Article from the Independent by economist Stephen King on globalisation and income inequality – seems to be a bit of a “duh” moment, coming as it is, some 7? 8 years? after Steiglitz’s Globalisation and It’s Discontents. Is it really news that “In Britain, there is also a growing sense that globalisation creates both winners and losers”? If they’re only just tuning into that fact, they’re a bit on the slow side. I believe that whole “hey, some folks are losing in this deal” idea was fairly well present from the Seattle riots onwards.

But my little snarky comment aside, it’s still a good article to read about the shortcomings of globalisation, how to make it more “human” and “humane,” how market efficiency on it’s own does not justify any and all outcomes of globalisation, etc…

What I find interesting is the mention of the implications this has for the nation-state itself:

Growing income inequality may not fatally undermine the case for globalisation, but it certainly threatens political support for it. Democracies have tremendous problems dealing with globalisation. It is all too easy to create institutions designed to protect the nation or region from the onslaught of competition from abroad, in the process leaving the world as a whole worse off.

It is no coincidence that the growth of democracies in the late 19th century was associated with the rise of nationalism. While it is absolutely right to give the people the vote, their choices inevitably will be limited mostly to their country’s national interests, with not as much thought given to the interests of people elsewhere.

Over and over in my readings about immigration and globalisation I find the contention that the nation-state is on it’s way out (though this article of course does not go so far as to say that, I merely hints at assertions I see elsewhere). Part of what is fascinating is to think “well, then what?” if a collection of democratic nation-states can’t deal with what most seem to say is inevitable change – the process of globalisation – shouldn’t we thinking a little more seriously about what’s going to take it’s place? Just somethin’ to chew on.

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