Is Globalization Today Really Different than Globalization a Hunderd Years Ago?
This paper pursues the comparison of economic integration today and pre 1914 for trade as well as finance, primarily for the United States but also with reference to the wider world. We establish the outlines of international integration a century ago and analyze the institutional and informational impediments that prevented the late nineteenth century world from achieving the same degree of integration as today. We conclude that the world today is different: commercial and financial integration before World War I was more limited. Given that integration today is even more pervasive than a hundred years ago, it is surprising that trade tensions and financial instability have not been worse in recent years. In the conclusion we point to the institutional innovations that have taken place in the past century as an explanation. This in turn suggests the way forward for national governments and multilaterals.