Deglobaliztion and Conflict

The world currently seems to be in a state of decoupling, and has been for the past several years. Free trade is seen as a deal for suckers and nationalisms of various sorts and degrees on the rise. I see this inevitably leading to a rise in conflict, which is already occurring. This is not just because we are going from a unipolar world dominated by the United States to a multipolar world with various regional powers. Indeed we might just be in a diminished unipolar world. It is also because we are reversing centuries of global integration. I’m not sure the world will ever be a completely peaceful place. I think there will always be conflict of varying degrees. But the best way found to mitigate war and conflict is through greater integration of the world and economies. Not getting rid of nations per se, but integrating closer together. True, you can end up with other forms of conflict. That surely has been part of the rise of Islamic terrorism as religious fundamentalists deal with a smaller world. However, nationalism and populism will definitely bring about conflicts similar to what we have seen in the past and it will not be good for anybody.

There has been a recent myth circulating that is counter to an earlier myth. The view is that if we integrate our economy with China then they will become more politically free as their economy becomes more free. The more recent myth is that because this didn’t happen, obviously economic interdependence was a mistake that didn’t get us anywhere but stuck with an economy with fewer jobs and the possibility of conflict anyway. I would argue though that it is not the case that we necessarily would turn China into a liberal democratic capitalist state by integrating our economies, although it is still possible that it could happen down the road. However, it is the case that integrating our economies reduces the possibilities of conflict, and by decoupling our economices we not only increase the possibilities of conflict but remove the possibility of China further liberalizing.

Daniel Jeskey @danieljeskey