Global Capitalism: Its Fall and Rise in the Twentieth Century



"Magisterial" and "one of the most comprehensive histories of modern capitalism yet written." - New York Times Book Review

"Frieden has a wonderful way of weaving together politics and economics, micro and macro, past and present in an accessible narrative that is as even-handed and objective on the subject as you'll find." - Washington Post

“[Frieden] is just the man to deliver this extensive, lucid and erudite survey of ‘globalization' over the past 130 years and the surrounding polemics. But to describe the book as simply a history of globalization as the title implies or to remark that it thoroughly and ably covers topics like the evolution of the gold price of silver between 1870 and 1900, the battle between fascism, liberalism and communism in the 1920s or the rise of social democracy is doing the work an injustice. This book is all that as well as a general interest comparative history, a careful study in comparative politics, a long-run analytical narrative of international political economy, and even quite simply an immaculately told story of almost everything important that happened in the realm of political economy in the last 130 years or so. This book succeeds on all these fronts, and it should shoot straight to the top of the things to read for anyone with an interest in any of the several fields of study mentioned above.”

"It is written not only for scholars who lack enough of an interdisciplinary range to come to grips with the politics, history or economics but for as wide of an audience as possible.”

“Perhaps the greatest merit of Frieden's book is that it allows the reader to see the themes of winners and losers, risk and uncertainty, integration, economic growth and technological change emerge clearly from the deep forest of contemporary history. One gains a greater appreciation for the timelessness of these phenomena and how to begin to get a grip on the bigger picture of policy making and the global economy.”

“Anyone who reads this book attentively must come away from it appreciating the complexity of the economic and political phenomena of the past and the future. And most certainly they will be all the better prepared for tackling the challenges ahead because they will have truly learned something from this superlative history of the past 130 years.” – Journal of International Economics

"In Global Capitalism, Jeffry Frieden makes a pioneering attempt at spelling out the key economic and political events that shaped the global economy during the last century. The task he sets for himself is not an easy one as he must clear away much of the meddlesome brush that stands in the way of illuminating the historical path to the present, yet at the same time, preserve enough of the actors and events that define the path as a unique one."

"As Frieden explains in Global Capitalism : (1) international trade, investment, and migration have followed a U-shaped pattern over the past 130 years; (2) falling transportation costs promoted factor price convergence in the two eras of globalization; and (3) a small club of countries has experienced phenomenal rates of economic growth over the twentieth century and now shares similar living standards (convergence) while a large number of other countries have been left behind (economic divergence). That he reaches similar conclusions as others before him is not meant to diminish what Frieden has accomplished, as he has managed to tie all three of these themes together into one lively and readable book that nicely balances historical anecdote with economic generalization. "

"Frieden excels at providing the political background to economic policymaking of the twentieth century.” - Journal of Economic History

"Frieden's historical synthesis of macroeconomic policy change and politics is truly impressive....[T]his important book is an excellent starting point for understanding the difficult choices and trade-offs global capitalism offers governments and people in the present and future." -European History Quarterly

"In this ambitious, sweeping history, Jeffry A. Frieden of Harvard University's Department of Government, reverses the usual historical metaphor of rise and fall to narrate the story of the fall and rise of world capitalism during the twentieth century. Frieden adopts the perspective of regional and national economic development over time relative to the larger economic process of globalization....Global Capitalism is an important synthesis of what we now know about large changes in the political economy over the course of the twentieth century." -Business History Review

“This is an excellent, readable history of globalization with important lessons for our society today.” - Booklist

“…a lucid and fast-flowing account…a tour de force.” -Finance and Development

“Frieden moves easily from East to West, from North to South, from the industrial democracies to the many varieties of socialism as he spins the story of a world increasingly knit together by trade. He never stints on the institutions that were necessary to produce the miracle. And yet his account moves along almost effortlessly, from one set of triumphs and disasters to the next.” –Economic Principals

“…the book's style is brilliant. No technical jargon when it comes to explaining complex economic phenomena or even theories that have made significant historical impact to a readership that is not presumed to be economically educated. The author also displays an incredible capacity of summarizing highly complex political situations in simple yet powerful words. How to write on the Gold Standard and its opponents; on Keynes vs. the tenants of gold standard orthodoxy in the 1920s; on Schacht and Soviet planning; on the horrors of the colonial world such as Leopold's Congo as opposed to the impressive economic catch-up of poor countries such as South Korea or, now, China; on the battle between “neo-liberal” tenants of the “Washington Consensus” and protesters at the Seattle WTO meeting; on the emergence and rise of the multinational company as driver of globalisation; on the development of the welfare state and of social democracy and the current crisis… Yes how to write on all this, and keep calm? This Frieden manages to do. The book is serene and balanced. That is what one expects from a prominent Harvard scholar, however, it remains a striking achievement. "

"The novelty is the way Frieden's narrative integrates economics and politics in a manner that seems natural, but that historians, political scientists, or economist are generally not capable of. The outcome is a powerful book that is a very useful tool to forge one's own opinion, independently, on the great debates around globalisation that are raging today."

"A magisterial tour de force. A highly recommended book for people striving to form their own - as ideologically neutral as possible - opinion on the process of globalisation. It is a long read, but it is a good read. And it can make up for years of widespread misinformed ignorance. It is worth the financial and intellectual investment.” - Global Conditions

“ The point of Frieden's book is to show how difficult it is to sustain desired globalism, warning us that currency upheaval, foreign policy, and military adventurism are factors which, if mishandled, can easily upset the equipoise necessary for global prosperity. So rather than looking at globalism as a recent phenomenon, it is helpful to realize that it once flourished long ago and that a combination of these factors drove it underground for nearly a century. Frieden's writing is exceptionally accessible to the intelligent layperson.” – Steve Goddard's History Wire

“A strange thing happened to me when I read this book- halfway through my life I gained an appreciation of and value for history. I'm sure people always feel they are living in interesting times, that there is something exceptional about their moment. We do indeed live in interesting times - globalization, climate change, extreme poverty - but then you open up Frieden's book and see the last century laid out before you.” - Two Worlds Blogspot

For other reviews, see: L 'Espresso (in Italian) , Boston Magazine, Library Journal, Irish Independent, Valor Online.


Discussions and Webcasts:

"Will Global Capitalism Fall Again?" Presentation to BRUEGEL, June 2006.

Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal

IMF Book Forum: Webcast

World Affairs Council of Northern California ( San Francisco, May 3, 2006)

TCS Daily: Podcast

Available for Purchase:

W.W. Norton's Website ($19.95 - Paperback) ($13.57 - Paperback)