Two Faces of Globalization

Table of Contents

In Essence

For all the solemn remembrances one year later, the historic meaning of September 11, 2001, is yet unknown. Did...

After terrorists destroyed the World Trade Center, some cultural commentators suggested that the attacks might at...

James Madison's politics may have been more consistent than many critics have suggested.

Congress's popularity seems to depend less on public involvement in the political process than on the morality of the representatives.

Surprisingly, more than half the government agencies created since 1946 have ceased to exist.

The 1991 Persian Gulf War demonstrated that the U.S. Army is in urgent need of reform. So why hasn't it happened?

Strategic planning is a staple of corporations. So why does it often fail?

The Torah and the Talmud do not receive the credit they deserve as the source of much early thinking on liberalism.

Despite some remaining obstacles, wind power finally seems poised to come into its own.

W. C. Fields spent his entire show business career, from stage to screen, perfecting his role of consummate con man.

THE SOURCE: "Why Dickens Wrote A Christmas Carol" by Michael Timko, in Current, March–April 2002.

The Periodical Observer

An Obsolescent Army?

"A Different War" by Peter J. Boyer, in The New Yorker (July 1, 2002), 4 Times Sq., New York, N.Y. 10036–6592.

le ;I front-page Washington Post feature vividly portrayed the suffering of a Palestinian famil!., no comparable attention was paid that month to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks. Meanwhile, writes Vane, the online Palestine Media Watch urges readers to protest news ticcounts that use the words "retciliation" or "response" in describing Israeli actions, or that fail to refer to the Giiza Strip or the West Bank 21s "occupied" territories."Across the country,"...

Book Reviews


A struggle is under way for the soul of Berlin.

John Hooper

With the debate about globalization focused on economics and politics, Amy Chua raised an alarm in our Autumn 2002 issue about the dangerous escalation of ethnic tensions in many countries caused by the triumph of free-market democracy. Chua later wrote Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011).

Amy Chua

Belva Lockwood's campaign for the presidency in 1884 may have been quixotic, but it was historic, too, and as spirited and principled as the candidate herself.

Jill Norgren

The united Germany has lived up neither to its own hopes nor to the fears and expectations of its neighbors.

Martin Walker

Gaddis was a great American novelist, who failed to attract a great American audience. Perhaps that's to his credit.

Paul Maliszewski

Germans went to the polls in September at a strange time in their nation’s history. The sudden reunification that caused so much joy only a few years ago now seems a costly burden. The prosperity that once made Germany the envy of its neighbors has given way to talk that the country is "the sick man of Europe." Our authors reflect on Germany’s prospects, and on the past it seems unable to escape.

A century ago, the German thinker Georg Simmel (1858–1918) wrote a brilliant and nuanced book on the tradeoffs of life in a market society. If he had called it Capitalism and Its Discontents, Simmel might be famous today. As it is, The Philosophy of Money sharply illuminates many of the perplexities of capitalist life at the dawn of the 21st century.

Jerry Z. Muller

It was said at the time that the era of globalization came to an end on September 11, 2001. But the process seems only to have quickened its pace, as last year’s events spurred a renewed emphasis on the need to promote free markets and democracy around the world. Now, Amy Chua warns here, it’s time to ask whether the current formula for free-market democracy is too volatile for many countries. She sees a worldwide pattern of backlash and ethnic conflict touched off by the simultaneous introduction of "pure" markets and democracy. Yet on the cultural front, Tyler Cowen contends, globalization is yielding unrecognized benefits. Far from homogenizing the world’s cultures, it is energizing and diversifying them.

On one thing the whole world seems to agree: Globalization is homogenizing cultures. At least a lot of countries are acting as if that’s the case. In the name of containing what the Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood calls "the Great Star-Spangled Them," the Canadian government subsidizes the nation’s film industry and requires radio stations to devote a percentage of their airtime to home-grown music, carving out extra airplay for stars such as Celine Dion and Barenaked Ladies. Ottawa also discouraged Borders, the American book superstore, from entering the Canadian market out of fear that it would not carry enough Canadian literature. The French government spends some $3 billion annually on culture and employs 12,000 cultural bureaucrats in an effort to preserve its vision of a uniquely French culture. Spain, South Korea, and Brazil place binding domestic-content requirements on their cinemas; France and Spain do the same for television. Until recently, India barred the sale of Coca-Cola.

Tyler Cowen