Sun Apr 20, 2003

Apt Quotations II

While we’re playing around with quotations, here’s a good one in praise of Globalization, from one of its earliest prophets. It clearly articulates the cultural and economic benefits of free trade and open markets and expresses the contemporary neoconservative agenda pretty well, I think.

[Free-market capitalism] has, through its exploitation of its world-market given a cosmopolitan character to production and consumption in every country. To the great chagrin of Reactionaries, it has drawn from under the feet of industry the national ground on which it stood. All established national industries have been … dislodged by new industries … that no longer work up indigenous raw material, but raw material drawn from the remotest zones; industries whose products are consumed, not only at home, but in every quarter of the globe. In place of old wants, satisfied by the production of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. In place of the old local and national seclusion and self-sufficiency, we have intercourse in every direction, universal interdependence of nations. And as in material, so in intellectual life. The intellectual creations of individual nations become common property. National one-sidedness and narrow-mindedness become more and more impossible, and from the numerous national and local literatures, there arises a world literature …

[B]y the rapid improvement of all instruments of production, by the immensely facilitated means of communication, even the most barbarian nations are drawn into civilization. The cheap prices of [the free market’s] commodities are the heavy artillery by which it batters down all Chinese walls, with which it forces the barbarians’ intensely obstinate hatred of foreigners to capitulate.

No prizes for guessing who this is.