Origins and consequences of economic globalization: moving beyond a flawed orthodoxy

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Political Science Department

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Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

European Journal of International Relations

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Contemporary economic globalization is typically seen as a product of both trade and economic liberalization after the Second World War and of technological advances that have made it possible to overcome coordination and management of geographically dispersed production units. Trade liberalization and technological advances were certainly important variables, but I argue that it was neo-protectionist American policies of the early 1980s that provided the initial catalyst for globally networked production processes. American protectionism encouraged Japanese investment in the United States that allowed US car manufacturers to learn the essentials of network manufacturing as practiced by Japanese transplants in the United States. In the next stage of global network manufacturing, liberal trade played a much more pivotal role because the global supply chains could not obviously be maintained without liberal trade. In this paper, I also discuss the likelihood of a reversal and suggest that globalization is unlikely to reversed in a significant way. Liberal trade is essential to the integrity of global supply chain networks, but these new production processes have themselves created a firewall against future systemic protectionism.

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