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Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Global Capitalism by Jeffry A. In international trade reached unprecedented levels and the world's economies were more open to one another than ever before. Then as now, many people considered globalization to be inevitable and irreversible. Yet the entire edifice collapsed in a few months in Globalization is a choice, not a fact.
It is a result of policy decisions and the politics that shape In international trade reached unprecedented levels and the world's economies were more open to one another than ever before. It is a result of policy decisions and the politics that shape them. Jeffry A. Frieden's insightful history explores the golden age of globalization during the early years of the century, its swift collapse in the crises of , the divisions of the Cold War world, and the turn again toward global integration at the end of the century.
His history is full of character and event, as entertaining as it is enlightening. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 17th by W. Norton Company first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 7. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To ask other readers questions about Global Capitalism , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Oct 31, Szplug rated it really liked it. As dry as the Joshua Tree deserts wherein Gram Parsons poked his orange-juice-heir-self to death, but probably the most informative economic history of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century capitalism—because, really, the global part is but an adjunct of the Big Show—handled in the most even-handed and objective manner that I have yet come across.
Highly recommended, for if you can endure such a sawdust symphony you will come away with an appreciable understanding of the interconnections betwee As dry as the Joshua Tree deserts wherein Gram Parsons poked his orange-juice-heir-self to death, but probably the most informative economic history of late nineteenth- and twentieth-century capitalism—because, really, the global part is but an adjunct of the Big Show—handled in the most even-handed and objective manner that I have yet come across.
Highly recommended, for if you can endure such a sawdust symphony you will come away with an appreciable understanding of the interconnections between and consequences of the various economic permutations that unfolded across the globe during the past one hundred and thirty years—and this really is all inclusive, as the economies of the communist Second and developing Third World countries are taken on as well, stressing their relationship to the degree of internationality of trade in any given period and the evolution of these non-First World economies into their current systems.
The crux of the underpinnings of capitalism is that it is both cyclical and leveling in its commercial aspect while being evolutionarily dynamic in its effect upon societal and cultural norms. At the same time, its ability to harness human labor and technology leads to great spurts and sprints in the development of efficiency, productivity, and innovation while simultaneously requiring the dramatic alteration of habitational patterns in order to accommodate themselves to the needs of the capitalist economy—and such works a transformational meme upon human societies that inevitably tend to undermine and destabilize existing societal and cultural forms with their concomitant effects upon familial, political, ethical, spiritual, and environmental structures.
It is little to be wondered at, then, that throughout its tumultuous history capitalism has been viewed with active hostility by a considerable number of those who have lived within, or observed from afar, its transformational immanency; whilst simultaneously evoking tremendous support and enthusiasm from those whose material well-being has been increased beyond compare, ranging from the industrial and financial kingpins atop the wealth pyramid down to laborers whose tastes of the fruits of material production assuages a fundamental human desire.
There can be no disputing that the wealth and developmental levels of the Western World are inconceivable without capitalism—it is also inarguable that, for a vast portion of the Sub-Saharan and Central Asian world, the complexities of the capitalist system have been pitiless in their iron application, crushing the masses beneath the weight of extreme poverty and oppression with no way out and only scrapings to survive upon.
The Golden Age of Capitalism serves as point of entry, an era that saw the British laissez-faire , consisting of unregulated industries, uninvolved in theory governments, and a stable monetary component of national currencies fixed to the price of gold, adopted by the trading nations—the majority formerly Mercantilist in form—of the maritime world.
This early period witnessed a massive expansion of international trade with impressive beginnings for the economies of several South American nations, regular boom-and-bust cycles prior to the steadying two decades of growth from , and a majority of the trading nations agreeing to the gold standard.
True to form, the Great War is a crucial part of this story, as it saw a shattering of the global econosphere with virtually the entirety of free-trading nations turning insular and economically isolationist with the concomitant drying up of financial lending.
The postwar boom of the twenties was superficially impressive, but its entirety was erected upon an unstable edifice of United States capital and a patched together postwar gold standard; when the markets went belly-up in , efforts to support the gold dollar savaged internal industries and ballooned unemployment while the last remaining traces of bank lending disappeared.
The gold standard here proved itself the Golden Crucifix of Bryan's condemnatory rhetoric, and the longer a country remained on it and struggled to maintain currency valuations, the more delayed was its recovery from the crash.
Blame for the depression was laid at the feet of international finance, and the turn towards isolationism and walled-off trading blocs became the new norm. One of the best parts of the book is Frieden's tracing of this turning away from international linkages to nationalist autarky—fascist or authoritarian—by most of Southern, Central, and Eastern Europe, and the implementation of such amongst select South American and East Asian imitators, together with the return to strongly protectionist tariff barriers in the Anglo-Trading nations.
When the war ended and the Bretton-Woods system was created, the path was set for a pseudo-international trading bloc of Western nations adhering to a capitalism linked by a gold-backed US dollar, a system that allowed other governments the flexibility of monetary and fiscal controls to deal with slowdowns and rising unemployment whilst simultaneously providing social safety nets and socialist policies to ease the pain of recessionary periods.
Pre- and Postwar communist developments are given their due, and he is superb on the Import Substitution Industrialization ISI conceived by South American economists and implemented vigorously throughout both Latin America and the newly-independent colonies of Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. As the Bretton-Woods system began to break down while the Communist world stagnated and the ISI countries struggled with all of the problems of inefficiency and quality-control of protected industry, a new movement towards re-integrating globalized markets began to gather steam.
