The Big Day

A book has a lengthy time-line. Drafting a proposal, chewing it over with an agent, refining it, submitting it to publishers, and haggling over a contract can take several months. The research and writing may last for years. And then, ideally by the contractual deadline, the manuscript moves to the publisher, which has its own timetable: so many weeks for editors to read and comment, so many more for the author to revise, a month or two for the copy editor, more time for the proofreader and the designer, time for the printer to turn these years of work into a physical book, and still more time to deliver the books to wholesalers and retailers.

So I’m pleased that I can finally announce that my latest book, Outside the Box, has been released by Princeton University Press. I conceived the book as a short, lively history of globalization, meant to help readers think about the modern economy in a different way. It shows how the creation of long-distance value chains in the late 1980s represented a marked change in the world economy. On balance, I think, this was good for the world, but I argue that it was taken too far because of large government subsidies and the systematic misjudgment of risk by businesses. As companies began to account properly for the risks of globalization, cross-border investment fell sharply and foreign trade lagged long before Brexit, Donald Trump’s presidency, and the coronavirus. I disagree with glib claims that globalization is over; instead, I assert, it is entering a new phase in which moving containers filled with goods will matter much less than moving services, information, and ideas.

You can learn more about Outside the Box and read a brief interview with me on the publisher’s website, and you can check out this kind review that ran in The Wall Street Journal. I look forward to your comments.


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