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Education Research, Change and Reform

Zygmunt Bauman, Michael Weinstein, Nicholas Sun-keung Pang

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Education Research, Change and Reform

Zygmunt Bauman, Michael Weinstein, Nicholas Sun-keung Pang

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From the streets of Seattle to corporate boardrooms to new factories in third-world nations, globalization is subject to very different and often explosively divergent interpretations. Where some see globalization as driving poor countries into further poverty, others see it as the path to economic salvation and democratic rule. With original contributions from ten eminent economists, Globalization: What's New cuts through the confusion and rhetoric to offer straightforward, incisive analysis of globalization and its future.

Coming from some of globalization's most prominent supporters (David Dollar), its most vocal critics (Joseph Stiglitz), and those in-between, this collection presents diverse and original perspectives on globalization's immense reach that dig to the core of many debates. The contributors analyze recent trends in trade, immigration, and capital flows; why some poor countries have grown while others have stagnated during the past two decades; future opportunities for low-wage workers; globalization's impact on jobs and wages in poor countries and in the United States; the surprising environmental benefits of globalization; the degree to which foreign aid helps developing countries; the failures of international institutions in governing the global economy and supporting democracy; and how foreign loans and investments can wreak havoc on a nation's economy.

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GLOBALIZATION IS a slippery term that lends itself to abuse. Pundits argue about its consequences in part because they make up its meaning to suit their needs. For some, the spectacular economic growth of China and India proves that globalization works to cure poverty. For others, China and India have grown precisely because they’ve chosen policies that spit in the face of West-prescribed globalization. This volume’s primary mission is to create received wisdom—an agreed upon base of information.
To achieve that goal, I asked the country’s leading authorities to answer the same question: What’s New? They take their best shot at addressing what an interested layperson needs to know to understand current international economic relationships. The guts of this volume lie in the early chapters. They rivet on the facts, describing the world that is—what’s new in trade, capital flows, and immigration. The goal is to illuminate, not proselytize. Later chapters delve deeper into cause-and-effect: for example, David Dollar’s fact-filled chapter traces the impact of globalization on poverty and living standards in poor countries as well as in the United States. The final chapters devote more attention to policy options and issues of global governance.
The authors are economists living in the United States. Restricting attention to the United States might seem oddly narrow for a book about global matters. I hope you find that the loss of generality is more than offset by what’s gained in focus. Narrowing the authors to economists meant that some issues get short shrift. Take the issue of culture. Critics of globalization, especially protesters marching in the streets of Seattle and Davos during recent trade convocations, hold globalization responsible for trampling indigenous culture. France works to protect French filmmakers. Canada seeks protection for home-grown magazines. Is this an important issue? You bet. Yet no chapter devotes much attention to the matter, in part because economists have so far provided few concrete insights into the matter. Jagdish Bhagwati, a colleague at the Council on Foreign Relations, has written a new book that seeks to remedy that oversight. This volume also skips over issues of democracy. Here too, the Council on Foreign Relations seeks to plug the gap by issuing a volume, by Morton H. Halperin, Joseph T. Siegle, and myself, tracing the relationship of democracy to development. Because the volume focuses on what’s new and not on shopworn debates, many policy issues (for example, should industrialized countries block imports from countries with “lax” labor standards) are mostly overlooked. And though every economic voice could not be captured in a single volume, the authors range from globalization’s most fact-based cheerleader (David Dollar) to its most influential critic (Joseph E. Stiglitz)—with many other authors in between (Jeffrey D. Sachs and Dani Rodrik).
I’m four paragraphs into the introduction about globalization and I’ve yet to define the term. And I won’t. I’ve left that task to each author to define the term as befits the subject. In general, globalization refers to a process—an evolution of closer economic integration by way of increased trade, foreign investment, and immigration. To others, like Joseph E. Stiglitz in this volume, the term also refers to government and institutional policy. I doubt the reader will choke over the lack of a common definition, because all authors agree on the basics.
