The World According to Walter

Wriston, Walter B.


The globalization of everything

The globalization of everything


Knowledge, in the form of technology, has combined with finance in a new and unique way that makes obsolete many ideas. Among them is the notion of compartmentalized national markets. The concept of markets has changed in much the same way that the advent of the tank in World War I and air power in World War II changed the concept of military power....

The global marketplace is reality. Money and ideas can and do move to any place on this planet in seconds, and there is no longer any place to hide from the judgments of others.

Every day, a computer system called CHIPS in the New York Clearing House processes the debits and credits of London Eurodollar trading in a volume approaching some $200 billion....This market is not just more of the same: it is something new in the world. It has changed the world....Speed is what transforms a harmless lump of lead into a rifle bullet, or a collection of snapshots into a motion picture. When speed is combined with size in the financial markets, the market that's created becomes totally new and an integral part of our evolving world order....

Satellites have made communication costs almost insensitive to distance. There has been steady elimination of economic and technical barriers to the instantaneous exchange of information....This information is not always welcome and the political implications are enormous, even though barely visible.

Since the digital information flowing in cables or moving through space will include such things as television shows, telephone conversations, and the stock market averages, all mixed together in a single stream, it becomes increasingly impossible to maintain any of the traditional distinctions between transmissions carrying news, entertainment, financial data, or even personal phone calls,... and even harder to pass laws restricting the transmission of one kind of information without impinging on the others....

Since the first commercial communications satellite was sent up in 1964, we have been moving closer and closer to a one-world, integrated economic and financial marketplace which governments-and all of us - must learn to live with... .The global, information-intensive marketplace for ideas, money, goods, and services knows no national boundaries.