Economists, capitalists, and the making of globalization: North American free trade in comparative-historical perspective.

Malcolm Fairbrother*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Why did globalization happen? Current explanations point to a variety of conditions under which states have made the free market policy changes driving international economic integration since the 1980s. Such accounts disagree, however, about the key actors involved. This article provides a reconciliation, showing how two different combinations of actors, and two different political economic pathways, have led to globalization in recent decades. In developed countries, mobilization by business has been central; elsewhere, technocrats both constrained and empowered by international finance have pursued globalization more independently of business. In both contexts, economists' technical authority has helped legitimate liberalization, despite the limited diffusion of their ideas. The article validates and elaborates this model using a comparative-historical study of how the United States, Canada, and Mexico proposed, negotiated, and ratified agreements for free trade in North America.

Translated title of the contributionEconomists, Capitalists, and the Making of Globalization: A Comparative-Historical Study of North American Free Trade
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1324-1379
Number of pages56
JournalAmerican Journal of Sociology
Volume119
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014

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