Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit


Global downturn follows isolationist resurgence
Dateline: 7 March 2021

Brexit, Trump and now Le Pen. As the old, established economies turn inward and nationalist, global trade and co-operation suffer. It’s been left to the new, New World, what used to be called Emerging Markets, to carry the torch of free trade.

As Tim Harford notes: “The first and most fundamental insight is that all human civilisation is built on some sort of trade.” ALL human civilisation. Productivity and progress rely on exploiting comparative advantages with trade, to everyone’s gain.

But the old guard, turned new protectionist, seem to be blinded by populist memes, and deaf to economic commonsense. Short termism rules, if you’re chasing votes, not growth.

The new champions, China, India, Africa and Latin America are carving themselves a future based on encouraging trade and cooperative competition, even as the loss of rich-world markets shrinks the global pie. In the long run, open economies will thrive and flourish, despite the best vindictive efforts of the old masters!

It’s ironic to think that the lessons learned by China, that closing itself off from the world only leads to deprivation and decline, are lost on the ‘enlightened’ nations of America and Europe. Luckily there are hungry competitors in the Gulf states and Australasia to take up the slack. Opportunities abound for the bold!

A decade from now, the newly disenfranchised, formerly leading countries will look back and say: “How did we end up on the wrong side of history?” But in the surging tide of populism and nationalistic fervor, all that matters is the majority vote.

Those who know that walls don’t work, that ‘security’ creates barriers and isolation, will be the victors. But we could have all profited from a more open world. There lies the tragedy!

Links to related stories

Warning: Hazardous Thinking at Work

Despite appearances to the contrary, Futureworld cannot and does not predict the future. Our Mindbullets scenarios are fictitious and designed purely to explore possible futures, challenge and stimulate strategic thinking. Use these at your own risk. Any reference to actual people, entities or events is entirely allegorical. Copyright Futureworld International Limited. Reproduction or distribution permitted only with recognition of Copyright and the inclusion of this disclaimer. © Public domain image.

Like this article?

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest

Read another Mindbullet

Favours increasing state intervention to realize development goals
Dateline: 15 March 2020
“Existing economic theories are incapable of meeting the needs of the future, and we need an economic transition, away from neoclassical economics and market capitalism,” said the latest Sustainable Development report. In other words, capitalism and free markets are not good enough to guarantee prosperity for the people of the world. According to the UN....

Sign up to receive news from the future