The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization

The Great Tradeoff: Confronting Moral Conflicts in the Era of Globalization

by Steven Weisman

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The global financial and economic crisis that began in 2008 has blasted livelihoods, inspired protests, and toppled governments. It has also highlighted the profound moral concerns long surrounding globalization. Did materialist excess, doctrinaire embrace of free trade and capital flows, and indifference to economic injustice contribute to the disaster of the last decade? Was it ethical to bail out banks and governments while innocent people suffered?

In this blend of economics, moral philosophy, history, and politics, Steven R. Weisman argues that the concepts of liberty, justice, virtue, and loyalty help to explain the passionate disagreements spawned by a globally integrated economy.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780881326963
Publisher: Peterson Institute for International Economics
Publication date: 01/15/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 323
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Steven R. Weisman, vice president for publications and communications, joined the Peterson Institute in 2008. He had previously been the chief international economics correspondent of the New York Times as well as a member of its editorial board. His work has appeared in the Times Book Review, Times Magazine, and the paper's news, features, and culture sections since 1968.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 What We Talk about When We Talk about Globalization 1

What Is Globalization? 3

What Is the Great Tradeoff? 8

Moral Absolutes and Pragmatism 14

I The Conflicts of Liberty and Justice

2 Economic Liberty: From Freedom of the Seas to Freedom of Capital 19

Origins of Economic Liberty 20

Free Markets and Liberty in the New World 24

Liberty in Crisis 28

3 The Wolves and the Lambs: "Justice, justice Shalt Thou Pursue" 33

A Short History of Economic Justice 35

The Powerful Appeal of Economic Justice 44

4 Justice for All: Defining and Measuring Inequality 47

Rawls Redux 48

Piketty's Charge: Sorting Through Different Definitions of Economic Justice 49

Measuring Inequality as a Symbol of Economic Injustice 56

The Bottom Line? 64

II The Conflicts over Instilling Virtue

5 The Hazards of Moral Hazard 69

The European Fallout of the Global Financial Crisis 70

Is Virtue Essential to Capitalism-or Antithetical to It? 73

6 Government and Just Deserts: A Brief US History 81

The Early Days 82

From Virtue to Charity: The Deserving and Undeserving Poor 86

7 Bubbles, Panics, Crashes, and Bailouts: Moral Hazard in the Marketplace 95

"By Every Possible Means" versus "Purging the Rottenness Out of the System" 96

Debt as a Morality Play: A Brief History 103

8 Who's Afraid of Debt? Debt as a Public Policy Tool 109

The Keynesian Revolution 110

Debt Morality Tale: How the East Asian Crisis Raised Doubts about Rescues 114

Must Virtue Be Its Own Reward? 120

III The Conflicts over Loyalty

9 The Moral Imperative of Loyalty 125

Three Categories of Loyalty 126

Who Is a Communitarian? The "Mystic Chords of Memory" 130

Who Is a Cosmopolitan? "I Am a Citizen of the World" 137

10 Grappling with the Communitarian-Cosmopolitan Tradeoff 143

Offshoring and Reshoring 144

Trade and Globalization: Lifting All Boats or Only Yachts? 146

Case Study of Loyalty: Divided over NAFTA 150

The Continuing Trade Debate 154

11 Loyalties in Conflict: Jobs, Communities, and Multinational Corporations 159

The Special Case of Immigration 162

The Special Case of Multinational Corporations 165

Role of US Consumers? 171

Search for Corporate Tax Havens 173

12 Who Governs? The Role of Liberal Internationalism 177

Mediating Moral Principles in the Era of Globabzanon 178

Enter the NGOs 182

11 Pulling Together the Threads 187

The "Comfortable Beds of Dogma"-Sorting Out Liberty, Justice, Virtue, and Loyalty 190

Notes 193

Bibliography 227

Acknowledgments 247

Index 249


4.1 Economic growth brings millions our of poverty 58

4.2 Globally, the middle class and the superrich gained the most while the upper middle class gained the least between 1988 and 2008 60

7.1 Financial crises create lasting pain: Increase in unemployment rate following precrists peak, selected countries 97

9.1 Trade's share of the US economy is increasing 128

9.2 Global trade has reached new highs 128

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