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Global Perspectives on the Early Economic History of South Carolina


Coclanis, Peter A. (2005). Global Perspectives on the Early Economic History of South Carolina. South Carolina Historical Magazine, 106(2-3), 130-146.


WHETHER ONE ASSOCIATES THE INTERNATIONALIZATION OF the South Carolina economy with state-of-the-art BMW plants or with shuttered textile mills, we know that the era of globalization is upon us. To South Carolinians of "a certain age," however, the internationalization of the Palmetto State did not begin with the fall of the Berlin Wall or the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., as some would have us believe, but with the governorship of John C. West. Holding office from 1971 to 1975, West worked tirelessly to lure foreign direct investment into South Carolina, enjoying a good deal of success, most notably with the recruitment of French tire giant Michelin into the state. To people with longer memories, much of the credit in this regard should actually go to industrial recruiter Richard E. Tukey, who in the 1950s and 1960s laid the groundwork for South Carolina's later internationalization by convincing huge firms such as the German chemical company Hoechst to set up operations in the Palmetto State. However one feels about West and Tukey, whatever one's position on free trade, offshore outsourcing, or "Benedict Arnold corporations," there is a tendency to view globalization, whether defined as a process or a condition, as a modern phenomenon. To paraphrase an old Sunday School line, "Globalization is unprecedented, this I know, for CNN's Lou Dobbs told me so."


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

South Carolina Historical Magazine


Coclanis, Peter A.