Chapter 1. It May Be News, But It Isn't New: A Brief History of Globalization

Globalization has a history, though it is hard to say precisely when it began. The Roman Empire doesn't qualify as global, because despite its enormous expanse and a certain level of economic activity between the parts, most of the world was still outside its boundaries and most production remained local. The British Empire in 1815, after Waterloo, had an even larger footprint, but international trade was insignificant and one of the original purposes of the empire was to give Britain privileged access to its colonies, as both sources of raw material and markets for its goods. However, later in the nineteenth century, Britain led the move to reduce barriers to trade. At the same time, the telegraph, steam transportation, and other technologies shrank the time and the cost of moving information and goods, and people began to migrate in large numbers. Economic and social activity across national boundaries grew in importance and began to attract notice.

In his classic book, The Great Illusion, British writer Norman Angell argue that, due to what we now call globalization, the nation-state had declined as a factor in economic performance. The two great economic forces, capital and labor, had become fully internationalized, cutting across state borders. According to Angell, international finance had "become so independent and interwoven with trade and industry . . . that political and military power can in ...

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