The New Rules: Whatever Happened to Deglobalization?

The New Rules: Whatever Happened to Deglobalization?

In the midst of deep crisis, cooler heads rarely hold sway -- at least in the public discourse. Thus it was that just a year ago, we heard from many experts -- and joyous activists -- that globalization was on its deathbed: The global economy was on the verge of a great and permanent unraveling. It was to be an inexorable and exact reversal of everything that defined the go-go globalization of the 1990s, replete with social and political unrest of the highest order. In effectively re-enacting the Great Depression of the 1930s, we even faced the incredible prospect of resumed great-power war.

This fear-filled perspective was hardly limited to the margins. The Wall Street Journal cited the "danger of turning inward," while the Economist bemoaned that "the integration of the world is in retreat on almost every front." The Washington Post likewise cited "a global economy in retreat," and the New Republic warned, "If you thought globalization was destabilizing, just wait to see what deglobalization will do." In the words of author Walden Bellow, widely credited with coining the term "deglobalization," globalization was "terminally discredited."

Alas, the real world apparently did not get the memo.

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