Globalization in retreat

Foreign Policy in Focus , December 27th, 2006

, by BELLO Walden

When it first became part of the English vocabulary in the early 1990s, « globalization » was supposed to be the wave of the future. Fifteen years ago, the writings of globalist thinkers such as Kenichi Ohmae and Robert Reich celebrated the advent of the emergence of the so-called « borderless world ». The process by which relatively autonomous national economies become functionally integrated into one global economy was touted as « irreversible ». And the people who opposed globalization were disdainfully dismissed as modern day incarnations of the Luddites that destroyed machines during the Industrial Revolution.

Fifteen years later, despite runaway shops and outsourcing, what passes for an international economy remains a collection of national economies. These economies are interdependent no doubt, but domestic factors still largely determine their dynamics. Globalization, in fact, has reached its high water mark and is receding.