Review of 'Migration and the Welfare State: Why is America Different from Europe?'
5 Pages Posted: 27 Dec 2016
Date Written: October 1, 2016
In summarizing the political economy of the decade following the Great Recession of 2007–08, one could do worse than Joseph Stigliz’s phrase “Globalization and its Discontents” (Stiglitz, 2003). We live in a world of increasing international openness to trade, capital flows, and even migration. Advances in information technology have facilitated nearly costless communication and cheap travel across borders. By some measures, this degree of openness is unprecedented in human history. By others, it is matched only by the previous round of globalization at the turn of the 20th century. Knowing how the previous round of globalization ended, we ignore political economy and geopolitical considerations at our peril. The previous golden age of globalization bred Communism, Fascism and two world wars. The current round of globalization has led to discontent whose consequences are too early to judge. Globalization has left a portion of the population behind, leading to political movements ranging from Donald Trump’s calls to build a wall along the US-Mexico border on the right to protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership on the left wing of the Democratic Party. In Europe, Britain has turned against half a century of European integration with “Brexit”. A Communist party now governs Greece and right-wing populist parties have come to power in Eastern Europe, reminding us that liberal democracy is only a recent phenomenon in these countries. The rise of left-wing populists in Spain has led to seemingly intractable political gridlock, while right-wing anti-immigrant parties have been in the ascendance in Scandinavia. It is still unclear whether the Eurozone crisis will lead to further integration, the disintegration of the monetary union, or some combination of the two.
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