Globalization: A Fetish of (Post) Modernity
Throughout the enormous literature on ‘globalization’ there is a common theme that worldwide social, political, and economic transformations have contributed to reconfigurations and re-articulations of the world-system. The contention is that due to to recent technological revolutions in communication, media, and transportation, a ‘new international division of labor' has ensued a unique 'global' sociological imagination; the national 'state' as a principle of structuration is unsatisfactory for the social scientist - the 'space of flows' has replaced the 'space of places' (Ruggie, 1993). Dynamic connective configurations beget 'transnational' corporations omnipresent vertically disintegrated and horizontally integrated in an irresistible Gramscian transnational historic bloc of 'neoliberalism'.
This approach downplays the primary force driving globalization, which is financialization - the international transformation of future streams of (profit, dividend, or interest) income into tradeable financial assets. The systemic power and importance of financial markets, financial motives, financial institutions, and financial élites manifestly delink the national state from perceived social, political, and economic processes. Given US hegemony in the world-system (cf. Fields & Vernengo, 2012), however, the US Federal Reserve (along with the US Treasury and Wall Street) sets the conditions for financialization, since it acts as a safety valve for mass amounts of international liquidity necessary the transnationalisation of corporate power (Arrighi, 1999: 223).
US monetary policy is the international transmission mechanism for global economic activity. As such, to suggest that methodological nationalism is not befitting, because it blinds social science to the multi-dimensional process of change that has irreversibly transformed the very nature of the social world and the place of states within it, is a ‘just so’ story of prejudgement that overlooks how the world-system operates within a particular institutional setting.
As Bertell Ollman (see here) notes:
"There is also a related tendency to overestimate the speed of change, along with a corresponding tendency to underestimate all that is holding it back. Thus, relatively minor cracks on the surface of capitalist reality are too easily mistaken for gaping chasms on the verge of becoming earthquakes. [...] non-dialectical thinking leads people to be surprised whenever a major change occurs, because they aren't looking for it and don't expect it, because it isn't an internal part of how they conceive of the world at this moment [...]"