President Donald Trump’s 2016 victory and other nationalist “political earthquakes” have put globalization advocates on the defensive while even convincing some economists who once believed in globalization like a religion to change their minds, Nikil Saval writes after having attended this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.
At Davos, according to Saval, “by all reports the mood was one of anxiety, defensiveness and self-reproach”: “The future of economic globalisation, for which the Davos men and women see themselves as caretakers, had been shaken by a series of political earthquakes.”
He writes that “in a panel titled ‘Governing Globalisation,’” the economist Dambisa Moyo, “otherwise a well-known supporter of free trade, forthrightly asked the audience to accept that ‘there have been significant losses’” from globalization.
Saval notes that the Brexit result and Trump’s election meant that “the barbarians weren’t at the gates to the ski-lifts yet – but they weren’t very far” since “the backlash to globalisation has helped fuel the extraordinary political shifts of the past 18 months.”
“Americanism, not globalism, shall be our creed,” Trump said on the campaign trail, as Saval points out. In the UK, he notes that “the vote for Brexit was strongest in the regions of the UK devastated by the flight of manufacturing.” British prime minister Theresa May, he notes, said at Davos that “talk of greater globalisation … means their jobs being outsourced and wages undercut.”