Chained to Globalization

Why It’s Too Late to Decouple

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In 1999, the columnist Thomas Friedman pronounced the Cold War geopolitical system dead. The world, he wrote, had “gone from a system built around walls to a system increasingly built around networks.” As businesses chased efficiency and profits, maneuvering among great powers was falling away. An era of harmony was at hand, in which states’ main worries would be how to manage market forces rather than one another. Friedman was right that a globalized world had arrived but wrong about what that world would look like. Instead of liberating governments and businesses, globalization entangled them. As digital networks, financial flows, and supply …