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The Dangerous New Anti-Globalization Consensus

8 9 1
03.05.2022

The long-time critics of globalization who warned us that it would end badly are having a told-you-so moment. Porous borders, free trade, and thinly stretched supply chains would make the world more fragile, they cried, leaving countries dangerously vulnerable to disruptions and shocks. It took a protectionist U.S. president, a global pandemic, and a new European war to prove them right.

For decades, the critics were mostly ignored because the benefits of global integration were simply too compelling to those who pulled the levers in government and large corporations. The dissenting voices could only throw a bit of sand in the gears. They forced globalization’s cheerleaders to accept a few minor brakes on unfettered commerce and mobility, such as labor and environmental standards for trade, and tougher border inspections for people and goods.

Now that the disruptions are piling one on top of the other, a new consensus has taken hold in the world’s advanced economies: It’s time to deglobalize. The better path now is to control borders more tightly, build resilient supply chains, pursue self-sufficiency in critical technologies, and inflict trade sanctions on adversaries regardless of global trade rules. But deglobalization has its own long list of costs and dangers, from rising inflation and labor shortages to resurgent protectionism and shocks to the global financial system. Vigorous opposition is needed to highlight those costs and help pull governments back from the more extreme versions of disintegration. It is time for the next generation of critics to find its voice.

The long-time critics of globalization who warned us that it would end badly are having a told-you-so moment. Porous borders, free trade, and thinly stretched supply chains would make the world more fragile, they cried, leaving countries dangerously vulnerable to disruptions and shocks. It took a protectionist U.S. president, a global pandemic, and a new European war to prove them right.

For decades, the critics were mostly ignored because the benefits of global integration were simply too compelling to those who pulled the levers in government and large corporations. The dissenting voices could only throw a bit of sand in the gears. They forced globalization’s cheerleaders to accept a few minor brakes on unfettered commerce and mobility, such as labor and environmental standards for trade, and tougher border inspections for people and goods.

Now that the disruptions are piling one on top of the other, a new consensus has taken hold in the world’s advanced economies: It’s time to deglobalize. The better path now is to control borders more tightly, build resilient supply chains, pursue self-sufficiency in critical technologies, and inflict trade sanctions on adversaries regardless of global trade rules. But deglobalization has its own long list of costs and dangers, from rising inflation and labor shortages to resurgent protectionism and shocks to the global financial system. Vigorous opposition is needed to highlight those costs and help pull governments back from the more extreme versions of disintegration. It is time for the next generation of critics to find........

© Foreign Policy


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