Whither Globalization and Supply Chain?
- Author Chul Chung
Globalization has been a dominant trend in the world economy over the past few decades. However, in recent years, globalization may be facing headwinds. While globalization has brought about many benefits, such as economic growth, poverty reduction, and increased access to goods and services, it has also been criticized for being responsible for rising inequality, environmental degradation, and social disruptions. So, is globalization over? This might be a defining question for today’s global economy. Professor Joseph Nye of Harvard University wrote an article with the exact title in March this year. Early in 2020, right after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, deglobalization quickly became a buzzword. Professor Douglas Irwin of Dartmouth College, among others, wrote a column for VoxEU, which was titled, “The pandemic adds momentum to the deglobalisation trend.” In stark contrast to what these titles suggest, however, both of them argue the opposite in their conclusions. More recently, tensions between the US and China have risen sharply, leading to elevated pressure for decoupling of the global supply chain and intense competition in critical indus-tries and advanced technologies. Nevertheless, in a speech at Johns Hopkins University a few days ago, US Treasury Secre-tary Janet Yellen warned that any US effort to decouple from China would be “disastrous” and called for a “constructive and fair” economic relationship between China and the US. Secre-tary Yellen’s speech might be reinforcing the view that it requires collective efforts and coop-eration of all stakeholders to address pressing global common issues. Globalization is not going away, at least for the time being. Rather, it is evolving, with its gov-ernance undergoing a transformation required to adapt to the changing economic realities.
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