of labor that is wider (there are millions of goods and services, not only two, produced and consumed) and deeper (the production of each good or service for market typically requires many different specialists, each of whom contributes his or her talents to produce only a part of the final output).
A widening and a deepening of the division of labor increases total output. Another consequence is that each person, while specializing at producing only one kind of output, deals as a consumer with countless numbers of suppliers. As a producer, your dentist performs a highly specialized task, but as a consumer he buys goods and services from many different suppliers—grocers, barbers, oil companies, furniture makers among others. The list is practically endless. Also unlike in the simple two- person model featuring Ann and Bob, the real world division of labor does not result in each producer having a monopoly over his particular task. Large numbers of people participating in an economy means not only that the division of labor widens and deepens, it means also that several people will have a comparative advantage at any specific task.
The result is competition among these specialist producers for consumers‘ dollars. With lots of fishermen, Ann will be obliged to sell her fish at prices no higher than those charged by other fishermen. With lots of banana sellers, Bob will be obliged to sell his bananas at prices no higher than those charged by other banana growers. So another advantage of international trade is that it increases the number of competitors in each industry which, in turn, helps to ensure that producers keep their prices competitive. We saw above that when Ann’s capacity to catch fish increases, this improvement creates the potential to make Bob better off even though nothing about Bob’s productive abilities changes. Competition makes this potential a reality. When Ann becomes a better fisherman, she captures more of the fish market by lowering her prices to levels that before would have been unprofitable.
If producers can collude to avoid this competition, they will do so. But collusion is practically possible only when the number of producers in an industry is very small and when the likelihood of new entry is minuscule. Shielding domestic producers from foreign rivals only increases the likelihood of successful collusion among firms in an industry.
Greater numbers of competitors mean also greater prospects for discovering and implementing improvements in production techniques, and a greater likelihood that such improvements will be mimicked or even bettered by other producers. The result of this competitive process is that, over time, production costs fall and prices are driven down to these new lower costs of supplying the good or service.
Globalization and Domestic Institutions
Although the constraints on government policy have been often overstated, there is no disputing the fact that economic interdependence has grown very significantly over the past four decades. The facts concerning globalization are familiar. Reflecting a reduction in the transaction costs of international economic exchange, trade in goods and services and especially capital flows have increased notably in the last thirty years. For the average developed country, trade in goods and services as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has expanded from approximately 45 per cent to 65 per cent between the mid-1960s and mid-1990s (The World Bank, 2003).
Total borrowing on international capital markets rose to more than $830 billion in 1995, from less than $360 billion just five years before (OECD 1996). Declines in covered interest rate differentials and liberalization of controls on movements of goods, services, and finance have proceeded apace. While observers have noted distinct limits to globalization (e.g., Berger and Dore 1996; Keohane and Milner 1996; Weiss 1998), there is little question that internationalization has significantly expanded during the post-Bretton Woods era. While these figures show that national economies are far more inter dependent today than in the recent past (though not necessarily more than a century ago), the implied conclusion that they support the existence of a strong globalization tendency which in turn constrains state capacity has been widely challenged. Indeed, the main critical response to the idea of globalization as constraint has been a quantitative one, which consists in showing that globalization is far less advanced than its proponents have claimed. Many scholars skeptical of such a tendency have sought to counter the idea of an all-powerful, border-erasing force at work by setting these quantitative changes within a larger perspective, assessing their overall weight as a proportion of national economic activity.
Beyond measurement accounts focusing on how far globalization has advanced are valuable for infusing quantitative analysis with a historical perspective that ably clarifies the real extent of globalization. But, as a critical response, the measurement approach remains limited and inconclusive. For one thing, it has produced a stalemate: if globalists are not impressed with these findings, it is because they can always counter with the claim that even if globalization has not yet gone far, it is surely only a matter of time. Moreover, a focus on the extent of globalization may set us on a false trail.
The larger message is the need for a new research agenda, which focuses on the enabling face of globalization. Many writers, (Annabelle and Betsy(2007), Boudreaux, 2008; Schirm,2007 and Cortell, 2006), have contributed to that endeavor. It adds to a small but substantial literature covering a variety of topics – from financial liberalization to industrial relations – which presents compelling arguments for an enabling view of globalization. I extract from literature two theoretical arguments, adding a third of my own, as to why globalization does not produce a ‘race to the bottom‘ in government taxation and spending policies, and why it does not in principle prevent governments from pursuing desired economic and social objectives. So rather than implementing generalized cuts, governments will often have strong political incentives either to sustain or to increase domestic compensation.
