“Globalization continually creates imbalances that fuel a perpetual instability that gradually impoverishes every sector other than global capital.” – C H Smith
Globalization has two guaranteed consequences: permanent instability and endless boom-and-bust cycles. As noted in Forget “Free Trade”–Focus on Capital Flows, the key engine of globalization is mobile capital: capital that can borrow money for next to nothing in one nation and then move that capital to other nations where yields are higher and opportunities for exploitation riper.
This mobility of capital is an enormous benefit to the owners of the capital, but it creates extraordinary instability for those who are not as mobile. When mobile capital encounters anything that reduces profits–higher taxes and rising labor costs, competition or restrictive regulations–it closes factories and fires its workers in that locale and shifts to another locale with greater opportunities for high returns.
The workers left behind have limited means to replace the lost wages, and the local government often has few resources to repair any damage left by the exploitation of resources. The advantage of mobility is reserved for capital, and to the relatively limited cohort of workers who can immigrate to other nations to find work.
This illustrates two key ontological characteristics of financialized globalization: perpetual instability and a never-ending cycle of boom and bust as capital sparks rapid development in one locale and then moves elsewhere once profits decline. Continue reading