What globalisation was aiming at
To overcome its own crisis, "market capitalism" took advantage of the failure of "State capitalism". In fact, the bureaucratic system did not crumble because it could not resist a growing lust for freedom or keep up with the arms escalation forced upon it by Reagan's "Star Wars" programme. Oppression was worse under Stalin, and the regime had proved in 1939-45 its ability to mass produce good quality armaments. State capitalism fell because of its incapacity to maintain the twofold compromise which was its cornerstone. In return for political submission, the workers enjoyed job protection, and social benefits inferior to most Western standards but superior to what they'd been in 1900 or 1930. Though deprived of property rights over land (except on a private plot which they cherished and which often was their main source of income), kolkhoz members were assured of working little and of eating, which had not been the case in 1921 or 1930. The inability of the USSR to redirect an economy based on heavy goods towards consumer goods did not come from technical defects, nor lack of information or will, but from a knot of relations and contradictions that had held the country together for several decades, and had hardened to the point of becoming impossible to untie.
In the West, the Fordist and Keynesian compromise is still here, but empty of most of the factors that made it real before.
There is no technological determinism. The steam engine did not cause early 19th capitalism, any more than the dynamo and the internal combustion engine caused the early 20th century capitalism. For Taylor and the assembly line to triumph, it took more than experts and investors: it took a certain labour-capital coupling. Taylorism-Fordism provided a social problem with a social solution that only matured dozens of years after the first experiments at Ford's. The electric engine, the motor car and aircraft technology existed in the 1920s, but weren't enough to implement a social breakthrough. It's only in the 1940s and 1950s that cars became common in US households, and in the 1960s in Europe.
Likewise, it's not the microchip that made present globalisation possible, it's a historical situation: the social strife of 1960-1980.
A social class follows its course to the logical possibilities that are left to it by its rivals/partners. In the 1970s, the workers knew damned well that the pay rises won by militant action were soon to be caught up by inflation, and that the bettering of their work conditions on the shop floor would result in robotisation, work intensification and unemployment. That awareness did not deter them from striking: it strengthened their determination to strike, even if more demands, in the absence of a revolutionary break, led to a historical dead-end that could only turn to their disadvantage.
Once the struggle ran out of steam and the initiative went over to capital, nothing stopped the counter-offensive: the bourgeois made the most of their victory, at the risk of damaging the "couple" relationship that conditions their existence.
Capitalists did not deregulate, privatise, lower social benefits, financiarise the economy, open up markets and increase foreign investment, because they had realised by 1980 that they would earn more if they did so. The question is why they reached a point when they were earning less, and how they found a way to earn more. Keynesianism had served their interests well. (That is why an army of economists described it in 1960 as the best solution to an "industrial society" that they said had gone beyond the ills of old-style capitalism, just like today a new generation of academics describe the erosion of Keynesianism-Fordism as the inevitable side-effect of a "post-industrial society" that's supposed to be as everlasting as the one it is said to have replaced.) The bulk of the Fordist compromise was rejected when it ceased to be socially profitable, under the pressure of worker demands and the questioning of management power on the shop floor.
After 1945, the introduction of State regulation, of controls over capital flows, of the German coupling of bank and industry, of some co-management of large companies by bosses and union leaders, guaranteed by Law and therefore by the State, was not only caused by the need for capital to protect itself against cross-border financial contagion, but also by worker pressure. In countries as different as France and the US, organised labour relied on the State as an intermediary that could defend labour rights against capital. One of the objectives of liberalisation, after 1980, was to do away with this protective national framework: the strongest English union will always be less influential in Brussels than in London. The defeat of "workers' strongholds" implied the demise of their power base within State arbitration and conciliation bodies.
Trans-nationalisation is the specific form of the bourgeois counteroffensive launched around 1980. Globalisation is not the world expansion of capital and labour: that started with the Great Discoveries of the 15th-16th centuries and was speeded up in the 19th. Present globalisation is a particular social reorganisation. There lies the difference with the "first" one, the pre-1914 one. The arrival, on a more open and unifying world market, of the Asian tigers and dragons, of ex-bureaucratic capitalisms, of India, of other Asian countries, that are all richer in labour than capital, results in a world surplus of labour in relation to capital, i.e. in a labour supply far exceeding demand, therefore a diminished cost of a commodity that capital has now difficulty to buying cheap.
The old capitalist metropolises' strategy has been to promote new, mobile, docile and often well paid strata that operate new technologies; to reduce the number of State employees and protected jobs; and above all to decompose the working class (defined and self-defining by something positive: work) into an unorganised addition of casual workers and part-timers (who are recognised and identify themselves by something negative: the lack of a stable job).