Globalisation as a parable

by Shihang

A marvellously clear exposition of globalisation from Dani Rodrik. An excerpt:

“It was time for another trip to the shaman. The village held a long and boisterous meeting at which each side argued its case passionately. All agreed that the situation was unsustainable, but the proposed solutions varied. The fishermen wanted a change in the rules that would reduce their contributions to the monthly feasts. Others wanted an end to the fish trade with outsiders. Some even asked to blockade the road with boulders so that no-one could enter or leave the village.

The shaman listened to these arguments. “You have to be reasonable and compromise,” he said after some thought. “Here is what I suggest. The council of elders should place a toll booth at the entrance to the access road, and everyone who comes in and out should pay a fee.” “But this will make it more costly for us to trade,” the fishermen objected. “Yes indeed,” the shaman replied. “But it will also reduce over-fishing and make up for the loss in contributions at the feasts.” “And it won’t cut off trade altogether,” he added, pointing with his head to the villagers who wanted to block the road.

The villagers agreed that this was a reasonable solution. They walked out of the meeting satisfied. Harmony was restored to the village.

And everyone lived happily ever after.”

Hm. I really should get the book before I go in.