There's no question that globalization, in its modern American form of expanding free trade, just went through its worst crisis to date. But while economists debate whether or not we in the West are collectively heading toward a 1938-like "second dip," it's important to realize just how myopic our fears are about the future of a world economy that America went out of its way to create, defend, and grow these past seven decades.
First, no matter how severe any second dip becomes, comparing our current plight to the Great Depression of the 1930s is an exercise in profound hyperbole, especially when you consider the dynamics of cooperation among the world's leading economies. Defying all doomsday predictions, the G-20 member states immediately came together at the outset of the crisis to coordinate an unprecedented collection of public-sector stimulus packages. No trade wars erupted, nor was there any scary political stampede -- anywhere -- to the fascist right or the communist left. We are not on a path toward great-power war -- much less world war. Indeed, the planet is now more peaceful, on a per capita basis, than at any time in world history. Our biggest collective dispute? How fast to retrench from this fantastic splurge of public deficit-spending.
Not exactly Mad Max racing beyond Thunderdome, is it?