Germany has benefited from globalization more than most other countries.
During the many years of rapidly growing world trade and the industrialization of many emerging economies, German-made luxury cars and high-quality durable equipment were in greater demand worldwide than ever before. The strong industrial sector, largely shaped by small and mid-sized businesses, has turned Germany into a magnet for foreign capital and workers.
But the global economy has lost momentum since the economic crisis in the winter of 2008/09, and globalization is now on hold. No one knows whether and when this hiatus will end.
Some economists believe that the digitization of economic life is rendering cross-border trade obsolete. More and more tasks performed by humans until now are being translated into a language readable by machines, to be performed by interconnected and communicating computers and robots.
This unstoppable fourth phase of industrialization – after mechanization, mass production and automation – will undoubtedly have massive consequences for the international division of labor, consequences that have been difficult to discuss. There is a risk that many jobs will be eliminated in the future because they are performed by “intelligent” machines.