They agree, for example, that globalization isn’t new. Trade, capital flows, and immigration flourished in the years before World War I, but globalization collapsed between the world wars, and recovered only slowly thereafter. Indeed, it was not until the 1980s that capital flows would return to levels that prevailed prior to World War I. But over the past 20 years or so, economic integration has soared. Trade, measured in relation to world income, has nearly doubled to 18 percent from 10 percent at the dawn of World War I. At the same time, capital flows as a percentage of world income has soared to nearly 20 percent from under 10 percent during the early part of the twentieth century. Nearly 10 percent of the world’s population has migrated from one country to another.
The authors also agree that the shape of globalization has changed dramatically over the past 15 or 20 years. The late nineteenth-century version of globalization was a rich nation’s play toy. Poor countries mostly hid behind high tariff walls and other barriers. But since about 1980, poor countries, led first by China, have opened their borders, dismantling layers of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers. India, Mexico, Thailand, and others followed China’s lead. Some countries opened up because of plummeting transportation costs, which made trade feasible. Others, like China and India opened up because of explicit policy.
With the spread of globalization beyond rich countries has come a massive change in the nature of international economic relations. Twenty-five years ago, poor countries exported minerals and food. Now, they export manufactured products—clothes from Bangladesh, refrigerators from Latin America, music devices from Asia. The Third World has emerged as a serious manufacturing competitor to the Western industrialized powers. The authors point to the important development of production networks—where production plants for, say, automobiles do little more than assemble parts made around the globe. But what comes across in the chapters is the subtlety of globalization. Few simple generalities hold sway. Most economists agree that trade promotes growth in exporting and importing countries, but they are not as sure about capital flows—which do good and bad. Immigration holds enormous promise to help rich and poor countries alike, but also poses immense political difficulties. Everyone wants to reap the benefits of globalized markets, preserve local rules and regulations, and foster democratic control over policy. But, as several authors point out, such three-way goals are mutually impossible. Indeed, three authors in this volume present impossible “trinities” or “trilemmas”—a veritable trifecta of trilemmas—whereby they demonstrate the logical impossibility of achieving unfettered international cooperation while preserving complete control over internal economic rules and regulations. Compromises are necessary, leaving important grounds for policy debate.
The first three chapters go to the heart of “what’s new,” with a “just give me the facts” approach. They tackle the three key ingredients of international economic relationship: goods, capital, and labor. Douglas A. Irwin of Dartmouth College identifies the important changes in the trade patterns. Charles W. Calomiris of Columbia does the same for capital flows and George J. Borjas of Harvard discusses cross-border movements of people. The next several chapters engage the reader in analysis—what’s been the impact of the trends documented in the first three chapters. David Dollar traces the impact of globalization on wage and inequality in poor countries and the United States. Jeffrey A. Frankel analyzes the impact on the environment. William Easterly turns the question around, analyzing the impact of foreign aid on development and globalization. Jeffrey D. Sachs puts the power of policy in perspective, identifying overpowering factors that largely determine the fate of many poor economies no matter what policies are pulled from the economist’s playbook. Finally, Dani Rodrik and Joseph E. Stiglitz turn to issues of global governance—what happens when global markets burgeon but global governance remains inchoate.
Below I summarize the major findings of each author, leaving the rich morsels to a close reading of the chapters.
Douglas A. Irwin tackles trade, which is the least controversial component of globalization; economists generally agree that trade promotes growth for exporters and importers. As documented in the volume, no society that closed itself off to trade managed to generate higher living standards over the last several decades of the twentieth century. Not one.
But the trade-leads-to-growth story is old. What’s new? First, says, Irwin, there’s shear volume. Over the past 20 years, production around the world rose by about 30 percent. But trade goods and services rose 80 percent. Increased trade brought specialization, lower production costs and, therefore, higher living standards. In recent years, shriveling costs of acquiring information have created opportunities for trade. New Yorkers can find out about the features of a product made in India as easily as they can find out about a product made across town.
