Veblen and globalization: a comment on Wellington and Zandvakili
Purpose – The purpose of the paper is to examine the claim made by Wellington and Zandvakili that Thorstein Veblen would be opposed to globalization. Design/methodology/approach – The approach of the paper is to examine what Veblen actually said in order to provide evidence from Veblen's own pen. Findings – Veblen forcefully argued that trade barriers are another form of business sabotage. Trade barriers increase business profits but harm the community as a whole. That is because trade barriers inhibit specialization, and specialization is required for technological progress. Trade barriers therefore impede progress from the standpoint of humanity as a whole. Practical implications – National boundaries impede technological development because they reduce specialization. Trade barriers make the problem worse, and therefore are harmful. Trade barriers help business at the expense of the general public. Originality/value – The paper offers an argument for reducing trade barriers that is not derived from neoclassical economics. It should be of interest to anyone interested in the debate about globalization as well as those interested in Thorstein Veblen.
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