Critics of protectionism might argue that despite its flaws globalization is the only option available. The argument if fallacious for in Argentina, which was devastated toward the late 1990s, regrouped its economy through prudent controls over foreign capital. By the turn of the millennia, the government changed its policy direction. It increased social spending, focused on improved tax collection and encouraged import substitution industries. Within a matter of years, the economy rebounded impressively. Moreover Argentinean society also witnessed less strife and tension. So deeply integrating a nation’s economy with the global economy is a matter of choice and not compulsion. History shows that those countries that have heeded to the will of their own people and resisted control by foreign capital have actually proven to be the most stable and sustainable of models.
Hence, it is fairly clear that one cannot pursue democracy and national determination while also being deeply integrated to the global economy. Rodrik’s thesis of the fundamental incompatibility between globalization and nationalism stands fortified after reading his scholarship on the subject. To Rodrik’s question of whether I would like to be rich in a poor country or poor in a rich country, neither scenarios appeal to me. I do not like huge disparities in wealth – such conditions are not only inhumane but also undemocratic. I would like to live in a society where there is more equity and representation. The Scandinavian counties like Sweden, Denmark are good examples in this regard. Some countries in Western Europe can also claim to be better in terms of social welfare programs, nationalized healthcare system, unemployment insurance, impressive public transport infrastructure, etc. So, in this regard, I would want to live in a country where basic rights of citizens, including their right to dignity of life, are respected. With respect to globalization, it is fairly clear that such reasonable aspirations of citizens will be deeply harmed.