Printed-out kicks: a sneaker produced by a 3-D printer, Germany, March 2018.
Michael Dalder / Reuters

By many standard measures, globalization is in retreat. The 2008 financial crisis and the ensuing recession brought an end to three decades of rapid growth in the trade of goods and services. Cross-border financial flows have fallen by two-thirds. In many countries that have traditionally championed globalization, including the United States and the United Kingdom, the political conversation about trade has shifted from a focus on economic benefits to concerns about job loss, dislocation, deindustrialization, and inequality. A once solid consensus that trade is a win-win proposition has given way to zero-sum thinking and calls for higher barriers. Since November 2008, according to the research group Global Trade Alert, the G-20 countries have implemented more than 6,600 protectionist measures.

But that’s only part of the story. Even as its detractors erect new impediments and walk away from free-trade agreements, globalization is in fact continuing its forward march—but along new paths. In

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  • SUSAN LUND is a Partner at McKinsey & Company and a leader of the McKinsey Global Institute. LAURA TYSON is Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton Administration.
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  • LAURA TYSON is Distinguished Professor of the Graduate School at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. She served as Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers during the Clinton administration. 
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