Friday, January 07, 2011

Man Friday post - The First Globalization Debate

Any academic paper that can link globalisation and a riveting read is good by me. Having read the first book last year sometime I admit to not putting the book in the context of globalisation and cannot recall how the book links to the gains from international trade even though I teach this stuff. I now feel that I must reread the book with this new found knowledge.

A great idea for a paper. See what I did with the title of this post?

"The First Globalization Debate"

Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper No. 88

CRAUFURD GOODWIN, Duke University - Department of Economics


Early in the 18th century, before the birth of political economy as a discipline, two of the earliest novels in the English language were published: Robinson Crusoe (1719) by writer and economic entrepreneur Daniel Defoe, and Gulliver’s Travels (1726) by the cleric and political adviser Jonathan Swift. The first was widely perceived as an entertaining adventure story, the latter as a pioneering work of science fiction. Both contain indirect comment on the foreign policy of Britain at the time. When viewed from the perspective of the modern economist, however, the works appear to be expressions of opposing positions on the desirability of a nation pursuing integration within a world economy. Crusoe demonstrated the gains from international trade and colonization and even the attendant social and political benefits. He explores the instinct to trade overseas, stages of growth, and the need for careful cost-benefit calculations. By contrast Swift warned of the complex entanglements that would arise from globalization, especially with foreign leaders who operated from theory and models rather than common sense. He makes a case for economic autarky.


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