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Globaloney: Unraveling the Myths of Globalization Hardcover – February 28, 2005
With his customary verve, Michael Veseth has launched a passionate broadside against what he calls the 'myths' of globalization. Not everyone will agree with his unorthodox views; many will be provoked. But this book deserves to reach a wide audience. In a style both witty and easily accessible, Veseth uses familiar elements of popular culture to challenge conventional thinking. Readers will feast on Globaloney. (Benjamin J. Cohen, Louis G. Lancaster Professor of International Political Economy, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Michael Veseth's Globaloney is the perfect down-to-earth primer for undergraduates trying to understand the debate over globalization. By focusing on commodities within every student's reach—baloney, Michael Jordan, and soccer balls—Veseth transparently links abstract global processes to real life. (Herman Schwartz, University of Virginia)
Here's a book to break the spell cast by simplistic economic creeds from both left and right. If you want to make fresh discoveries about the global marketplace, Michael Veseth is your man. Don't let his lively, informal prose style fool you. He has a scientist's keen nose for tracking what's true back to its native lair: that wild thicket of fact where prevailing theory just won't fit. (Howard Cutler, executive producer, Commanding Heights Online--The Battle for the World Economy
This book presents a novel and engaging critical analysis that incorporates insights from political economy into a story that will appeal to a wide readership. (Jarrod Wiener, University of Kent)
Michael Veseth has written an accessible book that focuses on the inherent complexity of globalization. With clear language, gentle wit, and incisive logic, Veseth skewers the simple myths we like to believe about the interconnectedness of the world around us. However, Globaloney is more than just an aid to clear thinking, and complexity is hardly a virtue in its own right. Veseth's real aim is to help us better understand the many and conflicting ways that globalization touches on different societies and individuals. Understanding his argument is a necessary first step in the development of a 21st-century worldview. (Erik Jones, Johns Hopkins University)
Michael Veseth continues his amiable progress through the enchanted, topsy-turvy world of contemporary economic mythology. A real economist with an observant mind, he provides a series of suave and charming tales from his travels through the real world—stories whose subjects range from Adam Smith to Michael Jordan, from soccer to the French, from mediocre mass food to global good wine. Skillfully blended together, these chase away the goblins of globaloney and leave us with a nicer world than we had thought. (David P. Calleo, Johns Hopkins University)
In Globaloney, Michael Veseth achieves a rare combination: he conveys important economic arguments in a vivid and highly entertaining style. For anyone trying to assess the goods and bads of headlong progress toward a global economy, and trying to sort bogus fears from genuine reasons for concern, this book is a great place to start. (James Fallows, national correspondent, The Atlantic Monthly, and author of Breaking the News and Looking at the Sun)
Michael Veseth's imaginative account of the varieties of globalization demands the attention of both scholars and students of the world economy. Through original case studies and deeply informed analyses, Veseth presents a fresh picture of a refreshingly diverse and serendipitous globalization. While the media, activists and policymakers generally paint globalization with a single brush, Veseth draws on a broad palette to puncture popular myths and promotes critical thinking. Globaloney is an important new work that advances our understanding of globalization and its effect on society and culture as well as business and finance. (G. Pascal Zachary, author, The Diversity Advantage: Multicultural Identity in the New World Economy)
Engaging, illuminating, and thought-provoking. (International Review Of Modern Sociology)
Using a term coined by Clare Boothe Luce in 1943 for Vice President Henry Wallace's foreign policy, Veseth critiques today's rhetoric of globalization. He uses case studies and economic concepts to help readers understand globalization's basis in finance and its many complications. Recommended particularly for academic libraries supporting programs in business and economics; libraries should consider purchasing Veseth's previous work as well. Both titles aim to have readers 'think out of the box' when it comes to the concept of globalization. With a valuable extensive bibliography. (Library Journal)
About the Author
Michael Veseth is Michael Veseth is the Robert G. Albertson Professor of International Political Economy at the University of Puget Sound and author of many books that approach national and global issues from innovative and controversial angles, including Selling Globalization and Mountains of Debt, the latter of which was reviewed in The New York Times Book Review and The Economist. Veseth is the founding director of the international political economy program at Puget Sound and an academic advisor to the interactive educational website for the PBS/WGBH series, "Commanding Heights: The Battle for the World Economy." He lives in Tacoma, Washington and lectures widely.
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Mike's eight chapters focus on different case studies that have been used in the past to describe globalization, particularly its negative effects. Each of the chapters is particularly interesting, and chapters 3-8 all stand up by themselves as independent essay that attack current thinking about globalization's effects on countries and individuals. The best two chapters in the book are 4 and 5, about football (not the American kind) and wine.
Mike is obviously the most interested in these two because he did the most work for these, and his work reflects his interest well. He is now working on a full length book on Globalization and wine; I can't wait for that. Mike spends Chapter 3 knocking down the thesis that basketball is an example of globalization, as it has spread out from America, especially since the Dream Team in the Olympics of 1992. Mike argues in Ch3 that basketball was already everywhere across the world from the YMCA spreading it but after 1992, it opened up.
He takes Ch4 to argue that soccer is a much better phenomenon to explain globalization, because it is truly global and penetrating into all forms of life international, well, except the US. It is because it is not a spectator sport in the US that Americans refuse to acknowledge its prevalence and it is truly the most dominant sport.
Mike's chapter about wine is simply fantastic. Basically, he argues that globalization of the wine industry has both created winners and losers. It has drive some companies out of business, but created new industries in places where no one was sure if they could survive. He particularly goes into the development of the New Zealand wine industry and how because they have come to the forefront of the wine stage.
Mike uses all of these different case studies to argue that globalization isn't necessarily a good or a bad thing, it simply is. Globalization does create winners and it does create losers. The losers usually are inferior products that can't compete. But sometimes they are regional products that perhaps have qualities that make them important. He points out that if they do, usually they have defenders that use globalization techniques (market them to new markets) to keep them alive.
In conclusion, (he'll hate me for using that phrase) Mike's book is fantastic if you are looking for great review of globalization and some amazingly interesting facts about both sides of the debate. If you want someone to draw a conclusion for you, well, then you are out of luck getting it from a professor who plays devil's advocate more in class than anything else.
The book doesn't address what in my opinion are the main reasons why globalization is a problem. The truth is that globalization is simply a fantasy based on cheap oil. Globalization is popular because the problems associated with the global production and transport of cheap goods, such as pollution and depletion of resources, are easier to ignore when the problems themselves can be moved across international boundaries. (Who cares if those weird foreigners poison themselves or cut down their own forests?) Sadly, an economy in which ordinary food items and other basic necessities are shipped for thousands of miles between producer and consumer is not an economy with a long-term future. In this context, I think that quibbling over which side of the debate uses the most misleading metaphors and anecdotes is a little silly.
Veseth also seems to accept without question the idea that expansion of an economy is a good thing. Veseth spends much time discussing some of globalization's success stories, such as the New Zealand wine export business. Veseth sounds a note of caution here, as he mentions the overexpansion of New Zealand vineyards--the usual result of a big success in the global market. Veseth doesn't follow this up by questioning whether expansion of global markets is desirable at all. If you read this book, I would recommend pairing it with some others to provide more perspective, such as Daly's "Beyond Growth" and Kunstler's "The Long Emergency".
It can't work.
Since adopting globalization, the USA has lost much of its manufacturing sector along with the decent paying jobs to off-shore suppliers.
But the third world countries have also lost as they are forced to play a game of beggar-thy-neighbor by constantly undercutting one another with lowrer wages and looser environmental protections.
This book explains why so many oppose globalization in steadily increasing numbers.