Fairbrother, Malcolm | 2019
Oxford University Press
Today's global economy was largely established by political events and decisions in the 1980s and 90s, when scores of nations opened up their economies to the forces of globalization. In Free Traders, Malcolm Fairbrother argues that politicians' embrace of globalization was much less motivated by public preferences than by the agendas of businesspeople and other elites.
Drawing on over one hundred interviews with decision-makers, and analyses of archival materials from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S., Fairbrother tells the story of how each country negotiated and ratified two agreements that substantially opened and integrated their economies: the 1989 Canada-U.S. and trilateral 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement. Contrary to what many commentators believe, these agreements-like free trade elsewhere-were based less on mainstream, neoclassical economics than on the informal, self-serving economic ideas of business. While the stakes in the globalization debate remain high, Free Traders uses a comparative-historical approach to sharpen our understanding of how globalization arose in the past to provide us with clearer trajectory for how it will develop in the future.