With the dramatic impact of massive price hikes in oil and other resource inputs in the mid- and late seventies, the devastating debt load fostered upon ISI countries by currency devaluation and interest rate hikes—and the sudden dissolution of the Warsaw Pact countries communist structure in the late eighties—the final impetus was created and impediments removed to a renewed globalization of trade. The final part of Frieden's book is a frank assessment of the impact of the global market: its stunning success stories, the countries that have used it as a propellant to growth and prosperity and those who have been flattened by its economic engines and left in even worse shape than they were before, all capped-off by a look at the various anti-globalization groups that have arisen around the globe, aimed particularly at the wealthiest of the G8 nations whose extensive investment of and funding for the remainder of the world has fattened their banks on interest profits.
Thus, we have another cyclical movement in capitalism, the competing interests and systems of the international and national formulations. The former works best with stable currencies and low-barriers to the movement of capital, material, and labor; the latter functions best in an environment where industries are protected from cheaper imports and financial markets are stable.
What Bretton-Woods was so successful in maintaining for twenty-five years was traces of the international buttressing implementations of the national; and now, with the energized swing to globalized markets towards the end of the last century, and into the new, we have broad implementations of the internationalist version while the remaining traces of nationalist capitalism are withering away.
This has appreciably raised the prosperity of a wide swathe of Southeast and East Asian, East European, and Latin American countries while confirming the North American and West European nations at the top of the food chain—but so much of this rising wealth has come from the metastasizing of financial markets and the endemic instability, the boom-bust regularity of the Golden Age with all of its inherent creative and destructive potentialities.
We have, of course, seen how this market gigantism has played out from onwards. Frieden, in , accurately assessed the potential, even probability, of a serious financial meltdown—one whose early symptoms had already been identified in earlier panics, manipulations, and crashes—as well as the new bindings placed upon governmental policy by the adoption of pseudo-gold-standard currencies like the Euro. In the face of such wealth destruction and economic instability, Frieden cautioned that a return to nationalist protectionism—including mass-movement driven autarky—was a serious possibility.
The only certainty is that Capitalism is a system that can never stand still and births its own competition from both its successes and its failures—and as it is moving forward, there is always some part of it that is circling outwards to return to where it was. Neither triumphant nor pessimistic at the end, the author simply points out that globalization has been a mixed bag for the world—though his own evaluation portrays its benefits outweighing its burdens—and one with no guarantees of continuation beyond the immediate future.
This book covers a huge amount of economic history, and Frieden's understanding of the relations and operations of these varying economies is impressive, to say the least, as is his way of using brief summations and bypasses from differing heights and angles to burnish the more clearly how important certain subjects under discussion actually are.
Apart from the sere atmospherics of any non-fictional undertaking in which growth rates, material yields, resource allocations, GDP calculations, productivity determinations and currency valuations are constantly being provided and contrasted, the only real flaw in Frieden's lengthy offering is a tendency on the author's part to provide very broad and encompassing statements at the outset of each of the four primary divisions— The Golden Years of to ; Things Fall Apart from ; Together Again in to ; and Globalization from through to the present day—which he then proceeds to somewhat undermine when he follows up upon these broad outlines in greater breadth and depth in the subsequent chapters.
Now, this is all relational subject matter, and there is no doubt that the Golden Age featured a strong adherence to the gold standard and globe-straddling free markets and trade as key elements in the remarkable growth in volume, industry, and wealth amongst the econospheric trading partners in that period—I'm just pointing out the potential for disconnect between grand generalizations and the finer details provided of the latter; and, in any case, these are really the only problems I had with what was otherwise an excellent and quality work of economic history with much relevance for today.
View all 4 comments. Jan 01, Justin Evans rated it really liked it Shelves: history-etc. Great political-economic history of the twentieth century. There are two ways to read this. The blurbs on the back of the book would focus on the 'global' in the title, and try to convince you that this is a book about globalisation. In some ways it is. A much better question is: do we have a stable and just Great political-economic history of the twentieth century.
A much better question is: do we have a stable and just political-economic system? You could make the argument either way from the facts Frieden provides, but the answer eventually would be, no.
But not 'no' the way a Chomsky or Zinn would argue, somewhat knee-jerkly. Instead, 'no' in an informed, reasonable manner: there are too many losers in capitalism, and they are x, y and z. Also, a great read as far as books like this go. It's not a novel, but it's also not a textbook, and it's generally jargon free.
Highly recommended. Second reading: Still good, though a bit shallow when it comes to more recent years, and much more a history of the global economy in the West than in the world as a whole. Mar 08, Linda Munro rated it really liked it. This is not a book I would have chosen to read. It was on the suggested reading list of the World History course I am taking through coursera. It was a rather large book, thick with small print; and, although I got the book from t he library I was truly not looking forward to reading it.
It is so This is not a book I would have chosen to read. It is so strange how the economy of not only the U. Third World countries were not only rooting for North Vietnam because they felt that a tiny backward country that had the gumption to take on a Super Power like the U.
This book only covers to the year , but at that time not only the U. I think that shouts something about the leaders of these countries that led the next ten years, hopefully, people will start opening their eyes and realize that each of these countries which are now suffering with debt seemed to do the exact same thing; lowered taxes, lowered services and spent like they had a bottomless money pot! Nov 10, Alya AlShaibani rated it liked it Shelves: university.
Oct 29, Vivek Kumar rated it really liked it. An informative and tedious read. As the title mentions, the book explains the highs and lows of global integration from the s to Some details have been understandably cut short, others not.
Capitalismo Global by Frieden Jeffry
Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century