Walk down Franklin Street or into any Wal-Mart store or gas station where you fill up your car, and you will enter into the international economy of the 21st century. These days it is hard to go far without encountering someone or something that is part of the global economy. The global economy is all around us, and everyday we interact with people and processes that are a part of global networks of production, trade, work, and consumption.
Globalization draws strong reactions – political, social or economic. As global borders become more porous, international integration is held responsible for the erosion of local economies, the destabilization labor markets, the loss of good jobs through out-sourcing, and for rising inequality around the globe. Add to this financial volatility, threats of terrorism and yes, climate change. This, according to many, is the dark side of globalization.
At the same, the unprecedented economic integration of our times is lauded by many as the engine that has powered the globe to new heights of economic innovation, creativity, and development that is helping pull millions out of poverty around the world. What, though, is the “lived” experience of globalization? This is the central question this course asks.