Globalization is a One-way Street

来源: CHINA FOREX 2017 Issue 2 作者:Mu Zhiqian
The global economy seems to be entering a new phase of uncertainty. Over the past year and a half  a series of "Black Swan" events -- from terror attacks to a refugee crisis -- have alarmed people around the world. The European Union itself was profoundly shaken by Britain's shock decision to abandon the regional grouping - a cornerstone of cooperation and integration. US voters chose a populist leader who has embraced a narrow ideal of "America First" -- at the expense of international collaboration,demonstrated all too clearly with the decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. And now the terms "de-globalization" and "anti-globalization" are heard with increasing frequency.

It is not unreasonable to wonder whether someone has inadvertently pressed the "turn back the clock" button.

There have been two great waves of globalization in recent history. The first one over a century ago made the U.S into the biggest industrial power and the world's predominant economy in the 20th century. It also helped make the US into the "international rule-writer." Another wave of globalization came in the 1980s,when the U.K and the U.S broke market barriers via trade liberalization. This helped lift the Western world out of a decade of stagflation. All of this laid a solid foundation for the information industrial revolution and propelled the global economy on a track of rapid development. In short,economic globalization became the optimal way to allocate the world's productive resources and seek out  "comparative advantages" among various countries in order to establish an efficient global industrial chain.

Globalization is a developmental process that has yet to reach its full potential.  But in order to achieve its promise some of its most glaring flaws must be addressed. Developed economies have shifted their traditional industries to developing economies and this has weakened their domestic manufacturing capabilities. This has damaged the interests of the middle class and increased unemployment in some parts of the world. Some developing countries have been marginalized in the process of industrial transfers while others have been overwhelmed by waves of refugees as a result of regional conflicts or economic stagnation. Elsewhere in the developing world,growing income disparity has led to larger groups of low income households. Globalization at times seems to be unable to achieve "inclusive prosperity." Increased wealth appears to create among countries and social classes as well as between holders of capital and the suppliers of labor. Consequently,appeals to the "superiority" of one culture over another have become a handy way to win over public opinion.

However,human beings have the wisdom to tackle these difficulties and honorable political leaders are capable of guiding the global economy to prosperity. History rarely develops in a smooth and consistent manner. It is a pattern of backing and filling,fits and starts,ups and downs. We can expect more detours and diversions but the direction is clearly forward - and globalization is the essential path.