Economic Nationalism in a Globalizing World.

Author:Winters, Cecilia Ann
Position:Book review
 
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Economic Nationalism in a Globalizing World, edited by Eric Helleiner and Andreas Pickel. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press. 2005. Paper, ISBN 0385721862, $14.00. 271 pages.

The globalization phenomenon is a hard one to spin into a nutshell. That hasn't stopped smart guys like Francis Fukuyama from proclaiming the "end of history" or Lester Thurow from promising that the global economy will ultimately dissolve our national economies. These hoots of hyperbole have by now become cliches, leading one to think that the more absolutist the less reliable the promulgation. The current volume avoids such self-satisfied manifestos and instead seems to employ an inverted cliche, "the more things stay the same, the more they change." The academic and popular conversation about globalization has become a battleground for competing ideas and ideologies by sporting countless dichotomies and dualistic arguments, so that the rank-and-file smart guys feel compelled to take a side and declare the process must be one thing or another, this or that. A favorite thread of the globalization discussion is that one is either a free trader or a protectionist, with the underlying assumption being that any form of economic nationalism is thinly disguised protectionism and therefore anathema to free trade and the neoliberal imperative. The editors step into the breach for us and try to disabuse readers of the notion that economic nationalism and neoliberalism are mutually exclusive or incompatible.

Neoliberalism is by now familiar to anyone interested in the globalization debate; briefly, it espouses the singular importance of individual liberty while emphasizing the supreme significance of economic growth. Economic nationalism refers to policies guided by the idea of protecting the domestic economy from dangers including but not limited to the ravages of free trade. Such policies include tariffs and other restrictions on free trade that are odious to neoliberals yet might be in the interest of economic growth. The editors explain that economic nationalism is really a complex set of relationships between nation and economy that can indeed include neoliberalism in its various forms and provide not just theory but empirical narratives to demonstrate their point. The volume offers nine such narratives divided into four parts: "Economic Nationalism in the Post-Soviet Context," "Developmental States and Economic Nationalism in East Asia," "Monetary Policy Liberalism...

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