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The Great Convergence
Information Technology and the New Globalization
From 1820 to 1990 the share of world income going to today's wealthy nations soared from 20% to 70%. That share has recently plummeted. Richard Baldwin shows how the combination of high tech with low wages propelled industrialization in developing nations, deindustrialization in developed nations, and a commodity supercycle that is petering out.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
This important book should change the way we think about globalization. There have been two big globalization booms over the past two centuries. The first caused divergence between rich and poor nations while the second, since the 1970s, has caused convergence. With elegance, economist Richard Baldwin tells us why.--Jeffrey G. Williamson, Harvard University Will surprise and illumine.--Paul Collier"Times Literary Supplement" (11/23/2016) There is much in this book to ponder.--Tyler Cowen"Marginal Revolution" (11/24/2016) In this brilliant book, Baldwin has succeeded in saying something both new and true about globalization.--Martin Wolf"Financial Times" (12/02/2016) [An] excellent book...Baldwin's work seems likely to become a standard, perhaps indispensable, guide to understanding how globalization has got us here and where it is likely to take us next. There can be few more vital subjects today that will benefit from this sort of clear and comprehensive exposition.--Alan Beattie"Financial Times" (11/24/2016) Sheds a bright light on the nature of trade in today's era--the 'second globalization' since the industrial revolution.--Martin Wolf"Financial Times" (11/23/2016) If the corrosive events of the [presidential election] in America are anything to go by, economist Richard Baldwin is absolutely, stunningly (yet unfortunately) correct. That said, this book does endeavor to change the way we think about globalization--rather than the future of humanity.--David Marx"David Marx Book Reviews" (11/14/2016) Many books deal with various features of globalization. Only Baldwin's deals with the logic of globalization. Globalization happens when the movement of goods, knowledge, and people is technologically possible and cheap enough to encompass the entire world. The first globalization was built on the movement of goods, the one we live today on the movement of knowledge and information, the next one will be built on the movement of people. It is a must-read for those who want to learn about the past and to peer into the future.--Branko Milanovic, City University of New York The first part of this book offers a breathtaking overview of the four phases of globalization that Baldwin argues have taken place during the past 200,000 years.--G. John Ikenberry"Foreign Affairs" (01/01/2017) In this congenial volume, [Baldwin] adroitly covers 200,000 years of human trading practices, deploying insights from archaeology, anthropology, climate science, economic history, political science, development studies and other disciplines as he goes. He takes us on a journey from the ancient world to the 21st century, and from the global North to the developing South, in order to set the scene for the past 25 years of globalization.--Juliet Webster"Times Higher Education" (01/05/2017) It's a very powerful description of the newest phase of globalization.--Larry Summers"Five Books" (02/20/2017) Offers a valuable summary of how we got to where we are now. It's a narrative that bears retelling.--Jane Humphries"Times Literary Supplement" (04/21/2017) In this deft treatise, economist Richard Baldwin argues that we are seeing a third wave [of economic globalization]...The first two waves of globalization were boons for all. The third, Baldwin argues, is working mainly to the advantage of intellectual-property owners in developed countries, and of emerging markets able to access productive global value chains.--Brad DeLong"Nature" (08/03/2017) [Baldwin] doesn't simply deliver an excellent summary of the history of globalization with The Great Convergence. He also describes how it has changed over the last century, and how thanks to the digital revolution we stand on the threshold of a new age in the evolution of the global economy...Picking up Baldwin's book is like stepping into an economic time machine. How did the west become the dominant economic center of the world in just two centuries, generating 70 percent of global economic output? Why did this trend start to change around 1990? And why are supply chains, not national borders, the deciding factors for globalization today? Only after these questions are answered can Donald Trump's protectionist counterrevolution be unmasked as the illusion it is. Baldwin delivers these answers, and argues them convincingly.--Torsten Riecke"Handelsblatt Global" (03/09/2017) The Great Convergence is an important text, because it argues for a change in the way we think about and deal with globalization. Baldwin disaggregates the monolithic, undifferentiated approach that considers globalization as a single phenomenon. Rather, the author argues that there are three major strands of globalization, and that these strands have been predominant during successive historical periods. First, globalization consisted of the movement of goods, then the movement of ideas/information, and, Baldwin posits, in the future the movement and enhanced functionality of people. Viewing globalization through this lens, supported by clear and lucid historical analysis, Baldwin's view will cause the reader to think differently about trade agreement, government policy, the future of work, and other economic and political issues. This spirited thesis is presented with clarity in lucid and thoughtful prose that is accessible to all readers.--S. A. Schulman"Choice" (03/01/2017) The Great Convergence offers a compelling framework for thinking about how trade is organized and why and how it benefits whom...I can't imagine a better and more accessible analysis of trade and globalization in the digital era.--Diane Coyle"Enlightened Economist" (11/01/2016) The Great Convergence is important and accessible in equal measure, with a balance between examples presented as stories and analytics set out with clarity and verve.--Paul Collier, University of Oxford