Globalization and the Poor Periphery before 1950
208 pp., 5 x 8 in, 19 illus.
- Published: August 21, 2009
- Published: March 31, 2006
A leading authority on economic globalization argues that industrialization in the core countries of northwest Europe and its overseas settlements combined with a worldwide revolution in transportation to produce deindustrialization and an antiglobal backlash in industrially lagging poorer countries.
In Globalization and the Poor Periphery before 1950 Jeffrey Williamson examines globalization through the lens of both the economist and the historian, analyzing its economic impact on industrially lagging poor countries in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Williamson argues that industrialization in the core countries of northwest Europe and their overseas settlements, combined with a worldwide revolution in transportation, created an antiglobal backlash in the periphery, the poorer countries of eastern and southern Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
During the "first global century," from about 1820 to 1913, and the antiglobal autarkic interwar period from 1914 to 1940, new methods of transportation integrated world commodity markets and caused a boom in trade between the core and the periphery. Rapid productivity growth, which lowered the price of manufactured goods, led to a soaring demand in the core countries for raw materials supplied by the periphery. When the boom turned into bust, after almost a century and a half, the gap in living standards between the core and the periphery was even wider than it had been at the beginning of the cycle. The periphery, argues Williamson, obeyed the laws of motion of the international economy. Synthesizing and summarizing fifteen years of Williamson's pioneering work on globalization, the book documents these laws of motion in the periphery, assesses their distribution and growth consequences, and examines the response of trade policy in these regions.
Recent research in the new comparative economic history is dramatically changing our understanding of the global economy. Only by looking at the evolution of markets, technology, institutions, and policies in a comparative perspective can we fully comprehend the forces behind the most important economic phenomenon of the last 200 years: the great divergence between the economies of the rich core and the poor periphery. In a pathbreaking book that is essential reading for students of world economic history, Jeffrey Williamson presents a new account of the less developed world from 1820 to 1940 and shows how the two revolutions that enriched the core—industrialization and globalization—also profoundly shaped the course of events on the periphery.
Alan M. Taylor, Professor of Economics and Chancellor's Fellow, University of California, Davis
This highly original volume by a leading economic historian provides an excellent analysis of global trends and the impact of globalization on the periphery until 1950. The questions it raises can provide an attractive research agenda in years to come.
Throughout his career Jeffrey Williamson has always been interested in the 'lessons of history' for economists. Small wonder, then, that his Ohlin Lectures about the impact of an earlier globalization have such a striking immediacy. As always with Williamson, the questions are the big ones. This is an important book with strong resonances for the poor of the 21st-century periphery.
Cormac Ó Gráda, University College Dublin