Globalisation is one of the most important aspects that have transformed economies across the globe as well as creating avenues of interaction among these economies. However, most of the 20th century policymakers and economists argued that globalisation had adverse effects on individual economies, and as such, there was a need to reverse the trends of globalisation towards de-globalisation. Notably, the liberalisation of various economies across Europe in the first half of the 20th century was seen as one of the greatest contributors to loss of jobs as well as other significant economic factors. Irrespective of this notion among these economists and policymakers, research on globalisation trends shows that globalisation and de-globalisation go hand in hand. In this regard, this essay will focus on the subjection of the British economy both to globalisation and de-globalisation forces.
Tomlinson (2011) argues that alongside trends towards globalization in post-war Britain have been powerful trends towards de-globalization. In other words, the existing evidence on globalisation does not seclude de-globalisation. On the contrary, both globalisation and de-globalisation occurs concurrently in the society. This is contrary to the argument that has been held by most people in the society that globalisation and de-globalisation occurs as separate entities, i.e. one occurs followed by the other. Furthermore, whereas it is expected that globalisation and the generally the interaction of goods and services of one country on the global scene would enhance the economy of any particular country, this is not always the case. On the contrary, globalisation is associated more with economic insecurity. This is particularly so for a country such as Britain that has experienced different economic trends, especially in the 20th century. According to Rotblat (2001), while driven by new technologies and a quest for increasing labour productivity and economic growth, globalization of processes of production, distribution and consumption of goods and services appears to affect basic human security in a negative sense (p. 228).
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There are various aspects that need to be examined in this essay to gain insight on globalisation and de-globalisation. These include but not limited to de-industrialisation, the state and globalisation, consumers and globalisation. In reference to Tomlinson (2011), the post-war settlement constructed in the 1940s attempted to address the traumatic consequences of the inter-war collapse of large parts of the extraordinarily globalised industrial economy of pre-1914 Britain. In line with this, the understanding of the 1940s economists and policymakers was inclined toward the fact that globalisation was the main cause of massive unemployment at the beginning of the 20th century. In this regard, policies were put in place to eliminate all aspects of globalisation that existed at the time by de-globalisation. However, as it has been observed, such actions were often intermingled with increased globalisation. Page and European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (2000) affirms that the new brand of populism generated by globalisation has propelled the search for alternative solutions which retain most of the achievements of globalisation, but minimise its disruptive impact on economic activity and social stability (p. 32).
One of the issues that are elicited in Tomlinson's paper is the fact that economists as well as policymakers have struggled in the past to align the economic structures of Britain as one of the countries that is affected by globalisation to protect it from the threats that emerge from globalisation trends. However, as it has been seen from the paper, such alignments have failed to achieve total de-globalisation. On the contrary, every move to de-globalise the economy of Britain has been met with a nearly equal response in globalisation trends. In reference to Tomlinson (2011), liberalisation also exposed newer industrial sectors, especially engineering and metal-based consumer products, to unprecedented competitive pressure, as they too shed labour on a large scale. Historically, economists and policymakers have tried to strike a balance in such a way that liberalisation would not pose threats to local industries.
According to Kay (2006), economic realists see a strong role for the state within the domestic economy as a defensive response to external forces-such as the market pressures of economic globalization (p. 48). In line with this, tracing back the economic history of Britain, it is evident that economists and policymakers in this nation have focussed on tabulating strategies to avert threats to its economy. As it has been highlighted by Tomlinson (2011), most of the policies that have been implemented in the past were skewed toward enhancing the economy of Britain to deal with issues such as rising unemployment as well as increased competition against local industries and companies. For instance, Tomlinson (2011) notes that geographically differentiated growth of state employment, such that in much of old industrial Britain the public sector provides a large fraction of local employment and - with the secondary effects of the incomes accruing from that employment - plays a key role in determining local prosperity. In other words, whereas positive globalisation growth trends exists across the globe, Britain has taken initiatives to protect its economy by focussing on national prosperity that emanates from local productivity on rather than international productivity.
The actions by policymakers and other key players in the British economy to reverse globalisation trends led to the emergency of a service industry that was more de-globalisation-oriented as compared to the manufacturing industry. As it has been noted by Tomlinson (2011), the continued globalisation of the manufacturing industry resulted in decline in employment rates as well as collapsing of some key manufacturing companies. In this regard, most employees who serve in the service industry such as banking often come from the local pool of employees. Tomlinson (2011) argues that the well-known trend to the growth of service employment has acted to significantly counteract globalization.
Apart from the manufacturing industry, another part of the economy that is mentioned by Tomlinson in his paper is the consumer industry. Notably, the early trends of globalisation benefited consumers in Britain. According to Tomlinson (2011), most consumers were able to access cheap foods as well as other basic products. However, these trends have changed and consumers depend more on what is produced locally, especially in terms of foods products as opposed to internationally produced food products. More importantly, this part of the economy has nearly achieved total de-globalisation.