This is the widely overlooked ‘political logic‘ of voice that acts as a countertendency to the ‘economic logic‘ of exit, as argued by Garrett (1998a). This view of interdependence, as a process that encourages governments to balance openness with social protection, has a distinguished pedigree, linking back to Katzenstein’s (1985) pioneering work on the small states of northern Europe where he found trade openness strongly associated with well-developed measures aimed at providing ‘domestic compensation‘ for labor and industry. In the small states context, Katzenstein found that the strength of economic openness correlates with a heightened perception of vulnerability, giving rise to an ideology of social partnership and complementary (corporatist) institutional arrangements. Thus ‘small states‘ in the Katzensteinian sense can be seen as the forerunners of globalizations‘ ‘enabling‘ dynamic in the developed democracies.
From what has been argued so for, one may generate the following hypothesis: the greater the level of (trade) interdependence, the stronger the elite perception of vulnerability, and the greater the likelihood of compensatory and inclusionary domestic structures which blunt rather than exacerbate the pressures of openness. The main point, then, is that against the expectation that mobile capital in the form of multinational corporations and financial market investors will generally depress social spending and drive down corporate taxes via threat of exit, one must set the less noted (politically) enabling impact of openness. By heightening perceptions of vulnerability among different social groups, the latter has the potential to encourage compensatory responses from government. The stress on ‘potential‘ is important because the responses vary with institutional setting. As Swank(2003) says, the ‘political logic‘ of enablement impacts differently according to the prevailing normative and organizational conditions – hence explaining, for example, the more fiscally restrained patterns of welfare reform in liberal-market economies like Britain, compared with the more fiscally accommodating or moderately expansive patterns respectively in sectorally or centrally coordinated-market systems like Germany and Sweden, all nowadays highly interdependent economies.
In a parallel manner for East Asia, Garrett (1998b). argues that the more competitive the political system (as a result of democratization), the more governments have become responsive to welfare constituencies in a period of growing economic openness, even in the absence of any real political commitment to a welfare system. However potentially mobile the modern corporation may be, increased exposure to world markets heightens the firm’s need for continuous innovation, industrial upgrading, and competent workers. So instead of generalized slashing of corporate taxes and shifting the tax burden from capital to labor, governments will often have strong incentives to provide services to capital in exchange for maintaining tax revenue. As a number of scholars have observed, for all the neoclassical strictures about the harm wrought by state intervention, internationally oriented firms are still prone to welcome the benefits offered by a host of government programs (Garrett, 1998a).
At the very least, this offers a plausible way of explaining why, in many national settings, internationally mobile firms may be willing to sustain relatively high tax (and spending) levels, contrary to the standard expectations of capital exit. For this is where the overall evidence points, as Weiss(2003) demonstrates, subjecting ‘race-to the- bottom‘ claims to the test in a compelling analysis of the state’s fiscal profile in the current golden period of globalization. Overturning conventional expectations, Weiss‘ findings leave little room for doubting the general trend: notwithstanding limited oscillations and country particularities over time, it is clear that the tax burden on corporations in the OECD has generally increased rather than declined in the period of rising economic interdependence, that governments have not shifted the tax burden from capital to labor and, moreover, that they have generally increased taxes. To these two arguments, we can add a third as to why globalization has enabling rather than simply constraining effects on national governance.
This concerns the way in which intensified competitive pressures may threaten to destabilize key sectors of the economy – from agriculture to telecommunications and finance. The effect of such competitive challenges is to urge governments to devise new policy responses, new regulatory regimes, and similar restructuring reforms. Most critically, responding to these new challenges creates incentives for governments to develop new or strengthen existing policy networks. For some purposes, this entails the expansion of intergovernmental cooperation in more or less permanent fora (e.g., the EU, WTO, BIS, G8). For others, it involves the extension of links between government and business in order to increase or improve policy input from the private sector. In both domestic and international settings, the capacity for economic governance may be enhanced by more effective information sharing and policy implementation. In each case, neither government nor business autonomy is thereby negated. Rather, it is ‘enmeshed‘ in a network of interdependencies, the rules for which are established by government – hence ‘governed interdependence‘.
