Thursday , August 17 2017
Home / Project Syndicate / Restoring Faith in Globalization

Restoring Faith in Globalization

Summary:
MUNICH – I must confess that I am a firm believer in the benefits of globalization. To my mind, the gradual interlinking of regions, countries, and people is the most profoundly positive development of our time. But a populist has now assumed the United States presidency by campaigning on a platform of stark economic nationalism and protectionism. And in many countries, public discourse is dominated by talk of globalization’s alleged “losers,” and the perceived need for new policies to stem the rise of populist discontent. When I was born, the world’s population was 2.5 billion. I vividly recall a time in my life when many people feared that starvation would soon run rampant, gaps between the rich and poor would grow ever wider, and everything would eventually come crashing down. We now live in a world with 7.5 billion people, and yet the share of people living in absolute poverty has declined rapidly, while the gap between rich and poor countries has steadily closed. Around the world, average life expectancy has increased from 48 to 71 years – albeit with significant differences between countries – and overall per capita income has grown by 500%. Just looking back at the last 25 years, one could argue that humanity has had its best quarter-century ever.

Topics:
Carl Bildt considers the following as important:

This could be interesting, too:

Paul Murphy writes Markets Live: Thursday, 17th August, 2017

Alexandra Scaggs writes Reminder: Your “self-destructing” messages do not actually self-destruct

Matthew C Klein writes Real interest rates aren’t particularly low

Izabella Kaminska writes Further reading

MUNICH – I must confess that I am a firm believer in the benefits of globalization. To my mind, the gradual interlinking of regions, countries, and people is the most profoundly positive development of our time.

But a populist has now assumed the United States presidency by campaigning on a platform of stark economic nationalism and protectionism. And in many countries, public discourse is dominated by talk of globalization’s alleged “losers,” and the perceived need for new policies to stem the rise of populist discontent.

When I was born, the world’s population was 2.5 billion. I vividly recall a time in my life when many people feared that starvation would soon run rampant, gaps between the rich and poor would grow ever wider, and everything would eventually come crashing down.

We now live in a world with 7.5 billion people, and yet the share of people living in absolute poverty has declined rapidly, while the gap between rich and poor countries has steadily closed. Around the world, average life expectancy has increased from 48 to 71 years – albeit with significant differences between countries – and overall per capita income has grown by 500%.

Just looking back at the last 25 years, one could argue that humanity has had its best quarter-century ever. Since 1990, the share of people living in extreme poverty in the developing world has fallen from 47% to 14%, and child mortality – a critical indicator – has been halved. The world has never seen anything like this before.

A similarly bright picture emerges from other indicators. Fewer people are dying on battlefields than during previous periods for which we have data; and, at least until a few years ago, the share of people living under more or less representative governments was gradually increasing.

This spectacular progress has been driven partly by advances in science and technology. But it owes at least as much to increased economic interaction through trade and investment, and to the overarching liberal order that has enabled these positive developments. In short, globalization has been the single most important force behind decades of progress.

These days, trade is often wrongly blamed for shuttering factories and displacing workers in developed countries. But, in reality, the disappearance of older industries stems primarily from new technologies that have improved productivity and expanded the wealth of our societies. Likewise, rising inequality, real or imagined, has far more to do with technology than with trade.

To be sure, there are not as many farmers...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *