With communism discredited, more and more nations harness their fortunes to the global free-market. China, Southeast Asia, India, Eastern Europe, and Latin America all compete to attract the developed world’s investment capital, and tariff barriers fall. In the United States Republican and Democratic administrations both embrace unfettered globalization over the objections of organized labor.
But as new technology and ideas drive profound economic change, unforeseen events unfold. A Mexican economic meltdown sends the Clinton administration scrambling. Internet-linked financial markets, unrestricted capital flows, and floating currencies drive levels of speculative investment that dwarf trade in actual goods and services. Fueled by electronic capital and a global workforce ready to adapt, entrepreneurs create multinational corporations with valuations greater than entire national economies.
When huge pension funds go hunting higher returns in emerging markets, enterprise flourishes where poverty once ruled, but risk grows, too. In Thailand the huge reservoir of available capital proves first a blessing, then a curse. Soon all Asia is engulfed in an economic crisis, and financial contagion spreads throughout the world, until Wall Street itself is threatened. A single global market is now the central economic reality. As the force of its effects is felt, popular unease grows. Is the system just too complex to be controlled, or is it an insiders’ game played at outsiders’ expense? New centers of opposition to globalization form and the debate turns violent over who will rewrite the rules.
Yet prosperity continues to spread with the expansion of trade, even as the gulf widens further between rich and poor. Imbalances too dangerous for the system to ignore now drive its stakeholders to devise new means to include the dispossessed lest, once again, terrorism and war destroy the stability of a deeply interconnected world.”
The Commanding Heights – Part Three – The New Rules of the Game (Documentary):
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