Its the Size of the Market, not the Country that Counts

ROME: Talk of globalization, of a global economy, is unavoidable. But at the same time that the world witnessed the growth of this economy, it also saw incredible political fragmentation. In 1946 there were 76 independent nations, by 1996 there were 192. Of these, more than half had populations under 6 million; 58, less than 2 ˝ million; and 35, less than ˝ million.

Size does not seem to determine a country's success. Small countries – say, Singapore and Taiwan – have grown a lot, and large countries, too, have grown. Take Japan, despite its recent setbacks, and China in recent decades. There are small countries – Haiti, for example – as well as large – Nigeria – where the economies are basket cases.

So the size of countries does not seem to influence growth. Instead, its the size of the market that influences growth. In an autarkic economic system with international commerce reduced to the minimum, the political size of the country corresponds to the size of its market. In the global economy, the market is the rest of the world: the size of the market and the political size of each country are entirely independent. In today's global economy small countries can prosper quietly trading with the rest of the world: there does not exist any advantage in terms of the size of the domestic market.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

Registration is quick and easy and requires only your email address. If you already have an account with us, please log in. Or subscribe now for unlimited access.

required

Log in

http://prosyn.org/kVPeuPu;
  1. An employee works at a chemical fiber weaving company VCG/Getty Images

    China in the Lead?

    For four decades, China has achieved unprecedented economic growth under a centralized, authoritarian political system, far outpacing growth in the Western liberal democracies. So, is Chinese President Xi Jinping right to double down on authoritarianism, and is the “China model” truly a viable rival to Western-style democratic capitalism?

  2. The assembly line at Ford Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

    Whither the Multilateral Trading System?

    The global economy today is dominated by three major players – China, the EU, and the US – with roughly equal trading volumes and limited incentive to fight for the rules-based global trading system. With cooperation unlikely, the world should prepare itself for the erosion of the World Trade Organization.

  3. Donald Trump Saul Loeb/Getty Images

    The Globalization of Our Discontent

    Globalization, which was supposed to benefit developed and developing countries alike, is now reviled almost everywhere, as the political backlash in Europe and the US has shown. The challenge is to minimize the risk that the backlash will intensify, and that starts by understanding – and avoiding – past mistakes.

  4. A general view of the Corn Market in the City of Manchester Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

    A Better British Story

    Despite all of the doom and gloom over the United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from the European Union, key manufacturing indicators are at their highest levels in four years, and the mood for investment may be improving. While parts of the UK are certainly weakening economically, others may finally be overcoming longstanding challenges.

  5. UK supermarket Waring Abbott/Getty Images

    The UK’s Multilateral Trade Future

    With Brexit looming, the UK has no choice but to redesign its future trading relationships. As a major producer of sophisticated components, its long-term trade strategy should focus on gaining deep and unfettered access to integrated cross-border supply chains – and that means adopting a multilateral approach.

  6. The Year Ahead 2018

    The world’s leading thinkers and policymakers examine what’s come apart in the past year, and anticipate what will define the year ahead.

    Order now