Furthermore, the state too has seen important realignment in regard to globalisation and de-globalisation issues. Arguing from a broader perspective, efforts have been made to reduce the impact of globalisation on the British economy. This has been done with a lot of care to avoid conflicting with internationalisation. In reference to Kim (2000), globalisation does not inevitably signal the end of the nation-state or the arrival of a borderless society (p. 9). Essentially, the paper by Tomlinson emphasises on the importance of not adopting a skewed mindset that globalisation would automatically result in borderless economies across the globe. On the contrary, it is evident that states have taken the initiatives of safeguarding their economies without necessarily hurting internationalisation process.
There are various issues that arise in Tomlinson's paper and as such, make it an important contributor to the understanding of globalisation and de-globalisation forces. To begin with, the globalisation process is a significant process in any country, and in this case Britain. Note that Tomlinson (2011) mentions different areas of the British economy that benefited as a result of embracing the globalisation process. For instance, consumers benefited from cheap food were easily accessed in Britain in the first half of the 20th century as a result of globalisation. In addition to this, economic developed among different countries across the globe has been stirred up by the globalisation process.
Another important factor that is mentioned by Tomlinson is that globalisation process in any particular country is short-lived. In other words, despite the fact that globalisation process has benefits on the economy of a particular nation, this process lasts only for a while. For instance, whereas consumers in Britain benefited from cheap foodstuff at the beginning of the 20th century, this has since changed. On the contrary, these consumers now depend heavily on cheap food that is available locally in Britain. Similarly, whereas Britain embraces various aspects of globalisation, there are policies that have been put in place to protect this economy of this country from the effects of globalisation.
There are various threats that are mentioned by Tomlinson, which have initiated the need to de-globalise. Kenney and Florida (2004) argue that there are different threats that globalisation pose to economies across the globe that have necessitated for a slow down in the globalisation process (p. 56). Among the issues that are mentioned include increased competition to local industries that threaten their survival, production issues, dependency issues, etc. Furthermore, Tomlinson (2011) affirms that dependence on global economic structures is a security risk to Britain and as such, this nation as well as other nations across the globe needs to define its own economy path that is not dependent on globalisation. For instance, the recent financial crisis is a clear indication that dependence on globalisation is a risky venture for countries across the globe. Thus, the paper by Tomlin is a significant eye opener on the importance of protecting the local economy from the impact of globalisation. This can only be achieved by de-globalisation of most sectors of such economy.
Consequently, various aspects of globalisation have been replaced as fast as possible by de-globalisation aspects in the British economy as well as among other economies across the globe. Remarkably, the paper by Tomlinson highlights an important fact that most nations across the globe as well as Britain have resorted to de-globalisation as a way of protecting their economies. However, taking the path of de-globalisation is not without risk. It has been noted that any country that followed the path of de-globalisation risked increasing the rate of unemployment within its economy. According to Simon (2009), de-globalisation resulting from protectionism poses the greatest danger for the international division of labour and global prosperity (p. 152). In addition, Jasper (2010) asserts that a period of de-globalisation may take hold as high unemployment and social unrest are used to justify increased trade tariffs and controls over labour immigration (p. 27).
The paper by Tomlinson (2011) remains as one of the most important contributors to understanding history especially in regard to the economic trends that have been observed in the past. To begin with, the paper is relevant to history in the sense that it contributions play a significant role in helping researchers, scholars and policymakers to gain insight into various aspects of globalisation as well as de-globalisation. First, whereas most researchers and scholars have been quick to laud globalisation as an important aspect of economic development across the globe, history will judge them harshly by reminding them of the adverse impacts that this aspect has had on economies across the globe. As such, learning from history is vital in understanding the importance of formulating balanced policies that would not only promote globalisation but also give room for the de-globalisation process. Such an understanding of history is important in laying down structures to face the future crises that arise because of the globalisation and de-globalisation process.
Similarly, the paper by Tomlinson plays an important part in highlighting past economic trends and how they were affected by globalisation. As a matter of fact, globalisation played a significant role in enhancing the British as well as global economy during the 20th century. On the other hand, it is also important to understand that history reveals that globalisation also contributed to crises that have been experienced in the past. In line with this, the paper by Tomlinson reveals the importance of looking back into history to understand the current challenges that are faced in the economy. Therefore, this paper can be regarded as an important foundation in laying down protective measures against both the impact of globalisation as well as de-globalisation, and understanding the past economic trends.
In conclusion, the paper by Tomlinson plays a critical part in creating an avenue towards gaining insight on the globalisation and de-globalisation trends in the 20th century, and how these trends affected the British economy. As such, understanding these issues could help the global community as well as individual countries such as Britain to lay down economic structures as well as formulate policies to cub the effects of both globalisation and de-globalisation. Note that both of them (i.e. globalisation and de-globalisation) have both positive and negative effects on the economy. Therefore, this paper enlightens researchers, scholars and policymakers on the importance of balancing between globalisation and de-globalisation processes. More importantly, the paper reveals an important factor that globalisation often occurs concurrently with de-globalisation.
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