In his Washington Post column Fareed Zakaria whines about “deglobalization” and complains that it’s all our fault:
This phase of deglobalization is being steered from the top. The world’s leading nations are, as always, the agenda setters. The example of China, which has shielded some of its markets and still grown rapidly, has made a deep impression on much of the world. Probably deeper still is the example of the planet’s greatest champion of liberty and openness, the United States, which now has a president who calls for managed trade, more limited immigration and protectionist measures. At Davos, Trump invited every nation to follow his example. More and more are complying.
The emphasis is mine. How can deglobalization possibly be attributed to U. S. policy and Donald Trump in particular, if China is the impetus? More evidence from earlier in the column:
Ruchir Sharma of Morgan Stanley Investment Management points out that since 2008, we have entered a phase of “deglobalization.” Global trade, which rose almost uninterruptedly since the 1970s, has stagnated, while capital flows have fallen.
I also find the notion that other countries follow our lead laughable. That’s a pretext. They’re pursuing their own interests.
Although China’s manifest zero-sum game approach to economics (I win—you lose) is a contributing factor to the disillusionment with globalization, it isn’t the only reason. I don’t just blame China. 98% of the economic surplus from trade with China is being captured by producers. Millions of jobs in manufacturing have evaporated, many moving to China. In today’s United States most of the jobs being created fall into one of three categories:
- Bedpan emptiers
- Burger flippers
- Jobs that will be filled by outsourcers
Month after month since the early Aughts that’s what the Department of Labor’s monthly Labor Situation Report has said. People have noticed and politicians are following, very belatedly, what the people want.
China presently has enough productive capacity in a number of sectors not only to supply China’s needs for the foreseeable future but to supply the world’s needs and it has announced its intention to do the same in several of the sectors of the future. If your mission is to save globalization, you will need to start changing hearts and minds and most of those hearts and minds are either in China or corporate boardrooms.