The first part of Don Quixote was published in , a reason for celebrating years of tilting at windmills. Had Saul read Bhagwati, Stiglitz, Jeffrey Sachs or Anne Krueger more carefully, he would have been more circumspect about the windmill of globalism that he chose. No economist has said globalism is sufficient, though it is necessary. And Saul would have appreciated that a temporary decline in realwagesin developed countries or job insecurity make a case for globalism, instead of being arguments against it.
This cannot be good for any economy," writes Saul. He is a citizen and writer from a developed country. Inevitably, his glasses are tinged with protectionism.
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Hence he bemoans WTO rules that discipline national health and food rules which threaten agricultural livelihood in developed countries. How can globalism be good if garment exports are controlled by five or six countries like China, India and Pakistan?
Incidentally, he does not like intellectual property rights. But that does not prevent copyright on this book from being vested with his company. From an Indian perspective, protectionism characterises developed nations and the book will do well there.
Perhaps Indians should chip in Rs to subsidise a developed-country writer to show that India "makes nonsense of large swathes of globalist received wisdom". Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from. Post your comment. Do You Like This Story? Now share the story Too bad. This argues that there are no more borders, that the nation state has been usurped, and that we are all moving towards being equal on the global stage.
For others it has become increasingly obvious that the nation state has actually staged something of a revival; that nationalism, in both negative and positive forms, has returned; that borders are real and are meaningful, whether they be used for good or for bad; and that we are not all equal in the world, that there is in fact an increasing amount of inequality that has been produced largely by the failure of globalism to live up to its own hype.
Saul draws on examples from many countries to support his case. This includes detailed discussions of New Zealand, Malaysia, India and China, and the variations of globalism, and now nationalism, in each. Although Australia is mentioned a few times, no systematic account of the story of our own global experiment is present in this book. If anything, reading the book from an Australian perspective adds an independent variable against which the argument the book presents can be better assessed.
Sara Dowse, in a recent essay in Meanjin, gives a date to what could very well be the start of globalism in Australia: April , when Milton Friedman visited, preaching what was then known as monetarism. This fits in with the group of events that Saul argues began in the early s and laid the groundwork for globalism. Friedman, of course, won the Nobel Prize for Economics in , which cemented his authority as an economic guru.
Of course, by the time Thatcherism was being played out in Britain, and Reaganomics was taking hold in the United States, we had a succession of Hawke-Keating governments, backed by a partisan Liberal opposition, which set about restructuring our economy along such globalist lines.
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Except that here we called it economic rationalism. And by the mid-to-lates, globalisation was in full swing.
His social policies had a national focus—indigenous affairs, the republic, our geographic closeness to south-east Asia—while his economic policies were based on the implicit assumption that such things no longer matter. Our attention was then redirected to the even bigger picture, away from such nationalist causes. It was a year of triumph, with the creation of the World Trade Organisation.
But it was also the beginning of its collapse. Saul gives some examples: the tequila crisis in Mexico, which saw the complete failure of globalism to produce the promised new Latin America; and James Wolfensohn, and later Maurice Strong, starting at the World Bank, beginning the decade-long battle with its bureaucracy to restructure it to meet the reality of the non-Western world.
Then saw the revival of nationalism, rising out of the cracks that had started to show in globalism. This was the year that the Chechnyan-Russian conflict escalated; that religious-based nationalist political parties flourished in Israel, India and Turkey; that the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.
Scotland created its own national parliament. On the one hand, carried along by the momentum of a crumbling global economic structure, there are the usual ideological articles of faith being played out: the sin of public debt, so government budget surpluses are seen as desirable while private debt soars and public services falter ; the last hurrah for privatisation and the selling off of Telstra; and the introduction of a restructured industrial-relations package.
On the other hand, in spite of globalism, or perhaps because of its imminent collapse, there has been a sharp withdrawal back into our nation state: the closing of our borders and cruel and unusual treatment of asylum seekers; elections won on grounds of introducing a new tax GST or managing the economy on a national level can they really control interest rates?
East Timor is an instructive example: we went there to liberate them from Indonesia, to give them national self-determination, and to secure their oil reserves for our own national interests.
The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World
In a global paradise, both actions would have been superfluous. Other military actions, however, following the US, have been waged unilaterally; that is, nationally, outside of any international or global system. The nation state is the site of modern democracy. Democracy is built upon the legitimacy of an active citizenry.
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When the citizenry is passive or being made passive by the promotion of inevitable forces outside their control—first globalism, and now terrorism—then democracy is weakened. The nation state, then, becomes the site for negative nationalism. According to Saul, we are in a period of transition. The future is open.