An essential guide to the intractable public debates about the virtues and vices of economic globalization, cutting through the complexity to reveal the fault lines that divide us and the points of agreement that might bring us together.
Globalization has lifted millions out of poverty. Globalization is a weapon the rich use to exploit the poor. Globalization builds bridges across national boundaries. Globalization fuels the populism and great-power competition that is tearing the world apart.
When it comes to the politics of free trade and open borders, the camps are dug in, producing a kaleidoscope of claims and counterclaims, unlikely alliances, and unexpected foes. But what exactly are we fighting about? And how might we approach these issues more productively? Anthea Roberts and Nicolas Lamp cut through the confusion with an indispensable survey of the interests, logics, and ideologies driving these intractable debates, which lie at the heart of so much political dispute and decision making. The authors expertly guide us through six competing narratives about the virtues and vices of globalization: the old establishment view that globalization benefits everyone (win-win), the pessimistic belief that it threatens us all with pandemics and climate change (lose-lose), along with various rival accounts that focus on specific winners and losers, from China to America’s Rust Belt.
Instead of picking sides, Six Faces of Globalization gives all these positions their due, showing how each deploys sophisticated arguments and compelling evidence. Both globalization’s boosters and detractors will come away with their eyes opened. By isolating the fundamental value conflicts―growth versus sustainability, efficiency versus social stability―driving disagreement and showing where rival narratives converge, Roberts and Lamp provide a holistic framework for understanding current debates. In doing so, they showcase a more integrative way of thinking about complex problems.
“ Six Faces of Globalization is a very smart book, and not just for people interested in globalization. The authors manage to help readers understand the many faces of globalization by identifying multiple narratives that fuel different political movements and perspectives of the punditocracy. Ultimately, however, this is a book not just about globalization, but also about the power and importance of narrative: how it is constructed and how it can contribute to a far more nuanced and complex understanding of the forces of change. Highly recommended.” ―Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America
“At a time when many of us have only one view of the world, so much so that we only read the books and watch the media that support our vision, Roberts and Lamp present us with a real challenge: they lay out convincingly and comprehensively many different narratives of globalization and its political and economic effects. The book thus implicitly challenges the narrative that each of us finds most compelling. Like in a movie by Kurosawa, our view of events depends on our position. This book compels us to change our position, move out of our comfort zone, and see the world differently and more broadly.” ―Branko Milanovic, author of Capitalism, Alone
“Anthea Roberts and Nicolas Lamp have written a brilliant and extremely valuable book. They process an enormous amount of information but also, crucially, narratives and storylines about economic globalization and offer us a new way to sort and evaluate the various claims that circulate. The debates about ‘winners and losers’ explored in Six Faces of Globalization will be with us for years and will be the stuff of headlines for the foreseeable future.” ―Quinn Slobodian, author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism
“As in the proverbial story of five blind men trying to make sense of an elephant, globalization presents itself in different forms to its proponents and opponents. This immensely useful book clarifies the debates around globalization by developing six narratives rooted in contending values and perceptions of reality. It helps us not only understand the best version of other sides’ narratives, but also move beyond our own conceptual straitjackets.” ―Dani Rodrik, Harvard University
“ Six Faces of Globalization is not one more big-think, grand-vision book on the world’s problems and how to solve them. Instead, it is an indispensable guide to how and why many people have abandoned the old, time-tested ways of thinking about politics and the economy. This is the book the world needs to read now. It deserves a spot on every shelf of books about globalization.” ―Richard Baldwin, Graduate Institute, Geneva
“Policymakers and business leaders will appreciate this levelheaded and wide-ranging look at a hot-button issue.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Roberts and Lamp set out to disrupt our intellectual inertia, first by mapping out the six major Western narratives of globalization, then exploring how those narratives drive policies, for better or worse.” ―James Herndon, Asian Review of Books
Anthea Roberts is Professor in the School of Regulation and Global Governance at Australian National University and author of the prizewinning Is International Law International? In 2019, she was named the world’s leading international law scholar by the League of Scholars.
Nicolas Lamp is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at Queen’s University, Ontario. He was previously a dispute-settlement lawyer at the World Trade Organization and has published widely on international trade lawmaking.