The overall effect of such changes is a transformation in the state’s relational enmeshment with other power actors. Staying with the domestic setting, the more general point to emphasize is that openness can create strong pressures for maintaining or extending cooperative ties between government and industry, as well as for information sharing, for coordinated responses to collective action problems, and more generally for the state to act as provider of collective goods. Of course the transformation of public–private sector relations is not the only possible outcome of globalizations‘ enabling dynamic. In some cases – the Chinese response to WTO- induced reforms being the exemplary one, preparing for increased competitive pressures has led to the restructuring of central–local government relations rather than of public–private sector ones.
As a result of new power-sharing arrangements between the different units of government, the capacity of the Chinese state has been transformed from one based on the closed-economy model of central planning to one based on selective intervention at both national and local levels. But outside the somewhat special case of China, in the developed democracies the more general principle applies, whereby increasing policy input from encompassing economic groups in the private sector tends to strengthen the state’s transformative capacity. This principle is nicely illustrated in a number of existing studies, in particular, Cortel’s study of agricultural reform in France (2000), Mark Lehrer’s analysis of the growth of high-technology entrepreneurship in Germany (2000), as well as the account of industrial upgrading in European and East Asian countries.
In a pioneering study of the highly globalised derivatives markets, Cortel offers further evidence of a similar dynamic at work in this most unexpected quarter. Also running contrary to expectations about the demise of transformative capacity in East Asia is the Korean state’s recent partnering with organized industry groups to create, inter alia, a domestic software industry, highlighted by Weiss(2003). Such examples add flesh to a larger theoretical point advanced in this essay: namely, that globalization does indeed impact on national governance and its domestic structures, but the impact is not only, or even generally, constraining. For globalization also contributes to the expansion of governing capacities through both the transformation of public–private sector relations and the growth of policy networks.
The important point to reiterate is that the extent to which these enabling conditions (of international competition) and the political incentives for intervention that they generate are likely to be actualized and to inform policy making will depend heavily on institutional features of the domestic environment. As Weiss(2003) stated, although the economic incentives for particular kinds of intervention may be extremely strong and the national political rewards high – as would certainly be the case for a national strategy to upgrade Thailand’s low technology industries, an issue of critical importance since the Asian crisis – the political and economic institutional capacities may nonetheless be lacking or inadequate to the new developmental tasks. In this context, globalizations‘ enabling qualities turn into constraints.
If we switch focus from social protection to promotion of wealth creation strategies in industry, technology, and finance, whether the enabling features of globalization lead to more market-competitive or more public-private cooperation will once again depend largely upon the character of the prevailing norms and arrangements. In liberal market contexts, characterized by arms-length approaches, norms of competitive liberalism, and non-interventionist traditions, economic openness has generally enabled governments to deepen market mechanisms in line with pro- competitive norms and pro-consumer preferences.
On the other hand, in coordinated market contexts, characterized by traditions of statecraft, coordinated or state-guided approaches to economic change, and strong policy networks linking state and business, globalization has generally enabled both governments and business to manage openness in line with pro-producer preferences and the goals of strengthening the national economy (Weiss, 1998). As further substantive research casts light on the mediating role of domestic institutions, we may learn more about the triangular relationship concerning the logics of constraint, enablement, and institutional response.
The Keynesian theory
One conclusion that derives from the classical theory is that in the long run, unemployment is not possible, the market for labor would have adjusted to clear. In the 1920s and 1930s, the whole world something called the great depression. Prices of commodities went down, production went down, and unemployment increased drastically. For Keynes, who was living at that time, the classical theory seemed nonsensical due to the fact that there was mass unemployment, which persisted for a long period. In his book; The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, he gave an explanation of how he felt it was possible to have persistent unemployment in the long run. His overriding conclusion was that the level of output in the economy depended very largely on the level of demand, not just for the individual commodity, but rather the aggregate demand for the entire economy. He argued that without adequate demand, producers will not produce enough to keep everyone employed. He concluded that it might be necessary for agents such as governments to intervene in the workings of the general economy to make sure that the markets are pushed to the desirable equilibria. Much of the current thinking in economics has been influenced by Keynesian theory.
