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Fact-Checking the Deglobalization Narrative

If governments get it right, a more subdued, but also more sustainable and longer-lasting kind of globalization will emerge. And in an open and growing world economy, peddlers of deglobalization theories will find it easier to change jobs and re-skill.

LONDON – “The left and the right united shall never be defeated,” claimed the Chilean poet Nicanor Parra, and the current debate over deglobalization illustrates the point. So-called progressives never liked fast growth in world trade and now greet any reversal with cries of “I told you so!” Globalization-supporting conservatives, on the other hand, react to the smallest setback with Chicken Little-like cries that “the sky is falling!”

Both camps have an interest in exaggerating the extent of deglobalization. The result is a widely accepted narrative of decline: After repeated financial crises, a nativist reaction, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now Russia’s war on Ukraine, globalization’s days are numbered.

It’s an eye-catching claim. But is it true?

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