Globalization is the process of interaction and integration among citizens, companies, and governments of various nations. The concept has been around for a long time going back to the Silk Road that connected the trade routes between China and Europe.
In recent decades, technology has been a key driver of increased globalization. Information technology allows for a buyer in the U.S. to contact a seller in China almost instantly to negotiate a transaction. International banking and financial services provide for a safe transaction, and the trade deal can be completed within minutes.
A shrinking world
The shrinking of the trade world has allowed poor countries to compete with more developed nations and has risen the standard of living for many. At the same time, globalization has created resentment in countries which feel that their national identity is being threatened, and their economic well-being is at risk.
Concern about globalization was one reason why Brexit was approved
There were a number of reasons why Britain voted to exit the EU, but one of them was the frustration and resentment of the economic model of enhanced globalization that the EU fostered. Increasingly, citizens in individual countries have begun to feel that globalization has transcended their national interest. This has led to an increasing desire to move back to the concept of the national state that is concerned only with the quality of life of its own citizens.
Globalization has made the financial elite who donate to politicians very, very wealthy ... but it has left millions of our workers with nothing but poverty and heartache.
— Donald J. Trump
A cornerstone of Trump’s candidacy has been his opposition to global trade agreements such as NAFTA and the TPP. His “America First” populist campaign has appealed to many who have lost their jobs to overseas workers who can produce goods at a lower price.
Both Clinton and Trump oppose TPP
Hillary Clinton had also renounced the TPP and has raised concerns about that NAFTA agreement that was enacted when her husband, Bill Clinton was President.
Donald doesn’t see the complexity. He wants to start a trade war with China. And I understand a lot of Americans have concerns about our trade agreements—I do too. But a trade war is something very different.
— Hillary Clinton
It seems likely that America’s trade policies will undergo change no matter who is elected. In a country where only 36% of the citizens have a passport, it is becoming increasingly hard to explain to most Americans why jobs should be exported to another country instead of remaining in America.
There are many benefits to America of open trade policies, but the benefits tend to be long range and not easy to explain to voters when they read of jobs lost to China or Mexico. The perception is that the benefits of globalization have benefited the ‘elite’ and not the ‘average’ person.
In the court of American public opinion it appears that globalization has failed.