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The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization
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The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  274 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Between 1820 and 1990, the share of world income going to today's wealthy nations soared from twenty percent to almost seventy. Since then, that share has plummeted to where it was in 1900. As Richard Baldwin explains, this reversal of fortune reflects a new age of globalisation that is drastically different from the old.

In the 1800s, globalisation leaped forward when stea
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Hardcover, 344 pages
Published November 14th 2016 by Belknap Press
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4.15  · 
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 ·  274 ratings  ·  37 reviews


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Hadrian
Study of globalization w/r/t the costs of trade and how it becomes 'unbundled'.

The first great stage of globalization was in the transportation of goods across longer distances and shorter periods of time, starting from the domestication of pack animals to the invention of steamboat. Moving goods became much cheaper, but communicating ideas was much more expensive until the 1990s - moving documents or files was a cumbersome process before the internet. Between 1820 and 1990, industries had an i
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Soren Dayton
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book offers a really helpful framework for thinking about globalization that goes beyond somewhat stale discussions. It helps frame up the changes from the 1990s that have created such a havoc on the US economy and political scene. It also makes clear that the changes in the global economy mean that these jobs aren't coming back. This is not just because of automation but because those products are serving local economies. China and India and the like will consume goods made more closely. A ...more
Paul O'Leary
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet another book on the affects of globalization? Yes, I'm afraid so. But this one is worth a gander. Baldwin's book, The Great Convergence, elucidates how things are made in business today, how information and communication technology has radically changed production, and, lastly, what this now means for jobs. If you instinctively imagine this to be a jeremiad, as most books on globalization and jobs are, you're mostly correct. Baldwin declares without equivocation that the hoary mercantile vie ...more
Iana
Apr 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book for anyone interested in a scientific yet accessible analysis of the current economic globalisation process. An instant classic for the next few years, I would say.
Ruben Baetens
Jan 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The concluding remark summarizes the content of the book perfectly: "Things have changed so much that not even the future is what it used to be."

The book brings the story on why todays globalisation differs from our parents' globalization. Lowering trade costs caused a first worldwide unbundling, which triggered a drop in the transfer of ideas and knowledge through ICT as basis for a second unbundlin. In the future, the virtual presence revolution (being the drop of costs for physical presence)
...more
Peter Mcloughlin
When people get pissed on they grow tired of being told its raining. That seems to be the message of globalization books. Generally to justify the prevailing arrangements and keep them going in the same direction by appealing to some iron law of economics or the dynamics of globalization. These arrangements are imposed by potentates and only stay in place because people more often than not acquiesce.
Diego
Apr 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: economía
Este libro de Richard Baldwin bien podría ser la mejor lectura para entender la globalización durante los últimos dos siglos. La premisa del libro es que la globalización puede entenderse como un proceso de tres pasos. El primero al relajar los costos de transporte de mercancias facilito el comercio entre los países. El resultado de este proceso es la gran divergencia entre las economías avanzadas y las economías en desarrollo.El segundo paso ocurre al relajar el costo de mover ideas entre disti ...more
Vincenzo Tagle
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
Richard Baldwin provides a framework for understanding globalization as an "unbundling" between consumption and production, and how technological innovations lifted three important constraints: the cost of moving goods, the cost of moving ideas, and the cost of moving people.

The first wave of globalization was sparked by innovations made during the Industrial Revolution and led to decreased costs in moving goods, leading to industrialization in the North and deindustrialization in the South. The
...more
Charles
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book mostly claims to be a book about “globalization,” today’s trendy word, but really, it is a book about industrial revolutions through time and space. The author, Richard Baldwin, offers a new framework for understanding how the world has developed since the Great Divergence, led by England, that created centuries-long worldwide economic dominance by European cultures. In particular, he offers an explanation why, since 1990, the relative share of the global economic pie held by the West ...more
Jon Norimann
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Baldwin has here written a solid up to date book, as of 2018, on globalization. Although he seems to have tried hard to avoid it, Baldwin falls into the trap of spending too long on the past. Still that's an all too common error for such books and other authors have done much worse in that regard.
Spending the 5-6 hours it takes you to read this book brings you reasonably up to date on the academic view of globalization. Assuming that's what you want and you can stand basic history on the subject
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Dave Schoettinger
The harnessing of steam power in the 18th century made it possible for resources and materials and finished products to be transported at a small fraction of the previous cost. Therefore, in the 19th century manufacturing enterprises began locating in areas where there was the technical knowledge necessary to accomplish such manufacturing activities. Because they were able to buy raw materials low and sell finished products high, these areas became much wealthier. This was known as The Great Div ...more
Patrdr
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
This is a very solid book by a careful, competent and knowledgeable economist.
I'm not going to attempt a thorough going review, at least for now.
A couple of points:
From the vantage point of Spring 2018 with President Trump's attacks on global trade in full blossom, it's hard to be as optimistic as the author abour the low chances of a retreat to the dark ages of protectionism. But perhaps it will turn out to have been mostly posturing?
The second point is a question that rose in my mind about the
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Steven De Landtsheer
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Books come in all varieties and this one sits in my 'fundamental academic' category. Richard Baldwin tries to make us better understand how gloabilsation came about, how it evolved the way it did, based on some fundamental drivers in our societies. In doing so, he tries to tell us something about the current wave of globalisation that is hitting our economies right now. Probably my choice of wording already indicates that many of us feel like we are on the receiving end of the punches. My person ...more
Paul O'Leary
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yet another book on the affects of globalization? Yes, I'm afraid so. But this one is worth a gander. Baldwin's book, The Great Convergence, elucidates how things are made in business today, how information and communication technology has radically changed production, and, lastly, what this now means for jobs. If you instinctively imagine this to be a jeremiad, as most books on globalization and jobs are, you're mostly correct. Baldwin declares without equivocation that the hoary mercantile vie ...more
Ethan Cramer-Flood
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The most significant and important social science/economics monograph I've read in the past decade, with the exception of the Picketty book. Globalization 2.0 is not what we think it is, and we're not even using the right words when we talk about it.

