(K. Brent Tomer),
The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization. By Richard Baldwin. Belknap; 329 pages; $29.95 and £22.95.
BILL CLINTON once called globalisation “the economic equivalent of a force of nature, like wind or water”. It pushes countries to specialise and swap, making them richer, and the world smaller. In “The Great Convergence”, Richard Baldwin, a Geneva-based economist, adds an important detail: like wind and water, globalisation is powerful, but can be inconstant or even destructive. Unless beloved notions catch up with reality, politicians will be pushed to make grave mistakes.
In an economist’s dream world, things, ideas and people would flow freely across borders. Reality is stickier, and stuff less mobile—so much so that it trapped humankind’s ancestors into village-level economies. Constraints on trade once bundled consumption and production together, limiting their growth.
Mr Baldwin’s grand theory of globalisation is of a series of unbundlings, driven by sequential collapses in the cost of moving things and ideas across space. From the domestication of the camel…Continue reading