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Back to BasicsState Power in a Contemporary World$
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Martha Finnemore and Judith Goldstein

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199970087

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199970087.001.0001

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Globalization and Welfare: Would a Rational Hegemon Still Prefer Openness?

Globalization and Welfare: Would a Rational Hegemon Still Prefer Openness?

(p.249) 12 Globalization and Welfare: Would a Rational Hegemon Still Prefer Openness?
Back to Basics

Lloyd Gruber

Oxford University Press

Is globalization conducive to long-run economic growth and development? While it would be premature to offer a definitive verdict, the court of economic opinion is clearly in session, and has been for some time. The relationship between market penetration and economic performance was first broached by Adam Smith at the end of the eighteenth century, and economists have been debating it, painstakingly but productively, ever since. But as for globalization’s impact on political growth and development, here the state of research—and, as a result, the state of our knowledge—is much less advanced. This chapter attempts to redress the imbalance. Rather than focus on globalization’s long-term economic consequences, I highlight the political externalities of openness, such as the damaging effects it can have on a country’s domestic redistributive institutions. Many analysts would attribute these negative effects to increased trade-related societal inequality, the kind of inequality that shows up in national Gini statistics. In contrast, I suggest that increased trade-induced spatial inequality is at least as important: the more open is a society’s economy, the more its “haves” will tend to cluster into geographically defined political districts containing few “have-nots,” and vice versa. After laying out this argument, the chapter offers a preliminary assessment of globalization’s long-term demographic effects and finds that, indeed, trade does seem to be encouraging economic segregation. I close by considering—and dismissing—possible objections to the study’s emphasis on spatial segregation, for example, that globalization reduces economic barriers to secession and, in this way, diffuses geographic tensions and the polarized politics that might otherwise accompany them.

Keywords:   globalization, social inequality, international relations, economic growth, economic development

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