Globaloney, 19th Century Edition

By Ian Fletcher

Everyone knows we live in a brave new world of globalization.

And like a lot of thing that everyone knows, it isn’t so.

Not only was the globalization of the late 19th century, with formal colonial empires spanning the world, just as profound as today, it generated a similar class of professional sophist to justify it all.

Think Thomas Friedman and his ilk are original? Think again. I just discovered a most amusing clip from the BBC TV production of Anthony Trollope’s 1875 novel The Way We Live Now, a startlingly modern satire of corrupt yuppies in Victorian London.

See here: youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=gksJ1-8ewBs

Free trade didn’t work out too well for Britain, which had risen to power as a protectionist nation and began to decline after embracing free trade, as I’ve written here.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Ian Fletcher is Senior Economist of the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a nationwide grass-roots organization dedicated to fixing America’s trade policies and comprising representatives from business, agriculture, and labor. He was previously Research Fellow at the U.S. Business and Industry Council, a Washington think tank, and before that, an economist in private practice serving mainly hedge funds and private equity firms. Educated at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, he lives in San Francisco. He is the author of Free Trade Doesn’t Work: What Should Replace It and Why.

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