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The Collapse of Globalism: And the Reinvention of the World Hardcover – September 22, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover; 1ST edition (September 22, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585676292
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585676293
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,477,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"The monolithic ideology of economic truisms is fading away," writes Saul in this ominously titled elegy to globalism, an equally revered and reviled economic philosophy in which world markets would supplant nation-states. At least that was the plan thirty years ago. Throughout the book, Saul shows how the plan has failed-even as it succeeded-by increasing GDP or individual wealth in some countries while allowing the paralyzing accumulation of debt in the third world. In the meantime, economies have artificially inflated and imploded, much like the belief that technology, business and communications could overcome cultural differences or the emergent flexing of nationalism that has resulted from the end of the cold war. The author also faults a system where multinational corporations attempt to replace government infrastructure and "overly complex" management is mistaken for leadership. A thoughtful and intellectually rigorous study of globalism's rise and, if Saul is correct, imminent fall, the book carries a foreboding tone throughout. Yet, Saul asserts, the economic future may be brighter now that "the idea of choice is back," itself a result of what he deems "positive nationalism." Needless to say, Saul will have no fans among the tax cutters and free trade proselytizers, but his salient analysis is as accessible and relevant to the small shop owner as it is to the CEO of a multinational corporation.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher

An incisive and compelling consideration of the rebirth of nationalism after the demise of globalization, by a renowned economist and philosopher.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on November 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"Gimmie that old time religion" ran the gospel classic. Since the early 1970s, says Saul, a new religion has emerged, displacing existing dogmas. It's called "Globalism". Globalism lacks a deity, but provides us with a fresh dogma - "borderless commerce". The ranks of its apostles view the world through a "prism of economics". The new liturgy claims that open, unfettered world "trade" will overcome restrictive government policies, grant peace, freedom, prosperity and will last forever. It will redeem the world of its ills by considering issues through this restrictive prism. It sees humanity as driven solely by economic self-interest. It applies that view to business, government and society in general. It is Mammon in all his finery and power.

Saul's sprightly prose leads us through a chronology of the rise of Globalism, citing some of its most profound proponents along the way. He describes the methods used in creating the "global market". The prophets are known to all who took Economics 101 - Milton Friedman, Samuel Brittain and Robert Norvick. Globalism's converts, following their initiation, tended to remain out of sight, however. Saul notes the irony of an "open" system doing so much so quietly and with so little fanfare. Part of the reason for this covert manner was that avoiding publicity was important to its advocates. While quietly lobbying for "deregulation" or arranging multi-billion dollar mergers, the Globalists operated away from public scrutiny. Knowing the general populace would bear the brunt of paying for their dealings, keeping people ignorant of the impact was important. "Smooth waters and continuity" was the theme of those who avoided confronting reality. No dissent meant acceptance. Saul sees this approach as "management" of problems, not realistic leadership.
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56 of 58 people found the following review helpful By sean s. on May 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Collapse of Globalism is a book-length version of an article John Ralston Saul first published in the March 2004 edition of Harper's magazine. Despite its sensationalistic title, the actual hypothesis and conclusions of the book are more nuanced and even anti-climactic.
Saul begins by explaining that what he means by Globalism is limited to an economic ideology and article of faith, often consisting of received ideas with little scientific basis, shoved down our throats by think tanks with corporate agendas and subservient media. The high priests of this ideology are to be found at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the ultimate love-in between governments and multinational corporations. Saul comments acidly that "Just as classic plays with kings, virgins, love and betrayal must have their fool, so Globalization had Davos."
In terms of actual economic events, Saul dates the inception of Globalism to August 15, 1971, when Washington decided to destroy the Bretton Woods monetary system, allowing the American dollar to float without fixed exchange rates. He charts Globalism's mixed record since that date.
As for its alleged successes, Saul convincingly makes the point that India and China, the most frequent poster children for Globalism, in fact owe their economic success to NOT following the prescriptions of Davos, but rather by consistently pursuing their own highly nationalistic points of view. This is why in 1997 China and India were not part of the Asian meltdown suffered by those countries which had more devotedly followed the Word.
The strength of Saul's book is that by giving a historical review of the ideology of Globalism, he demonstrates just how contingent, fallible and mythological it is.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Steve Tyler on October 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The book illustrates not so much the failure of globalism but the failure of modern economics which though not even at the level of a science has become almost a relgion. His biggest contribution on globalism is telling the biggest secret in the world today: That democracy, free trade, unregulated markets and the economic ideology of the west are not necessary for economic prosperity. He shows for example that in spite of China doing everything "wrong" according the models of modern economics, they are wildly successful. China prospers with exchange rates pegged to favor exports, a lack of political freedom, pays no attention to intellectual property rights and has heavyweight state planning and regulation.

In the west, he shows how deregulation of certain industries has rather than creating competition lead to the exact opposite. That rather than competition, the result is inevitably oligopoly or monopoly and division of markets. The only fact he misses on the subject is that the large corporations usually in reality have negative economies of scale operationally and that their competitive advange is based on negotiating discounts from suppliers (based on their volume) which are subsidized by their smaller competitors.

Where the book falls down is in offering solutions. Saul is too stuck in the past in that regard. But even with his limitations he is the most insightful and honest writer out there on these subjects.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Matt Kern on October 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This book documents "globalism" and its end. Note the ISM. This is not about global trade or global economics but rather about the ISM that commands that these are inevitable and must take priority over national security, quality of life, job security, law and order.

For 30 years academicians have worked to undermine countries, including the USA itself, by demanding that such countries are obsolete. As an American, I note that we are a country of laws and these folks worked to undermine law. They worked to undermine democracy and choice. They worked to convert the world to a single unelected government run by corporate cronies. This is globalism.

Most have never heard of it. Many will not believe it. Yet this is no conspiracy theory or work of fiction. This treason drove our politicians over the past decades thus producing in large part the ineffectual incompetencies of our leadership in that period. It also drove the widespread attacks on the middle class and our quality of life.

The story is magnificent. The book documents a wide range of little known fact and links them into the rise of neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism.

I find the author's writing a bit forced, a bit ponderous, but the material is worth getting past his quirks. Some bit of save-the-world ideology is also included, but must be in these kinds of treatise.

Buy it, read it, and then understand why your congressman and senator have sold you out, turned their back on Democracy, and become slaves to corporate corruption. Understand WHY AMERICA WENT WRONG.
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