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When Globalization Goes Digital

WASHINGTON, DC – American voters are angry. But while the ill effects of globalization top their list of grievances, nobody is well served when complex economic issues are reduced to bumper-sticker slogans – as they have been thus far in the presidential campaign.

It is unfair to dismiss concerns about globalization as unfounded. America deserves to have an honest debate about its effects. In order to yield constructive solutions, however, all sides will need to concede some inconvenient truths – and to recognize that globalization is not the same phenomenon it was 20 years ago.

Protectionists fail to see how the United States’ eroding industrial base is compatible with the principle that globalization boosts growth. But the evidence supporting that principle is too substantial to ignore.

Recent research by the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) echoes the findings of other academics: global flows of goods, foreign direct investment, and data have increased global GDP by roughly 10% compared to what it would have been had those flows never occurred. The extra value provided by globalization amounted to $7.8 trillion in 2014 alone.