Home > The Economy > The problem is not globalization, it is selective protectionism

The problem is not globalization, it is selective protectionism

from Dean Baker

In an interesting piece on the decline of the political center, E.J. Dionne wrongly lists globalization as a villain. He tells readers:

“Globalization weakens the ability of moderate governments of both varieties to deliver on their promises. Capital can flee easily to more congenial climes, undercutting a nation’s tax base and its regulatory efforts.”

Globalization should also have the effect of reducing inequality by making it easier to take advantage of lower cost professional services (e.g. physicians services, lawyers’ services, dentists’ services) except that the United States has acted to maintain or even increase barriers to trade in these areas. It should also make it easier to circumvent patent and copyright monopolies that redistribute income upward, except we have consciously pursued policies to strengthen these forms of monopolies to limit the extent to which developing countries might provide vehicles for avoidance (in contrast to tax policy).

Also, governments with their own currency (e.g. the United States, the U.K., and the euro zone collectively) need not be restricted by their tax take in terms of spending, as long as they are below full employment. The decision not to use fiscal policy to bring economies to full employment is due to superstitions, not actual limits imposed by globalization.


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  1. August 19, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I like the words “selective protectionism”. Globalisation is not bad policy but it has been discontented.

  2. mike
    August 19, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    “The problem is not communism. It is selective individualism.”

  3. paul davidson
    August 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Globalization reduces the price of dental services? Really? Should I send my teeth to India to have a cavity filled or a cap put on a tooth? Or send the hold mouth in order to have a tooth implanted??

    Or should I take an airline to India or China every time I need some dental work or even a dental check up?? And what about braces on children’s teeth? Should the children be send to India or China for braces to be installed and then every couple of weeks for adjustment to braces? And children should not travel by themselves over such distances so the whole family (or at least one parent) should but airline tickets, hotel accomodations, etc.

    What a price to pay???

    And as someone who had his first book that was published here in the USA, pirated by some Chinese publisher and sold in China — I can assure you that this prevented me from joining the top 1% from all the royalties I otherwise would have earned –)..

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