Reviewing Richard Baldwin's _The Great Convergence...

Preview of Reviewing Richard Baldwin s The Great Convergence

My review of the superb and extremely thought provoking: Richard Baldwin (2016): The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization Reviewed for Nature The iron-hulled oceangoing steamships and submarine telegraph cables of the second half of the 19th century set off a first wave of economic globalization. The intercontinental transport of both staple commodities and people became extraordinarily cheap. The container of the second half of the 20th century made the transport of everything non-spoilable—and some things spoilable—essentially free. It set off a second wave of economic globalization.

Now, Richard Baldwin argues, we have a third wave of economic globalization as important as each of the first two: The internet and the intercontinental airliner have made it possible, for the first time, to transfer, with sufficient effort, the engineering expertise for efficient manufacturing production. Thus manufacturing goods can now be produced efficiently any place property rights are secure, and a literate labor force and technical cadre can be assembled.

The first two waves of globalization were global boons, nearly unmixed. This third wave, Richard Baldwin argues, is working primarily to the advantage of first world intellectual property owners, and secondarily to the advantage of those workers and communities in emerging markets able to find places in highly productive global value chains.

It is, however, working to the disadvantage of first-world communities and manufacturing workers. They used to have preferential advantage to the technical expertise needed to support high productivity manufacturing production. They no longer do so...