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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"The World Awaits its New Keynes"

That's the closing line from this good, brief article on the decline of the Washington Consensus. Harvard prof Dani Rodrik profiles the new and growing cadre of globalization critics: Not street-fighting anarchists, but members of the economic and intellectual elite.

The global economy is in danger of collapse because, he writes:
Unlike national markets, which tend to be supported by domestic regulatory and political institutions, global markets are only "weakly embedded." There is no global anti-trust authority, no global lender of last resort, no global regulator, no global safety nets, and, of course, no global democracy. In other words, global markets suffer from weak governance, and therefore from weak popular legitimacy.
It's always been a paradox of neoliberalism that it has been most thoroughly enacted via military dictatorships (think Chile and Argentina, or China). No functioning democracy has fully embraced neoliberalism for itself, only as something that other people ought to do.

So now that mainstream economists (who until recently championed neoliberal globalization) are worrying about the downsides, we can expect some moves toward re-regulation across the board. But whom will it benefit? For clues, check the new housing bill. Or read this slightly more hopeful analysis.


Tim Lacy said...


Great post. I can't understand how globalization was sold so easily in the U.S., especially in the 1990s. I've never really understood even how small-scale globalization was good for Mexico. It certainly didn't slow the tide of immigrants here seeking work, which I think was one of the original plus points.

But, beyond North America, why haven't people seen that labor and environmental laws are skirted in globalization schemes?

- TL

Tim Lacy said...

When I said "small-scale globalization," I meant NAFTA. - TL

Tim Lacy said...

Last thing: As I read the first article, it occurred to me that a solution already has been thought about and pushed, but never implemented, in history (from the 1920s-late 1940s): world federal government. If we had this we could work through (democratically---hopefully!) a consensus way to regulate international labor laws, etc. - TL

lindamoodbell said...
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