Socially and politically we'll never cope with the nature of the global economy if we don't understand what's really happening. This book does a better job of illuminating how economies have changed since the 1990s than anything else I've read. More
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Budd Margolis
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A solid academic look at the two main periods of global economic development and some thoughts on the next stage. The last phrase sums up: The book brings the story on why todays globalisation differs from our parents' globalization. Lowering trade costs caused a first worldwide unbundling, which triggered a drop in the transfer of ideas and knowledge through ICT as basis for a second unbundlin. In the future, the virtual presence revolution (being the drop of costs for physical presence) will c ...more
Veselin Nikolov
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Data driven look on the history of globalization. A framework of how to think about globalization is also presented. Globalization is seen as a process of separating(geographically at first) the production and consumption of goods. The Industrial and the IT revolution are refracted through this mindset.

I loved the whole structure of interpreting data -> building a hypothesis/theory -> looking at the history through the lens of the new hypothesis/theory.
Jason Furman
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, economics
The opening line of this book sets out its ambition: "This book aims to change the way you think about globalization." And I would say it largely succeeds through a combination of economic history, trade theory, well deployed descriptive statistics, observation, and--in the conclusion--a certain amount of imagination.
Ferhat Culfaz
Jun 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent overview of globalisation of the last 1000 years. Specific analysis on how production and parts of production have changed and gone off-shore. Interesting future conjectures on impacts for future of robots and high speed communications and introduction to labour force of people from developing nations via this technology.
Alessandro Mammana
Nov 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
very poorly written book. It's very typical of authors busy with academia to just put together all their papers in a confused manner and put them into a book. The chapters are highly redundant, the main message was clear from the introduction.
Laurent Franckx
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Anyone who has the ambition to participate in an intelligent discussion of how globalisation has unfolded over the last two decades and what it implies for both developed and developing countries, should read this book.
Brian
Mar 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, march
Interesting look at history and predictions for the future. Progress enabled by the swift movement of goods around the world followed by ideas. Are people next--i.e. can someone in China cut my hair using telepresence and robotics? Can't wait to find out.
Nikolas Erdmann
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: universität
Regardless of the insufficient consideration of cultural aspects and the advances of artificial intelligence (it does consider automation and remote intelligence) , this book was very insightful about globalization's history and economics.
Amber
Jul 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is sort of a "Guns, Germs, and Steel" of globalization - a bit repetitive, and very nerdy. (It was a text for our doctoral program.) But approachable for non-academics and worth understanding, conceptually.
Vikas Erraballi
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Useful mental models.
Frank Ashe
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great insights into the various stages of globalisation from the distant past to the near future.
I need to integrate this into my thinking.
Iván
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Extraordinario libro sobre la globalización. Se analizan cambios disruptivos como la Revolución Industrial, los contenedores e Internet
Bob Duke
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The people who need to read this book probably wont. These people are Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn along with their respective supporters. The time when the West dominated the global economy is over thanks to the information, communication and transport revolution. The world has changed and will continue to change and we had better get used to it.
Zullay Pichardo
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Despite it doesn't go into the cons of globalization, at least I started to re-look into the pros of technology, which is often viewed as black and white- one extreme or the other: either creating and using it at the expense of people and the environment or thinking that technology itself is the culprit. Besides the fact that there are sustainable technologies that do not have to harm the ecology and people around it, it made me think how technology can be used as alternatives to some harmful in ...more
عمر
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book was recommended by "The Economist", the author analyzed deeply the globalization from past to present and with great insights on how it will be the trend for future. He explains the big disruption starting from 1820 when G7 countries have only less than 20% of world GDP to reach nearly 80% in 1990, the author name this phase "the great divergence" and how China and India start taking back their part in global GDP since last 2 decades by recovering their historical part of world economy ...more
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“From 1990, the trend flipped; a century’s worth of rich nations’ rise has been reversed in just two decades. Their share is now back to where it was in 1914. This trend, which might be called the “Great Convergence,” is surely the dominant economic fact of the last two or three decades. It is the origin of much of the anti-globalization sentiment in rich nations, and much of the new assertiveness of “emerging markets.” 1 likes
“The upward spiral was checked from the mid-1980s and reversed around 1990. For the last couple of decades, the G7 share has been torqueing downward at a mighty pace. Today it is back to the level that it first attained at the very beginning of the nineteen century.” 1 likes
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