Description of Our Forthcoming Book on Globalization and Canadian Business History

26 07 2013

AS: Later this year, University of Toronto Press will be publishing an edited collection on the history of Canadian business in the global economy called Smart Globalization. My co-editor is Dimitry Anastakis of Trent University. I was asked by someone at the publishers to write up a short précis of the book. Here it is.

This book will use the Canadian historical experience to speak to present-day debates about how nations should respond to globalization. Neoliberals believe that if a nation is to prosper in the global economy, it should adopt a policy of complete economic liberalization (i.e., the elimination of all tariffs and other trade barriers). Neo-mercantilists, in contrast, believe in development through the selective embrace of globalization and the intelligent use of industrial policy. Ha-Joon Chang, who recommends a neo-mercantilist strategy for today’s developing nations, has said that the countries which are today wealthy acquired their wealth by adopting protectionist measures, not a policy of laissez-faire. The research presented in this edited collection will use Canadian history to test the claims the neo-mercantilists makes about economic history.  Canada is one of the world’s most successful countries in terms of average living standards. The chapters in this collection will show that Canada’s success stemmed from neither complete openness to globalization nor policies of autarky or self-sufficiency. Since the time of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada has developed through a complex policy mix we call “smart globalization,” a term we have borrowed from Dani Rodrik. This book should interest historians, economists, and policymakers in Canada and other countries.

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