Second, composition. Service-sector exports have soared as agriculture and mining exports have shrunk. These trends reflect in part the fact that as people grow richer they consume less food and more services. In the United States, services now account for about two-thirds of production and about a half of all trade. But there’s also been something new and important over the recent past that’s altered the worldwide landscape of production and trade. Technological change and precipitous reduction in transportation costs have focused manufacturers on vertical specialization and outsourcing. A typical automobile plant, for example, produces less than 40 percent of the components of each car on site. The majority of these components are built in specialized plants around the world, leaving the plant to do little more than assemble parts. For typical products in the modern world, specialized components are produced in high-wage countries and then sent to low-wage countries for assembly. In that way, the new world of specialization has reconfigured economic production in rich and poor countries alike. It has also cut prices, as production gravitates to the low-cost centers. Swapping components back and forth until assembly into final products distorts the public’s perception of the importance of trade. Almost 60 percent of the recorded value of U.S. imports from Mexico consists of components manufactured in the United States. In other words, American is importing mostly from itself.
Technological change, including the growth of the Internet, has reshaped trade another way—boosting trade in services by making previously non-tradable services now tradable. Computer programs can be written in India and shipped to the United States instantly at very little cost. Radiological services can be outsourced to foreign medical centers.
Irwin notes the birth of the World Trade Organization in 1995. It not only oversees agreements governing trade in goods, but also trade in services, investment and intellectual property. Compared to its predecessor, the WTO also provides a more muscular mechanism for resolving trade disputes—a key to keeping trading lanes unfettered. The dispute-resolution system has already handled a series of controversial issues—including the European Union’s ban on hormone-treated beef, a dispute that hinges on the conformity of domestic health regulations with international trade rules that say such regulations need a scientific basis.
Irwin disposes of the public perception that trade creates or destroys jobs. In recent decades, central banks around the world have come to assume responsibility for controlling economic performance, in effect attempting to keep economies near full employment despite the ups and downs of trade flows. Trade, then, does not much affect how many jobs exist but does determine where they exist—whether in the corn fields of Iowa or the aircraft factories in Washington.
Irwin points to important recent changes in regional trade balances. Asia accounts for more of the world’s trade; Africa and the Middle East account for less. China’s share of world exports shot to 4 percent in 2000 from under 1 percent in 1980. Reversing three centuries of practice, the United States traded more across the Pacific Ocean by the mid 1990s than it traded across the Atlantic Ocean.
Irwin makes the interesting point that in some respects trade has become less important of late. Sectors where trade matters most—manufacturing, agriculture, mining—are shrinking as a percentage of total economic activity. And sectors where trade matters least—health care and other service sectors—are growing. So trade-dependent sectors are shrinking. But, as noted above, trade accounts for an increasing percentage of economic activity. How are those two trends simultaneously possible? Irwin points out that sectors dependent on trade, like automobile manufacturing, are becoming increasingly, and massively, dependent on trade even as the entire sector falls in size relative to the overall economy. For example, the fraction of manufactured goods in the United States that is exported rose to 40 percent in 2000 from 15 percent in 1970.
Charles W. Calomiris addresses the second component leg of globalization, the movement of capital flows to emerging markets—economies whose governments have adopted policies of privatization, trade liberalization, and deregulation. Here the economics profession is raucously split. On one side are those that argue economies big and small ought to open themselves up to foreign capital. Others preach caution. This is an age-old debate. What’s new is the actual dynamics of modern capital markets, requiring fresh thinking about policy.
Calomiris first cites evidence on recent capital flows. He shows that international capital flows were high and rising prior to World War I, fell dramatically thereafter, and reached the previous high levels only in recent years. But the form of capital flows changed along with the volume. Prior to World War I, capital flows, dominated by Great Britain’s supply, mostly went from developed to developing countries and increasingly took the form of loans to private-sector borrowers. But after World War II, capital was supplied by a larger and more diverse group of nations, and it consisted of equity and direct investment, as well as bond issues. Pointing to shrunken differences in interest rates among countries, Calomiris concludes that international capital markets grew much more integrated over the past 40 or so years. He points to another important trend of the past several decades—the increasing willingness of foreign investors to send capital to low-income countries. As recently as the 1970s, more capital left these countries than came in. By the 1980s, the so-called developing countries began to attract capital and by the early 1990s absorbed large amounts of capital.
