The economic dimension of globalization is the site of its most fierce contestation. The high-profile backlash against globalization that led to violent protests in Seattle, Prague and Genoa was fuelled by hostility to its economic aspects. Yet for its supporters, globalization’s appeal lies in its capacity to produce wealth across an ever wider population. For others, globalization’s economic advantages carry substantial risk, as shown by the considerable upswing in the rate and impact of financial crises. These views are united by a belief that globalization has made market forces dominant in the international system. The critic is concerned that markets will further impoverish millions, destroy environmental standards and erode labour conditions; the supporter is enthused by the efficiency gains that will accrue from removing the distortions caused by state interference; and the third is worried that, while markets create wealth, the damage caused by volatility can more than offset these gains. Whether for good or for ill, all share the belief that markets reign supreme under conditions of globalization.
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