ON-Lion Letter
Witherspoon Institute senior fellow Harold James examines the vulnerability and fragility of processes of globalization, both historically and in the present, in his new book The Creation and Destruction of Value:  The Globalization Cycle, from Harvard University Press.

James is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and director of its Program in Contemporary European Politics and Society.  He also directs Witherspoon's Program in Education, Culture, and Economic Development.
In The Creation and Destruction of Value, James applies lessons from past breakdowns of globalization -- above all in the Great Depression -- to show how financial crises provoke backlashes against global integration.  By a parallel examination of the financial panics of 1929, 1931 and 2008, he shows how banking and monetary collapses suddenly and radically alter the rules of engagement for every other type of economic activity.

Increased calls for state action in countercyclical fiscal policy bring demands for trade protection, he shows.  In the open economy of the 21st century, such calls are only viable in very large states -- probably only in the United States and China.  By contrast, in smaller countries, demand trickles out of the national container, creating jobs in other countries.

The international community is thus paralyzed, and international institutions are challenged by conflicts of interest.  The Creation and Destruction of Value shows the looming psychological and material consequences of an interconnected world for people and the institutions they create.

Milwaukee's Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation has supported some of James' work at Witherspoon.
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