Direct foreign investment increased eightfold during the 1990s, bringing modern technology and skilled personnel to poor countries. Foreign investors in banking and other sectors also injected competition into otherwise protected markets. But, Calomiris concedes, some studies of the period find that the foreign capital packed little economic wallop in emerging markets. Weighing all the evidence from recent years, he finds that foreign direct investment boosts emerging markets but other types of capital flows, namely loans, pose serious short-term risks.
The source of much of that risk is currency depreciation. In an oft-repeated cycle, giddy lenders first pour money into an emerging market, then turn skittish—fleeing at the first sign of economic or financial distress. Their desperate attempt to convert local assets into dollars drives the value of the local currency down. But the depreciation of the local currency triggers a destructive wave of bankruptcies. Domestic borrowers—including, ominously, domestic banks—scramble to come up with more local currency to repay their dollar-denominated foreign loans. This chain of events has come to be known as the “twin crises”—capital flows out of countries in financial trouble, like Indonesia, Russia, and Argentina, leading to a collapse of the country’s exchange rate and its banking system.
Calomiris’s major point is that “twin crises” are new. Take the decades prior to World War I, an earlier period of globalization. In those years, foreign capital flowed into countries under financial stress, mitigating financial crises. Why the difference? Calomiris’s answer: the gold standard—the commitment to a fixed valued of domestic currency, defined in terms of gold, and the ironclad commitment to set the nation’s money supply to whatever level is needed to keep the value of the currency at the pre-set level. When financial crisis struck, driving the value of the local currency down, foreign capital would rush in, betting that currency values would return to traditional levels. In the bygone era, foreign capital mitigated pressure on interest rates and exchange rates because investors knew that fluctuations would be temporary. Compare that to the modern world, where capital takes flight at the flimsiest signs of financial trouble, toppling countries like bowling pins.
Calomiris thereby offers a startlingly pointed story about what’s new in the world economy. He then turns to the debate over the role of short-term capital in modern financial crises. He notes that countries that rely on short-term capital flows—Mexico and East Asia in the 1990s—fall prey to financial crisis. That fact invites the presumption that short-term borrowing is the root of all financial evil: foreign investors panic at the slightest whiff of problem because no one wants to be last in line for a country’s meager dollar reserves. Even good economies can be brought down by creditor panic. Here’s the basis for having an intermediary like the International Monetary Fund coordinate withdrawals of foreign creditors, removing the urge by any one of them to flea before the others. But Calomiris offer an equally plausible alternative story. When crisis looms, for whatever reason, countries attract only those investors willing to make a short-term bet at very high promised rates of return. In this version of the story, short-term borrowing serves as a symptom of problems, not their cause.
Calomiris tries to resolve this debate by, again, turning to history. He returns to the observation that twin crises were rare before World War I—even though capital flowed freely across borders, economic shocks were prevalent and currency rates were fixed. So, he concludes, the modern instability cannot be traced to capital mobility, fixed exchange rates or economic shocks. The source of the problem must lie with something new to modern markets. His candidates? He focuses on rejection of fixed exchange rates and the role of government institutions, namely the International Monetary Fund, in bailing out creditors. For him, explicit and implicit government-provided subsidies drive capital to crisis-prone countries, driving their debt burdens to imprudent levels. Capital flows in the modern world do cause financial ship wrecks because poor countries follow bad policies and international financial institutions reward bad behavior.
Calomiris concludes that financial instability is not inherent to global capital markets. Indeed, in bygone eras, capital flows mitigated economic crises. And though he recognizes the case for limiting the most crisis-prone component of twin crises—short-term loans denominated in foreign currencies, especially those going to domestic banks—he points out that such control often do not work and often invite corruption. Citing Latin America in 1980s, countries that imposed capital controls performed no better than countries that rejected controls.
George J. Borjas tackles the third, and last, component of immigration. It might not seem to be a natural fit for an examination of g...

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Citation styles for Globalization

APA 6 Citation

Bauman, Z. (2005). Globalization ([edition unavailable]). Columbia University Press. Retrieved from (Original work published 2005)

Chicago Citation

Bauman, Zygmunt. (2005) 2005. Globalization. [Edition unavailable]. Columbia University Press.

Harvard Citation

Bauman, Z. (2005) Globalization. [edition unavailable]. Columbia University Press. Available at: (Accessed: 14 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Bauman, Zygmunt. Globalization. [edition unavailable]. Columbia University Press, 2005. Web. 14 Oct. 2022.