The conclusion contains brief recommendations for action to make free trade really "free".
An initial look at the term globalisation implies that some "thing" or "phenomenon" is spreading throughout the globe and in the process becoming "global", or globalising. Whilst diseases, ideas, information, or even weather disturbances can go global, the current usage of the term "globalisation" is in reference to free trade in goods, services, and labour among the world's nations. Thus, globalisation and free trade are understood to be one and the same.
Micklethwait and Wooldridge (2000) described globalisation (p. xvi) as the "integration of the world economy, reshaping business and reordering the lives of individuals, creating social classes, different jobs, unimaginable wealth and, occasionally, wretched poverty." Stiglitz defined it earlier (2002, p. 164) as "the integration of countries and peoples of the world brought about by the enormous reduction of transportation and communication costs, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flow of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and people across borders." The use of "integration" in both definitions implies a reference to a previous state marked by separation. Integration in the context of international trade signifies that economic and business laws, political systems, cultural differences, and all other factors that act as barriers to the economic relationship amongst nations are minimised or removed, made compatible and attractive enough for trade to take place.
Free trade amongst nations is not a recent phenomenon. It has been going on for centuries, and as discussed in the next section, it has caused prosperity and poverty, sometimes becoming a prelude to wars as nations battled each other for supremacy. Trade amongst nations was pretty straightforward, regulated by the law of supply and demand and bartering. But as societies became complex and the control of wealth shifted from nobles to industrialists, the world's socio-economic order underwent a radical shift as the growth in populations increase the pressure for governments to satisfy the people (Yergin et al., 1998, p. 189).
The driving force of free trade was Britain, the world's superpower in the 18th and 19th centuries. British goods were traded all over the globe, made from materials extracted from colonies that spanned an empire where the sun never sets. Law and order were maintained by a powerful army and navy that kept trade routes safe. London's financial system dipped its fingers into every business pie. Understandably, Britain sowed the intellectual seeds of globalisation and free trade, inspired by the works of Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations, 1776), David Ricardo (On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation, 1817), and James Stuart Mill (Elements of Political Economy, 1821).
Smith emphasised the invisible hand of free markets that