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The United States and Globalization

How is the United States dealing with being the face of globalization?

July 28, 2005

How is the United States dealing with being the face of globalization?

For many people around the world, globalization is synonymous with Americanization. This must seem quite ironic to many Americans, who often feel that their own livelihoods are threatened by outsourcing, imports or other aspects of global integration. Our Read My Lips feature explores how Americans have dealt with the globalization challenge.

What is globalization, anyways?

“Globalization is a condition defined by mutually assured dependence.”
(Thomas P.M. Barnett, former professor at the U.S. Naval War College, March 2004)

How does this manifest itself on a daily basis?

“In an age of globalization, we need to recognize that others’ problems are our problems too — and that we do not have all the answers.”
(Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, June 2003)

Does globalization result in the loss of U.S. jobs via outsourcing?

“Although the impact of globalization on American jobs has been over-hyped in the past, its impact in the future will be hard to exaggerate.”
(Stephen S. Cohen, professor of economics at University of California, Berkeley, February 2005)

What should be done about it?

“Displacement that results from globalization can cause serious pain — but protecting lower-skill jobs is not the answer. Nor is putting a hold on new trade agreements.”
(Carla Hills, former U.S. Trade Representative, July 2000)

What is behind sentiments that combine anti-Americanism with anti-globalization rhetoric?

“The attack on American-style globalization may be driven by Luddites and protectionists — but it is fed by a perception of American hypocrisy and the unfairness of the new global regime.”
(Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize laureate in economics, October 2002)

Do people want to see the United States fail?

“Because we are the strongest country in the world, others look to us to falter. Our hubris — the overselling of capitalism American-style — fed their hostility.”
(Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize laureate in economics, October 2003)

Does the U.S. economic model have an image problem in the rest of the world?

“The United States’ ‘pure’ form of capitalism — allowing companies to die and then reallocating capital to more ‘efficient’ organizations — already is creating a perception of U.S. callousness that enhances tensions between the United States and other cultures.”
(Robert L. Hutchings, former National Intelligence Council chairman, January 2004)

Can globalization ultimately help to improve America's image abroad?

“Some of the current anti-Americanism is likely to lessen as globalization takes on more of a non-Western face.”
(Special report by the U.S. National Intelligence Council, December 2004)

Who might be the new villains?

“By 2020, globalization could be equated in the popular mind with a rising Asia, replacing its current association with Americanization.”
(Special report by the U.S. National Intelligence Council, December 2004)

Is there evidence that such a shift may already be underway?

“Globalization fatigue is still very much in evidence in Europe and America — while in places like China and India, you find a great desire for participation in the economic expansion processes.”
(Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist, September 2002)

What promise does globalization hold for the rest of the world?

“Globalization is this country’s gift to history, the most perfectly flawed projection of our nation’s ideals onto the global landscape — all are created equal, and all desire life, liberty and a chance to pursue happiness. In short, ‘we the people’ needs to become ‘we the planet.'”
(Thomas P.M. Barnett, former professor at the U.S. Naval War College, March 2004)

But what does the reality look like?

“If you are totally illiterate and living on $1 a day, the benefits of globalization never come to you.”
(Jimmy Carter, former U.S. President, February 2001)

Is globalization a very humbling phenomenon?

“The consequences of globalization are beyond the powers of any one nation to control — even one as powerful as the United States.”
(Ivo H. Daalder, Brookings Institution, March 2003)

Is globalization to blame for poverty?

“In the developing world, far more people are poor because of too little globalization rather than too much.”
(Larry Summers, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, July 2002)

How does the current U.S. president feel about globalization?

“It makes him uncomfortable. Globalization sounds like the creation of a lot of rules that may restrict the president’s choice — that dilute American influence.”
(Senior U.S. presidential aide, December 2003)

And what is his predecessor's view?

“I respect how the anti-globalization people feel — and I think a lot of their criticisms are valid. But they want to take us back to a time that never was, on a journey that cannot be effective.”
(Bill Clinton, former U.S. president, February 2004)

What is Alan Greenspan's take on how globalization shapes the United States?

“It will likely be the reluctance of foreign country residents to accumulate additional debt and equity claims against U.S. residents that will serve as the restraint on the size of tolerable U.S. imbalances in the global arena.”
(Alan Greenspan, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, November 2003)

What does that mean in plain English?

“Economic globalization and American profligacy have already undermined our economic sovereignty and made us more dependent than we know on those we would dominate.”
(Clyde Prestowitz, president of the Economic Strategy Institute, June 2003)

How has corporate America adapted to globalization?

“When I first joined General Electric, globalization meant training the Americans to be global thinkers.”
(Jeffrey Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, August 2003)

What has been the consequence of rich countries not giving enough aid to poor countries?

“We have globalization on the cheap. But we pay for it in the many cases of state failure that lead to violence and war.”
(Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, January 2001)

And finally, how best to sum up the role the English-speaking world has played in globalization?

(Niall Ferguson, professor of history at Harvard University, April 2003)