A overview on “The Ages of Globalization” by Jeffrey D. Sachs
This masterful story of the human experience of global connectivity begins in the Paleolithic and ends in today’s COVID-19 pandemic. Sachs makes a strong case that the globalizing forces that are creating our increasingly interdependent world are deeply rooted in the human condition and that they are forces – for better and for worse – that will stay here. The book identifies seven ages of globalization, from the classical to the digital age. In each, technology, geography, and social institutions have shaped the boundaries of economic progress and human interaction. Sachs shows that in every successive period the scope of organization, exchange and collaboration has increased dramatically. The book recognizes both the upside and downside of globalization: it has created learning opportunities, economic growth, and new forms of political community, while bringing great suffering to the world through disease, conquest, war, and financial crisis. All in all, Sachs seems to find the achievements of globalization indisputable, and in every historical age it has promoted social advancement. But Sachs’s story also shows that the technological revolutions that drive globalization tend to outperform governments’ ability to cope with their aftermath.