Globalization, the dominant economic force of this era, is a phenomenon that invites misrepresentation and exaggeration. One of its results has been to introduce several false premises into this country's policy debates. So says William Watson, whose new book draws on economics and history to pose interesting challenges to modes of thinking that have become habitual in late twentieth-century Canadian life.
Watson begins by pointing out that globalization is not new: Canadians have some 400 years' experience of being dependent on economic events in other countries. He goes on to show that deepening economic integration does not bind governments as tightly as much popular commentary suggests, but rather leaves room for considerable diversity in national economic and social policies. Although Canadians remain free to choose what size government they want, Watson argues that their decision to invest so much of their national identity in a larger-than-American state has been harmful to the country in ways that only now are becoming clear.
This vigorously argued book offers much new insight and corrects many current misperceptions about Canadian affairs. Readers will welcome its lively mix of historical and contemporary perspectives.
'William Watson ... delights in puncturing some of the beliefs Canadians hold dear ...'
'William Watson is that rarest of economists: He can write. Watson has packaged his ideas into an iconoclastic, informative and fundamentally optimistic book. It's also, needless to say, an entertaining if not a sensationalist read ... Globalization and the Meaning of Canadian Life, a briskly argued book that will infuriate some readers, also offers enough arresting analysis, digestible numbers and clear prose to satisfy anyone interested in thinking about the Canada of yesterday, today and tomorrow.'
Jeffrey Simpson, Globe and Mail
'One of William Watson's great achievements through this remarkable book is his ability to debunk, with humour, the layers of political and economic hokum at the core of modern-day Canadian nationalism.'
'William Watson has written an indispensable book, one that will infuriate Canada's subsidy-nationalists and cheer every real patriot.'