Free Trade

In Praise of Globalization

Trump filter Bloomberg
Donald Trump criticizes globalization and word trade.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The negative view of globalization by part of the population might bring populist politicians into power and lead to protectionist measures, hampering world trade.

  • Facts


    • As a whole, globalization has not increased global inequity, but rather dramatically diminished it.
    • The percentage of people living on less than $1.90 per day – the World Bank’s global poverty line – collapsed from 44 percent in 1981 to just 13 percent in 2012.
    • Social welfare states such as Germany risk becoming a magnet for economic refugees, but they also can be a sensible complement to global free trade.
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Donald Trump strikes a nerve among Americans when he slams globalization. Real wages, after all, have stagnated for decades, while corporate profits have gone through the roof. The white middle class of blue-collar workers and small business owners was left behind. Its members now are seeking shelter in the protectionist promises of the Republican presidential candidate.

Such political forces are also gathering on the fringes in Europe, fueled by a chronic euro crisis that gradually has robbed the last optimists in southern Europe and France of all hope and has radicalized jobless industrial laborers. Euro-skepticism and opposition to global free trade have become intertwined.

Were economists mistaken in their assessments of free trade’s impacts? Must one again fear the neoliberals who aim to assist the powerful and the rich in exploiting the working class?

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