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“Pro” vs. “Anti” Globalization: the New Divide

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The following text is the second chapter of ―L‘Essai sur l‘oeconomie‖ by Pierre Calame, published at Editions Charles-Léopold Mayer in 2009. Translated from French by Michael C. Behrent.

Chapter 2. Globalization in Question

1. “Pro” vs. “Anti” Globalization: The New Divide

For a number of years, the question of economic globalization—i.e., the interdependence of national systems of production and exchange and the ―financialization‖ of the world (revealed by the American subprime crisis in 2007)—has polarized public opinion. The problems stemming from economic globalization dominate the news: the outsourcing production in search of cheaper labor costs; the decreasing efficiency of national juridical and fiscal regulation; the waning of the very idea of sovereignty; the growing constraints within which politicians can act; the emergence of a small class of the immensely rich alongside the billions of poor; the rise of new financial actors—pension funds, hedge funds, and sovereign wealth funds—capable of destabilizing or seizing control of entire realms of the economy; and the emergence of China and India as new global economic actors, as their companies storm the industrial bastions of the United States and Europe. Should one be for or against globalization? Can we turn our backs on globalization, and return to national or regional systems of production and exchange that are autonomous, even autarkic? Is the large cosmopolitan corporation the new leviathan—a monster that must be slain—or a force for human progress? It is tempting to reduce the debate over the economy of the twenty-first century to a simple alternative: being for or against globalization. Yet in my view, this would be a mistake. The growing interdependence of human society and our planet is irreversible, as is the

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