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Globalization: The 2006-07 Balance Sheet (Part I)

What did U.S. opinion leaders have to say about globalization in 2006?

January 4, 2007

What did U.S. opinion leaders have to say about globalization in 2006?

In this Read My Lips feature, we present the best and most intriguing thoughts on globalization from U.S. opinion leaders from the ranks of economics, journalism and politics — in the hope that the knowledge and insight gleaned from 2006 will prove a useful guide for 2007.

"No matter what you say, the population hates globalization, not just in the United States, but everywhere in the world."
(Jeffrey R. Immelt, Chairman of the Board and CEO of General Electric, January 2006)

"Billed as the great equalizer between the rich and the poor, globalization has been anything but. An increasingly integrated global economy is facing the strains of widening income disparities — within countries and across countries."
(Stephen S. Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, March 2006)

"Globalization frequently imposes asymmetrical sacrifices. Benefits and costs affect different elements of society differently."
(Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State, March 2006)

"The central and intrusive role of the United States in unleashing the traumatic changes of globalization on families, workplaces and nations everywhere brings unintended consequences."
(Jim Hoagland, Washington Post columnist, March 2006)

"Globalization is a coherent theory for times of comparative peace and economic expansion like the 1990s. It is less persuasive in times of conflict and fear like those we live in today."
(David Rieff, New York Times Magazine contributor, March 2006)

"Janitors and crane operators are probably immune to foreign competition. Accountants and computer programmers are not."
(Alan Blinder, Princeton University economics professor, March 2006)

"American manufacturing can win on the world stage. If we embrace globalization with the spirit of optimism and fierce competitiveness that has made American manufacturing great, we will ensure we can stay on top of the world’s economy for years to come."
(Jim Owens, CEO of Caterpillar, April 2006)

"Up to now, globalization has been the project of business and economic elites who have largely foisted it on a wary or unsuspecting public. Now, from remote villages of China to a gathering spot for day laborers in suburban Virginia, globalization has entered its more democratic phase."
(Steven Pearlstein, Washington Post columnist, July 2006)

"The Panglossian view of globalization — that it would automatically benefit all — has impeded the ability to address its failures."
(Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize winner and economist, September 2006)

"Could there be another great reversal in which globalization retreats and the world suffers political, social and economic upheaval and destruction? The answer is yes."
(Frederic Mishkin, member of the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, October 2006)

"The twin arguments that globalization is inevitable and protectionism is counterproductive have the great virtue of being correct, but do not provide much consolation for the losers."
(Larry Summers, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, October 2006)

"Every honest politician knows that support for globalization is fraying because of rising inequality at home."
(Sebastian Mallaby, Washington Post columnist, October 2006)

"The Victorian variant of globalization collapsed, as did the attempt to restore a laissez-faire international financial system after World War I, because both made it difficult if not impossible for governments to meet the mounting domestic demands for full employment and greater economic equity."
(John Ruggie, Harvard University professor, February 2006)

"Walking the streets of Hanoi, you won’t find a single McDonald’s outlet or a Starbucks. But this isn’t a sign that Vietnam isn’t ready for globalization. It is a reason to be optimistic. They want globalization, but not a KFC on every corner. It isn’t an anti-Western view — just a sense that Vietnam should remain, well, Vietnamese as it opens up to a curious world."
(William Pesek Jr., Bloomberg News columnist, March 2006)

“These are times of globalization. Competition is coming at the United States from different places around the world.”
(U.S. President George W. Bush, May 2006)