Globalization has profoundly shaped the world we live in, yet its rise was neither inevitable nor planned. It is also one of the most contentious issues of our time. While it may have made goods less expensive, it has also sent massive flows of money across borders and shaken the global balance of power. Outside the Box offers a fresh and lively history of globalization, showing how it has evolved over two centuries in response to changes in demographics, technology, and consumer tastes.
Marc Levinson, the acclaimed author of The Box, tells the story of globalization through the people who eliminated barriers and pursued new ways of doing business. He shows how the nature of globalization changed dramatically in the 1980s with the creation of long-distance value chains. This new type of economic relationship shifted manufacturing to Asia, destroying millions of jobs and devastating industrial centers in North America, Europe, and Japan. Levinson describes how improvements in transportation, communications, and computing made international value chains possible, but how globalization was taken too far because of large government subsidies and the systematic misjudgment of risk by businesses. As companies began to account properly for the risks of globalization, cross-border investment fell sharply and foreign trade lagged long before Donald Trump became president and the coronavirus disrupted business around the world.
In Outside the Box, Levinson explains that globalization is entering a new era in which moving stuff will matter much less than moving services, information, and ideas.
Awards and Recognition
- Winner of the Gold Medal in International Business / Globalization, Axiom Business Book Awards
"[The] exploration of trade’s future is particularly thought-provoking. . . . One lesson of Mr. Levinson’s absorbing, centuries-long survey is that evolving global systems are always vulnerable to unexpected events."—Matthew Rees, Wall Street Journal
"Smart and exceptionally well-timed."—Justin Fox, Bloomberg
"Ostensibly a history of international trade through three distinct ‘globalizations,’ Outside the Box is most useful as a chronicle of how the pre-2008 model of complex, globe-spanning, just-in-time manufacturing has been exposed as fragile, inefficient, and opaque."—Mike Jakeman, strategy+business
"Outside the Box is an intriguing synergy of social-sciences analysis, a useful aide memoire, a captivating read. Marc Levinson synthesizes well and writes smoothly, with a light touch of irony—very smart non-fiction."—Linda Quest, International Social Science Review
"Marc Levinson’s Outside the Box is a timely and fascinating discussion of globalization."—Andreas Grein, Journal of Economic Literature
"A valuable and stimulating contribution to the literature which can be profitably (and enjoyably) read by economist and non-economist alike."—Ian Harwood, Society of Professional Economists
"Levinson provides a captivating account of globalisation by interlinking historical events that we know a great deal about with more obscure ones. Globalisation is not over – just different. I, for one, am glad it is ongoing as it will allow Levinson to produce a follow-up book."—Alex Gray, Financial World
"This book is an interesting addition to the reading list of professionals and policymakers, which will help them think outside the box to integrate globalization and resilience for a sustainable global supply chain that is essential during this uncertain and challenging times. Nevertheless, this book can also serve as an idea-generating platform for academic readers in the field of globalization and international trade."—Satya Sahoo, Journal of Maritime Affairs
"Levinson deals lucidly with thorny matters. . . . A rational, welcome exploration of an international trade that is now at a crossroads, becoming less global than regional."—Kirkus Reviews
"Marc Levinson's The Box is the best single book about globalization as it struck and remade the world. His Outside the Box is a superb look at how globalization is itself changing—and in the process hopefully changing us from a world in which globalization has big winners and losers to one in which globalization is truly win-win."—J. Bradford DeLong, coauthor of The End of Influence: What Happens When Other Countries Have the Money
"Stimulating. In this excellent book, Levinson brings new insights to the story of globalization."—Mira Wilkins, author of The History of Foreign Investment in the United States, 1914–1945
"A sweeping and lucid account of the world's encounter with globalization across the past century. Marc Levinson is especially illuminating about the current moment, and how globalization's new 'operating system' is quietly but powerfully reshaping the spheres in which we live and work. Outside the Box superbly dissects the inner workings of the international economy."—Gary Gerstle, author of Liberty and Coercion: The Paradox of American Government from the Founding to the Present