CAMBRIDGE – The world economy will shrink this year for the first time since 1945, and some economists worry that the current crisis could spell the beginning of the end of globalization. Hard economic times are correlated with protectionism, as each country blames others and protects its domestic jobs. In the 1930’s, such “beggar-thy-neighbor” policies worsened the situation. Unless political leaders resist such responses, the past could become the future.
Ironically, however, such a grim prospect would not mean the end of globalization, defined as the increase in worldwide networks of interdependence. Globalization has several dimensions, and, though economists all too often portray it and the world economy as being one and the same, other forms of globalization also have significant effects – not all of them benign – on our daily lives.