State Institutions, Private Incentives, Global Capital. By Andrew C. Sobel. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999. 304p. $49.50. -
Additional Document Info
Many a tree, not to mention a few Starbucks' windows, has fallen victim to public debate regarding "globalization." Despite the volume of written output, however, we know very little about this phenomenon, which, like "capitalism," seems to be transformed into whatever kind of creature its beholder desires. The lack of progress can be attributed to three related tendencies in popular discourse, and the scholarly literature frequently does not avoid them. First, there is little agreement about what globalization is. Second, discussions rely more on normative assertions than positive analysis. Third, even when positive analysis occurs, it often lacks rigorous logic or systematic evidence. The first and the second are related in that the term has come to mean everything about the world that will lead to our salvation or, alternatively, ruination. The second and third tendencies are related in that normative assertions, in the absence of logic and evidence, can be embraced forever and eventually come to be treated as descriptive analysis.