Specialization and trade are absolutely essential to widespread prosperity. Not only does specialization improve each worker’s capacity to produce, but when done according to producers‘ comparative advantage, specialization ensures that each good and service is produced at the lowest possible cost. And competition among producers spurs not only a continual quest for further improvements in production efficiency but also the necessity of each producer eventually to share the value of these improvements with consumers in the form of lower prices. Restricting consumers‘ choices to those products produced within a particular country, in addition to restricting the degree to which labor can specialize, artificially chokes off this competition. Any creative ideas that foreign entrepreneurs might contribute about how to improve product quality or production efficiency are excluded by government policy from the domestic market.
The result is a narrower and shallower division of labor, as well as less creativity and competition put at the service of the domestic economy. Nevertheless, the economic gains that result from a global division of labor might be insufficient to compensate for other (real or imagined) downsides of such an international reach of specialization and competition. The bulk of the evidence from empirical research and the most widely accepted theories confirm the fact that free trade promotes widespread prosperity and that globalization is a boon to humankind.
If two individuals find trade with each other to be advantageous, the presence or absence of a political boundary running between these persons‘ physical locations is economically irrelevant. The expected gains from trade that motivate each of them to exchange with the other do not disappear or change simply by declaring that one of the people is a citizen of country A while the other person is a citizen of country B. And because opportunities for specialization increase with expansions of the geographic range and in the numbers of people over which economic exchanges occur, refusing to let political boundaries define economic boundaries increases prosperity.
Antiglobalists who rest their arguments against free trade on the undesirability of economic uncertainty must also oppose any and all sources of economic change, including advances in technology, freedom of domestic entrepreneurs, and changes in consumers‘ tastes. Antiglobalists who oppose only the uncertainty created by trade across international borders are inconsistent, for economic change comes from many other sources as well. Second, globalization also decreases some kinds of uncertainty. Any economic downturn that causes consumers to cut back on their spending is more likely to afflict just one country or one part of the globe than to afflict the entire world all at once. So firms that sell to customers around the world—just like firms that receive supplies from around the world—do not have all of their eggs in one basket. These firms‘ customer bases are diversified, meaning that an economic downturn that causes some of their customers to cut spending is more likely to be offset by economic upturns elsewhere that prompt others of their customers to spend more. Uncertainty is reduced for these globally diversified firms and their workers.
Third, no one is forced to participate in the global economy. Anyone who wants to escape international commerce can do so without forcing others to join in his or her isolation from the world economy. The truly devoted antiglobalist can buy a plot of land—the world has a good deal of arable land available at reasonable prices—and live self-sufficiently, without trading with others. He (perhaps along with his immediate family) can supply his own food and drink, build his own house, gather his own water, cut his own trees to get wood for fuel, make his own clothes and shoes, provide his own medical care, and create his own entertainment. This self-sufficient person will be immune to corporate manipulation, financial speculators, exchange-rate swings, IMF and WTO policies, and wage pressures unleashed by expanded global trade. Of course, the price this person must pay for this immunity from the global economy is a life of almost unimaginable poverty. Almost no antiglobalist is willing to pay this price.
Most antiglobalists want two inconsistent things. They want immunity from the forces of economic change and they want the goods and services that market capitalism makes possible. They cannot have both. Essential to market capitalism is the freedom of entrepreneurs to offer new products and the freedom of consumers to buy these products if they choose (that is, consumer sovereignty). These freedoms necessarily mean that no producer, including no worker, enjoys a guaranteed market. These freedoms necessarily mean that, along with the immense wealth made widely available by market capitalism, every producer and consumer must tolerate some amount of economic uncertainty. There is nothing wrong, of course, with attempts to reduce the negative consequences of this uncertainty as much as possible. Perhaps, as Kenneth F. Scheve and Matthew J. Slaughter propose in their article, „A New Deal for
Globalization,“ government should create programs aimed at helping workers displaced by changes wrought by freer trade. But consider this question: Are workers who lose their jobs to foreign firms more deserving of government assistance than are workers who lose their jobs to domestic rivals, to improved technologies, or simply to changes in consumer preferences?) What governments should not do, if they seek maximum long- run prosperity for their citizens, is to pretend that restricting trade either increases prosperity or decreases economic uncertainty. Protectionism does neither.
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