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April 2003 · Historically Speaking 31 product oîlaissezfaire economic policies introduced by a maverick administration that was completely out ofstep with the socialists back home. I would like to call this the exception diat proves the rule. Most remarkably ofall, most Hong Kong residents welcomed the transfer of authority from the British to the communist Chinese government . Nostalgia for the empire seems to be a very one-sided emotion. Nobelfoureate RobertE. Lucas, Jr. is the John Dewey DistinguishedService Professor ofEconomiaat the University ofChicago. He is the authorof'Lectures on Economic Growth (Harvard University Press, 2002). 1 For comparison, during the 18di century world population and production both grew at about 0.33% peryear, and average livingstandards grew not at all. From 1800 to 1950, when die industrial revolution began to transform die lives oflarge numbers ofpeople, population grew at 0.7% and production at 1.4%, implying per capita income growdi of0.7%. Allofdiese figures are taken from Tables 5.1 and 5.2 in my Lectures on Economic Growth (Harvard University Press, 2002). 2 This is Figure 5.3 in myLectures. 3 India could have done worse: Pol Pot studied his economics at the Sorbonne. "Anglobalization": A Conceptual Step Backward Andrew Porter Britain's empire these days is high on the listofplaces forscholarlytourists tovisit. The style ofvisitation, however, is rarelythat ofthe wandering scholar. Academic entrepreneurs career around in the manner ofthe modernjetsetter, equippedwidi a conceptfor all time zones, a laptop for the storage of nuggets, and a48-hourstopoverpermit Niall Ferguson does not entirely escape the hazards ofsuch a position. His conceptis "globalization ," than which it is ofcourse difficult to find onewiderormore all-embracing. His laptop is dedicated to the task ofgenerating graphs and bar charts, dispensing comforting continuities from imperfect or ambiguous contemporarystatistics. And a little more time for reflection might have enabled him to address some ofthe furtherquestions provoked by his interesting paper. Let us take "globalization" as a starter. How is itto be understood, eidierin chronological terms or functionally? His terminologyrefers to "modern globalization," butalso to "the previous era ofglobalization" conventionally dated we are told to the years 1850-1914. This period may also have been "the firstera ofglobalization." His argument, however, also knits the two togetherin a single period and process. Atdifferentpoints in diepaper, globalizationmaybe taken to mean eitherlittle more than the far-flungexistence ofeven limited economic activity involving a major power's (e.g. Britain's) nationals, or an active process ofterritorialintegration into a worldwide market economy. In both cases, "globalization" is apparendya continuingfeature , albeit one, Ferguson argues, in which the phase 1850-1945 was characterized by the equalization ofincomes. The second half ofthe 2Odi century, on the other hand, witnessed mounting economic divergence and inequality. There is a fuzziness here in the handling ofglobalization—whether as concept , descriptive category, or economic process—mat needs to be cleared away. This need for clarity is further indicated by Ferguson's lack ofattention to the possibilitythatglobalization , howeveritis defined, may have had a history stretching back well before 1850. There is much in the historyof the 17th and 18th centuries to support the view that a process ofglobalization was then underway. Doubtless the balance ofpower and wealth among (and so the contribution made by) participating states was different then from thatwhich developed lateron; and "globalization" had perhaps notyet become global in its reach. Itmaybe debatedwhether there was a distinctly "early modern globalization ," or merely an earlier phase ofa single process. It is more important, however, to recognize thatthe prominence ofwar and economic protection or monopolization meant that the characteristics ofthat earlier age were very different from those that Ferguson suggests operated during the Britishdominated phase ofglobalization after 1850. Ifit is accepted that there was an early modern globalization underway well before the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars; that its momentum owed much to war both internationally and on local colonial frontiers; and that the prominent role of Britain in the Caribbean, NorthAmerica, and parts ofAsia means that it too deserves the ghastlyappellation of"Anglobalization," then diis hasimplications forFerguson's portrayal ofthe post-1850 period. From then on Ferguson seems to allow that the global accumulation ofwealthwas promoted onlybyan increasing absence ofrestrainton the movementofpeople (labormigration), the flowof capital (external...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1944-6438
Print ISSN
1941-4188
Pages
pp. 31-32
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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