A long time ago when there were unicorns, there was a justifiable need for international trade agreements to spur trade, increase movement of capital flows and to promote movement of labour — but mainly to gain access to potentially larger markets in both developed and developing nations.
International trade agreements like NAFTA and even today’s TPP are throwbacks to a day when we didn’t have all of that. Many global economies then were practically closed markets, with few exceptions.
It’s almost the opposite these days — globalization has certainly prevailed — and it’s the rare country that isn’t buying or selling wares from around the world on a daily basis.
North Korea is a closed market, so is Japan (nominally) although it is a huge exporter, and only a handful of other countries could be considered ‘closed markets’ in any substantive sense.
In your home country you can probably buy a car, a music player, clothing, food, and almost anything else — and it likely wasn’t built, created, or grown, in your country.
Globalization has succeeded wildly and we now live in a globalized world.
For the people in developed nations it has meant 25-years of inexpensive goods on store shelves — goods that were either built, created, or grown, in developing nations, which has been a real bonus for developed world consumers — and it has also benefited workers in the developing world.
Unfortunately, it also led to many high-paying jobs being sent overseas, resulting in higher unemployment and worse social ills than that in some developed nations.
Which is fine. It’s served it’s purpose and we now have open markets around the world with levelization of trade, capital, knowledge, labour, and general market equilibrium — if not market symbiosis.
But there isn’t much more room for globalization to grow. Other than tidying-up some intellectual and property rights regulations, we’ve arrived at our free trade destination. We’re already living in the globalized economy.
There are a number of things that can strengthen our domestic economies without turning back the clock to the (almost) closed economics of the 1960’s.
The Ten Ways: Increasing Intellectual Rights, Increasing Government Revenue Streams, Preventing Obscene Government Debt, and Enhanced Government Services Designed to Move the Bottom Economic Quintiles Towards Middle Income Status
It’s easy to look around the world to see what’s working well in other jurisdictions and write similar legislation.
Legislators in Sweden and Norway don’t have two brains nor any other super powers, that we know of. If they can manage to get these things done, so can we. And if we can’t, we’re not half as great as we imagine ourselves to be.
But we are! Therefore, all we lack is the will to act. So let us act, and help our country to leap forward by one order of magnitude.
John Brian Shannon serves on the Editorial Board at kleef&co. John has contributed to the United Nations Development Program and to corporate blogs. Presently writing about Brexit at: LetterToBritain.com