Response to reading question

The idea raised by the authors that globalization is not a quantified thing that increases or decreases, but more or less a static condition that was established in the second half of the 19th century is interesting, if somewhat questionable. The authors contend that strategies for dealing with the reality changed, but not the nature of globalization itself. A close examination of the history seems to yield conflicting results: the idea of changing strategies in a globalized world seems like a much better interpretation than the extremely linear approach of insisting that strategies “evolve” and that the Europeans always come up with the next one fist, with the rest of the world trying to catch up. However, technological innovation and population growth have increased individual interconnections, in the sense that it is now possible and even easy for some people to travel between continents in the space of 24 hours and for people thousands of miles apart to communicate effectively with only seconds of delay. In this sense, globalization has ‘increased’ – individual connections are closer globally. One could argue, however, as a counterpoint, that structural interconnections remain the same as always, its just that they are more visible. The working people in industrial Britain who moved to the city as a result of the repeal of the Corn Laws probably didn’t understand the cause of their frustration quite as well as modern American farmers understand, or at least know about, that the tariffs placed on China by the US are what makes their Soybeans unprofitable internationally. However, despite happening more than 100 years apart, they are in more than less the same situation otherwise.

Additionally interesting is the sort of ‘post-national’ argument made by the authors when describing the current situation. I agree with it to some extent – the idea of empire as it existed up until the mid 20th century has become wholly irrelevant today. I think that the primary organizing force of international politics is in fact global capital (to be a bit leftist for a moment) which, as the authors discussed, moves slums and factories around the world in a continuous process of increasing profit efficiency. I think it is worth mentioning that the locations of slums, factories, and other creations of economy are moved from country to country (sweatshops are in Indonesia, consumers are in the US). This is the extent of how far I am willing to except the idea of a post-national world, as otherwise the emotional force of nationalism as an organizational method is clearly extensively popular and growing in popularity worldwide, whereas the much less outwardly defined principle of global capitalism is not. Overall, the authors do raise interesting reinterpretations of conventional wisdom on globalization that I agree with for the most part.