GS colloquium with Helmut Anheier: Quandaries of Globalization

Event Date: 

Wednesday, March 6, 2019 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Helmut Anheier, Quandaries of globalization:

During the height of the 1990s globalization spurt, Ralf Dahrendorf (1995) argued that a growing world economy creates “perverse choices” for liberal democracies: staying competitive requires either adopting measures detrimental to the cohesion of civil society, or restricting civil liberties and political participation. For OECD countries, the task ahead for the early 21st century, he writes, “is to square the circle between growth, social cohesion and political freedom.”  This challenge became known as the Dahrendorf Quandary (Buti and Pichelmann 2017). Writing after the 2008/9 financial crisis, Dani Rodrik (2011) suggested a version of the quandary, the Rodrik Trilemma.  Phrased as an impossibility theorem, it posits that “that democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible: we can combine any two of the three, but never have all three simultaneously and in full.” It seems that Dahrendorf and Rodrik have pointed to the fundamental challenge of modern Western societies, the incompatibility of the underlying drivers involved and the asynchrony of the ensuing processes. The economic drivers of globalization undermine the nation state, hence national sovereignty, and in turn, democracy through loss of legitimacy.  Nativist economic strategies may strengthen the national state, even democracy, but lessen economic growth.  Inherent are grave dangers, be they left or right populism mixed with identity politics, as Rodrik suggests, or, as Dahrendorf put it, authoritarian temptations and divided societies. The purpose of the paper is to examine the empirical foundations of Dahrendorf´s and Rodrik´s propositions and their implications. 

Helmut K. Anheier is Professor of Sociology at the Hertie School of Governance, and Adjunct Professor at UCLA´s Luskins School of Public Affairs. He served as President of the Hertie School from 2009 to 2018. His research centers on indicator systems, governance, culture, philanthropy, and organizational studies. Anheier is the principal academic lead of the Hertie School's annual Governance Report (Oxford University Press). He also holds a Chair of Sociology at Heidelberg University and serves as Academic Director of the Centre for Social Investment. He is the Academic Co-Director of the Dahrendorf Forum, a joint initiative by the Hertie School and the London School of Economics and Political Science. He received his PhD from Yale University in 1986, was a senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins University’s Institute for Policy Studies, Professor of Public Policy and Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. Anheier is author of over 450 publications, many in leading journals, and has received various international awards. Before embarking on an academic career, he served as Social Affairs Officer at the United Nations.