Here is an interesting essay by David Brooks which argues, with some supporting data, that globalization isn’t the big causal force most of us take it to be. What’s really changing the manufacturing landscape is technological innovation — jobs are being shifted because of new and better machines and processes. It is the “cognitive age,” not the “globalization age”:
“The globalization paradigm leads people to see economic development as a form of foreign policy, as a grand competition between nations and civilizations. These abstractions, called “the Chinese” or “the Indians,” are doing this or that. But the cognitive age paradigm emphasizes psychology, culture and pedagogy — the specific processes that foster learning. It emphasizes that different societies are being stressed in similar ways by increased demands on human capital. If you understand that you are living at the beginning of a cognitive age, you’re focusing on the real source of prosperity and understand that your anxiety is not being caused by a foreigner.”
I referenced an article on Cliché Reality that talks about “cognitive surplus”. The author thinks TV is the new Gin and that after the hangover wears off we’re going to see the real sorts of astonishing progress we can make when we use that surplus instead of abusing that surplus. He uses a wikipedia example to show how the shift to the internet may not be as wasteful, it’s the recovery?
Maybe finding these sorts of patterns in the past can show us where to see hope in the present. Or maybe he’s misreading or failing to read history properly. Hard to know without delving into some of his sources.