The fear of globalization has led to harmful policies that complicate, stall, and shrink global economies, says Edward Alden, Senior Fellow for the Council on Foreign Relations.
Critics of globalization claim that fluid borders and strained supply chains are creating a huge problem in international trade. They argue that countries are becoming more reliant on resources that are intrinsically tied to complicated foreign relations, making the world “dangerously vulnerable to disruptions.” As a result, these critics, who are often politicians and policymakers, feel compelled to deglobalize and build more self-sufficient, insulated economies. However, Alden says, the fragility of the global economy isn’t a result of globalization – it’s actually the resistance to globalization that creates an untenable economic environment.
“The bigger goal should be to raise questions, early and often, about the costs of deglobalization,” Alden says. “The coming world may be more resilient, but it will also be poorer, less innovative, more divided, and more prone to conflict.”
Alden is also tremendously critical of the U.S. government’s handling of what he considers to be a globalization crisis. He says President Joe Biden is underutilizing a potentially vibrant immigrant workforce by keeping a tight handle on southern borders. And at the same time, Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott, in what Alden calls a “ludicrous stunt,” instituted inspection sites along the border for drugs or human trafficking that delayed border crossings up to 30 hours and led to $240 million in spoiled produce.
Lifting these pandemic-era immigration restrictions, Alden says, could make wage inflation more tolerable. Unfortunately, it might be an unpopular political move on both sides of the aisle. COVID-19 also created a more prominent culture of isolation through the closing of borders to prevent infection. Instead of building alliances to advance the global workforce as a whole, Alden concludes, it seems as if nations are shutting out potential allies.