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Yes, Globalization Passed Its Peak

Will It Ever Come Back?

Courtesy Reuters

Two years ago, in an article in the January/February issue of Foreign Affairs, we argued that the process of worldwide economic integration was likely to continue but that political support for globalization was rapidly weakening. Without political and institutional underpinnings, we feared, the single global economic space could disintegrate, just as it had during the 1930s. Politicians and mass publics in the United States, Europe, and Asia were not only skeptical that the benefits of globalization outweighed the costs, they also seemed intent on raising new barriers to the movement of people, capital, goods, and services across borders. The future looked muddled, driven by strong technological forces pushing global commercial and financial integration forward and equally potent political forces pushing in the opposite direction.

At the time, many people considered us overly pessimistic. Now it looks like we might have been too sanguine. The IMF predicts that global economic

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