Tuesday, May 24, 2005

What Could Bring Globalization Down?

Niall Ferguson from the Harvard Business School parallels the "present globalization" with the first one ninety years ago and suggests that this could be a "sinking globalization" as the first one.

I am an historian who has long been preoccupied by the similarities between our own time and the pre-1914 period. That the years 1880–1914 were the "first age of globalization" is now quite a widely accepted idea among economic historians. The data on trade, capital flows, and migration certainly bear that out.

I don't say it's impending. I just say it's possible. Like the outbreak of the First World War, a crisis of globalization today is a low-probability worst-case scenario. The key causes of the 1914 crisis were:
  1. The overstretch of the hegemonic empire (Britain).
  2. The escalation of rivalry between great powers (Britain and Germany in
    particular, but also Germany and Russia).
  3. The destabilization of the alliance system (unreliability of Austria in
    German eyes, of Britain in French eyes).
  4. The existence of a rogue regime sponsoring terror (Serbia).
  5. The rise of a revolutionary organization hostile to global capitalism
    (Bolshevism).
To see my point, just change the words in parenthesis to:


(the United States)
(the United States and China)
(unreliability of
the Europeans in American eyes, unreliability of the Americans in Japanese,
South Korean, and Taiwanese eyes)
(Syria, Iran, etc.)
(Al Qaeda)

It would be a very good idea if the United States were to act now to avert the danger of a clash with China over the future of Taiwan. There is a real danger that Taiwan could be what Belgium was in 1914: the small state over which two great powers went to war without either quite meaning to.

5 Comments:

Blogger guytiger said...

As for a China-U.S. war, the more high tech weapontry that the Chinese seem to be able to pick up around the world the better chance someone will lite a fuse.

27 May, 2005 12:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find your blog to be very provocative... I will encourage others to visit it.

27 May, 2005 21:28  
Blogger Hidalgo said...

Ferguson is an imperialistic historian with the same agenda that Rhodes had a century ago, namely, to continue the Anglo Empire through the hands of the U.S. It is one of the most eurocentric scholars alive today. That he writes well and knows what the public wants to read makes him a popular historian; not necessarily the best.

05 June, 2005 04:24  
Blogger thegreatdo said...

1-Never listen to an historian discussing economics.
2-Historians master the art of making historic parallels and, like their sociologists counterpart, their stories always end up bad. They are the modern-day catastrophists.
I'd be very curious (and honored) to hear your comments on some of the posts on my blog. You might find it interesting.

06 June, 2005 14:38  
Blogger Wadard said...

A parrallel worth keeping an eye on.

07 June, 2005 23:44  

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