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by John Brian Shannon | June 7, 2016
Globalization was inevitable. Both the positives and negatives of globalization were inevitable. And we’re now moving into a more mature phase of globalization — a phase where common sense plays a much larger role.
After all, does it make more sense to import onions from thousands of miles away in Chile or Indonesia for example, or to grow them on the rooftop of your local big box grocery store?
Think of the CO2 emission savings alone as one way of many to demonstrate how unrestricted globalization works against our common good.
For years I’ve talked-up the benefits of ‘Regionalism‘ where the largest share of goods and services are provided to consumers and business by producers and manufacturers within that economic or geographic region.
It’s not only in regards to fresh produce. With 3D printing and a regional facility ‘the latest thing’ can be manufactured in minutes, regionally, although the online order may have been received thousands of miles away — resulting in faster shipping and larger numbers of (regional) jobs, as opposed to the One Big Factory model, building ‘the latest thing’ in Shenzhen, China.
Of course it works both ways.
For Chinese consumers who want the latest Ford F-150 pickup truck, does it make sense to have one shipped from thousands of miles away in North America, or does it make more sense that Ford builds an assembly plant in China (and hires local workers) and fills orders from there?
I think there is still more growth to be milked out of globalization, but the next logical step is Regionalism which will cut costs, improve profits, and give consumers and business more and better choices. In high unemployment jurisdictions I would expect to see rates fall — perhaps dramatically, while low unemployment jurisdictions may see tiny improvements.
Although I agree with international trade agreements in principle, TPP seems excessively weighted toward corporate interests and not toward consumers or national sovereignty. For that reason I’m against it. The cloud of secrecy surrounding TPP certainly hasn’t helped. And the fact that someone of the rare and high calibre of Elizabeth Warren has doubts about it, tells me everything that I need to know about it. Full stop.
However, any trade agreement that enhances trade flows while enhancing national sovereignty and can show a distinct benefit to consumers and business alike should be aggressively pursued.
For me it isn’t about abandoning globalization, it’s about globalization reaching its full potential without destroying sovereignty, consumer trust, and entire segments of the economy.
It’s more about continuing to grow globalization (whenever that makes sense) and adding regionalism to the mix (wherever that makes more sense) and enhancing national sovereignty.
The day that Apple Computer is building iPhones in factories in every region of the world, that Ford Motor Company has assembly plants in every second country, every piece of clothing is manufactured regionally to the designer’s exact specifications, and most fresh produce is grown within 100 miles of its target consumer, that’s when we will see the maximum benefit from our investment in globalization.
We are where we are in regards to globalization and it has been a qualified success. But the potential of globalization + regionalism is one whole order of magnitude greater.
- The New Backlash Against Globalization (Project Syndicate)
- Globalization: A Brief Overview (IMF)
- What is ‘Globalization’ video (Investopedia)
- The Role of the International Organisms in the Globalization Process (Tănăsescu et al., PDF)
- Political regionalism in International relations (Wikipedia)
- Economic regionalism in International relations (Encyclopædia Britannica)