Three articles from The Atlantic in the 1990s, presenting critiques of globalization

With relevance to the first sessions of this course, here are three articles from the 1990s presenting perspectives critical of globalization, in the The Atlantic Monthly.

(1) “The Voice of Economic Nationalism,” by Eyal Press
Extract: “In part one of The Great Betrayal, Buchanan attempts to show that free trade is turning America into “two nations”: an elite of professionals “prospering beyond their dreams,” and a mass of workers suffering “middle-class anxiety, downsized hopes, and vanished dreams.” The book opens with Buchanan touring Acadia Parish, Louisiana, in the heart of Catholic Cajun country, where a Fruit of the Loom plant recently closed, while the company opened two new factories in Mexico. “Who killed that plant?” Buchanan asks, pointing a finger at “both parties.” To illustrate the need for tariffs, he provides a chart showing that since the early 1970s, as America’s duties on imports have fallen, workers’ average weekly earnings have plummeted, creating an entire nation of Acadias….”

(2) “Jihad vs. McWorld,” by Benjamin R. Barber
Extract: “The tendencies of what I am here calling the forces of Jihad and the forces of McWorld operate with equal strength in opposite directions, the one driven by parochial hatreds, the other by universalizing markets, the one re-creating ancient subnational and ethnic borders from within, the other making national borders porous from without. They have one thing in common: neither offers much hope to citizens looking for practical ways to govern themselves democratically. If the global future is to pit Jihad’s centrifugal whirlwind against McWorld’s centripetal black hole, the outcome is unlikely to be democratic—or so I will argue.”

(3) “How the World Works,” by James Fallows
Extract: “Americans persist in thinking that Adam Smith’s rules for free trade are the only legitimate ones. But today’s fastest-growing economies are using a very different set of rules. Once, we knew them—knew them so well that we played by them, and won. Now we seem to have forgotten.”


About Maximilian C. Forte

I am a professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. My areas of research and teaching interest are centered in Political Anthropology, with a focus on imperialism, neoliberalism and globalization, nationalism, democracy, and the international political economy of knowledge production.
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