A Post-Globalization World?
(Extracts from a long analysis by the Straford agency)
"Many people have grown tired of waiting for the benefits of a vastly interconnected world to trickle down. As the world whizzes by them, their wages remain flat and jobs become scarcer. Then it becomes convenient to blame their straits on the immigrant speaking a strange tongue and taking their employment opportunities.
These people are not studying demographic charts and complex economic models to understand why their country needs immigrants in the long run, nor are they lying awake at night fretting over a Moody's downgrade. The more sophisticated rhetoric they hear about the benefits to come - and the fewer benefits they actually see - the more distrustful they become. As John Maynard Keynes said, "in the long run we are all dead."
The masses begin to crave plain speak on a simple path to a better life. The populist leaders who answer their call know perfectly well that a simple path does not exist. They will find neither the political establishment's support nor the financial resources to make good on their promises. Expectations breed further disappointment, and more political volatility ensues.
This picture contrasts with the ever-increasing openness and integration promoted by many pundits who equate more connectivity with greater stability. Instead, we may be entering a post-globalization world. The integration of Central and Eastern Europe and China into the world economy over the past quarter-century set off record trade expansion, culminating in super-stretched supply chains, massive shipping fleets and cross-hemispheric trade proposals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. But global trade growth has been in structural decline since the Great Recession. Faced with slower growth, countries in the developing and the developed world will still be driven to seek out additional markets, but the path will be slower and rockier thanks to a tempestuous blend of political conflict within states, geopolitical divergences between states and, in the longer run, technological shifts that will transform the way we consume, build and trade internationally.