City of Gold: An Apology for Global Capitalism in a Time of by David A. Westbrook

By David A. Westbrook

David A. Westbrook argues that we are living in "the urban of gold"--a international, cosmopolitan polity the place politics are performed via markets, and the place worldwide capital markets, now not states, became the dominant strength in our social existence.

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Russia struggled to modernize. Seeking markets and sources of raw materials, the nations of Europe entered a dangerous scramble for colonies in the as yet uncolonized parts of Africa and Asia, and competed everywhere. Acquisition of colonies required the building of navies to protect the sea lanes between the colonies and Europe; Germany’s navy soon rivaled Britain’s. Attempting to defend their nascent industries, the nations of Europe and the United States erected protective tariffs. Aware of the intensifying antagonisms, nations entered military alliances in an effort to ensure their own security, but only succeeded in further heightening tensions.

Certainly it has remained true that societies tend to demand both the forms of political liberalism and the forms of liberal economic life. Although political liberalism may fail (and has in Russia, Germany, and various South American countries), it appears to be more durable than any other 38 • City of Gold system on offer. 26 Or one may still talk like Isaiah Berlin or Karl Popper, about the dissemination of information in an open society, and conclude that political liberalism of a relatively familiar sort is necessary to secure the flow of information, technological innovation, and other good things.

The fact remains, however, that a program of generosity was chosen in lieu of the traditional prerogatives of the conqueror. And it appears to have worked—Allied generosity, indeed mercy in the face of extreme provocation, continued Allied presence, and the rapid reintegration of the vanquished nations into the fabric of international life ensured that there was no serious resentment, no talk of vengeance, no new belligerency in the conquered lands. Economic reconstruction and integration was not the only approach to security at the end of the war.

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