The Global Economy: Connecting the Roots of a Holistic System

By Dr. Denise R. Ames

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Cochin, India, global inequality.

Many of you have probably observed or experienced the economic changes that are presently occurring. Perhaps you or a family remember has lost a job as a result of the latest downturn, or perhaps your job has been outsourced to India. Perhaps you have been admonished by your teachers to study harder, since millions of well-educated Chinese students are your global competitors for future jobs.

This book on the global economy will help to sort out the confusing and overwhelming events that are directly affecting you, your future, and the lives of those around you.

I have found that there are very few books giving a general overview and realistic portrayal of the global economy in a holistic way. After an overview of terms and concepts and the historical roots of the economic system, three dimensions of the global economy are explored: neoliberalism (free market capitalism), economic globalization and financialization. Once we have a better understanding of how the global economy is organized, we are better equipped to critique it, see the fault lines, and propose solutions.

Since I have witnessed many of the changes that have taken place, I will chronicle some of my experiences and reflection on them in this book to give you a personal account of the changes that have taken place. I encourage you to do the same. Ask others you know about what they have experienced - for example, the difficulty of finding a good-paying job today. You are bound to get interesting insights and a wide reaction to the events. Everyone has his or her own story.

About the Approach in The Global Economy: Connecting the Roots of a Holistic System 

Denise with $150 in Iranian rial

I have always had a fascination with how and why the economy works as it does. When I began my research and teaching of world history in the early 1990s, I found that the economy changed over time like other cultural patterns.  My encounters with the then Soviet Union in 1989 and the simple Amish communities in central Illinois also sparked my interest in how these alternative economies worked compared to our capitalist system.

With the formation of our non-profit organization, the Center for Global Awareness, I was finally able to put together all my thoughts and research into a book on the global economy. Since I am a historian, not an economist, I wanted to look at the global economy from an outside perspective and examine the real workings of the economy, not the ideal version presented in many economics classes. Since the book is part of our non-profit curriculum offerings, I was also free to write about the economy without the worry of meeting sales goals, as most for-profit educational books must do. Neither was I constrained by a corporate textbook company that might find my approach to the global economy too controversial.

My intention in writing the book is to give a critique of the capitalist system as it functions today. Since I don’t feel that the system is working very well for the vast majority of the world’s population or for the environment, I want to convey this message in a non-confrontational way. I think this approach is needed in today’s classrooms, since we are repeatedly bombarded with a corporate message that extols the system as it exists. We need another perspective. The ultimate goal is for students who read this book and other more traditional resources about the global economy to come to their own conclusions about whether the system is working well for them, their family, their locality, their nation, and the world community.  This book provides this alternative perspective.

Table of Contents

  1. An Overview of the Global Economy
  2. Historical Roots of the Global Economy
  3. The Neoliberal Stew:
    A Dozen Essential Ingredients
  4. The Impact of Neoliberalism
    in the United States: Ten Consequences
  5. The Economic Globalization Puzzle:
    Ten Pieces
  6. The Impact of Economic Globalization
  7. The Financial Sector: Ten Fatal Flaws
  8. The Financial Sector: Crisis and its Aftermath


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The Global Economy was a hit in a class recently taught by Dr. Julia Reyes at Metro State University in Denver, CO.


A few student comments …

  • It is a very powerful read, overall, an absolutely fantastic read.
  • It was organized, well written and constantly assured the person unaware of the complexity of our world economics they were not the only people confused. I personally needed that reassurance.
  • This book could be used to teach basic world economics, or just essential information for all people trying to understand our complex world economic situation.