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Globalization and National Economic Welfare makes an original, powerful and timely contribution to a highly topical issue that affects all countries by showing why globalization is unsustainable in the long term without fundamental changes in existing attitudes and institutions. The book analyzes one of the most important aspects of economic policy at the beginning of the twenty-first century: how to overcome the growing threat that inequalities created by globalization pose, both nationally and internationally, to economic progress and political stability. Economic problems, from corporate fraud and bankruptcies to the high social costs of the adjustments that globalization imposes on individual countries, are becoming increasingly international and, consequently, demand action at the supranational level. Yet the effective institutional framework for dealing with these problems remains national. In contrast to the neo-liberal approach, the author argues that the state, as the only form of organization that has the power to reconcile conflicts of interest nationally and internationally, has a critical role to play in ensuring that globalization does not end in failure and war.





1. Globalization: The Meaning, the Claims and the Reality

Few international developments have received as much attention since the closing years of the twentieth century as ‘globalization’. Yet it is clear from the rapidly growing literature on the subject, and the increasingly heated debate which it has stimulated, that there is little agreement about the meaning of the term, even less agreement about the processes that bring globalization about, and no agreement at all about its effects. As a result, the international community appears to be in the middle of major economic, cultural and institutional changes that are imperfectly understood despite the general feeling that their potentially far-reaching consequences deserve special attention.
M. Panić

The Dynamics of Macroeconomic Organization


2. Economic Progress and Organization in Capitalist Economies

As economic processes become more and more specialized and divided, people become increasingly separated, both geographically and in their understanding of each other’s problems, aspirations and skills. It is, therefore, in the very nature of the continuous specialization and segmentation of production and distribution processes that they increase the problem of communication and, thus, the risk of failure. The ability to achieve a particular economic objective depends increasingly on the compatibility and timing of a vast number of seemingly unrelated actions carried out by a large number of people. Yet most of these people frequently have no idea that they are working towards the same goal for the very simple reason that they are not even aware of each other’s existence! To complicate matters further, in the absence of coercion no objective can be attained unless it is, first of all, accepted by those whose participation is essential for its realization.
M. Panić

3. International Economic Integration and the Changing Role of National Governments

Arguments concerning the role of government in economic change have been at the centre of economic debate since the eighteenth century. Yet, if anything, they are probably even further from producing a consensus now than they were more than two hundred years ago when two eminent Scots championed the familiar, diametrically opposed views: Sir James Steuart ([1767] 1966), that the state had a critical role to play in economic development and Adam Smith ([1776] 1976), that the role would be performed much more effectively by markets guided by the invisible hand of self-interest.
M. Panić

4. The Future Role of the State in Eastern Europe

Many people, not least economists, would probably find it difficult at present [1991] to believe that the state has any useful role to play in the economic reconstruction and long-term development of Eastern Europe (including former members of the Soviet Union). After all, is it not the all-pervasive power and incompetence of governments that is responsible for the economic and, in some cases, political disintegration that has taken place in these countries since 1989? The main task facing ‘centrally planned economies’ is, surely, to wrest power from the state, leaving it as little responsibility as possible (see, for instance, Kornai 1990).
M. Panić

The Origins of Globalization: Institutional and Spontaneous


5. Economic Development and Trade Policy

National governments have been under greater pressure to liberalize their trade since the 1970s than ever before. The result, as this chapter shows, has been to break in many cases the long-standing link between economic performance and trade policy that could have important consequences for the existing international economic order.
M. Panić

6. Transnational Corporations and the Nation State

The extraordinary growth of transnational corporations (TNCs) has probably been one of the most important developments in the world economy in the second half of the twentieth century. It is their actions that have been a major factor in linking national economies, especially those from the highly industrialized countries, to such an extent that the linkages are “beginning to give rise to an international production system, organized and managed by transnational corporations” (UNCTC 1992, p. 5). In the pursuit of narrow corporate objectives and strategies, a relatively small number of these enterprises have achieved such a command over global resources, and with it such an impact on the international economy, as to raise serious doubts about the long-term survival of the nation state as a form of political organization.
M. Panić

Globalization, Cooperation and Supranationalism


7. The Aspirations Gap, Interdependence and Global Inflation

It has become something of a platitude to say that sharp, continuous increases in prices are one of the most serious economic problems of our time. Indeed, the problem is so great, we are told, that unless it is brought under control inflation will destroy the very fabric of the ‘Western’, ‘industrial’ or ‘civilized’ society — the exact scale of the ‘destruction’ depending on the author’s capacity (or predilection) for taking a ‘cosmic’ view of such momentous happenings.
M. Panić

8. International Interdependence and the Debt Problem

There is little doubt that the current levels and composition of developing countries’ debts present a serious threat to the survival of the international financial system. Not surprisingly, the possibility of a global financial upheaval has inspired a large and rapidly growing literature covering a wide range of issues. Yet it is far from clear that the debate has been very successful in isolating the real origin of the problem. In the debt drama, as in a detective story, the real culprit is not necessarily one of the main suspects, even though the latter may be guilty of many serious offences.
M. Panić

9. Banking Supervision in Conditions of Deregulation and Globalization

Far from being a new phenomenon, financial crises, which have received so much attention in recent years, have been a regular feature of the international economy every time that the nation states have opened their economies to trade and capital flows with other countries (cf. Kindleberger 1978b, Sprague 1910). What is new about the crises since the 1970s is their frequency and size, both of which have increased markedly over the period. Nor has this been confined to a few countries. The crises have involved banks from industrial, developing and transition economies, and from countries in virtually every part of the world.
M. Panić

10. The Bretton Woods System: Concept and Practice

The first (discouraging) thought that occurs to anyone asked to write about the Bretton Woods System is that there is nothing, no aspect of the subject, that has failed to attract careful and lengthy scrutiny over the last 50 years. The existing literature must be at least as voluminous as that on the Classical Gold Standard; and the number of devotees of the System is probably greater than the one that admired for so long its much-debated nineteenth-century precursor.
M. Panić

11. The End of the Nation State?

It is generally recognized that international economic links are more extensive now than ever before, making it difficult for individual countries to achieve their economic and social objectives in isolation. It is perfectly rational, therefore, to wonder, as an increasing number of people have been doing in recent years, whether the nation state has reached the end of its useful existence.
M. Panić


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