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“The war in Ukraine, added to the Covid-19 epidemic, could well mark the end of the golden age of globalization”

Chronic. Heavy questioning for the future of the XXIand century: will economic globalization survive rising strategic antagonisms on the international scene? Resist the growing hostility between China and the United States, the war in Europe and, more generally, the return of ultranationalism?

The question must be approached with caution: the end of globalization is announced with seasonal regularity. But the war in Ukraine, added to the Covid-19 epidemic, could well mark the completion of a cycle in the history of the economy: the golden age of the internationalization of trade.

For more than ten years, there have been no shortage of shocks. Financial crisis of 2008; Brexit; failures recorded by Barack Obama in the creation of two major free trade groups, one on either side of the North Atlantic, the other in the Pacific; election of Donald Trump and start of the tariff battle between Washington and Beijing; pandemic and then aggression of Ukraine by Russia. So many blows to the globalized economy.

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Broken trust

The latest, the war in Ukraine and the sanctions taken against Russia, is shaking a little more the production chains installed in several countries and already seriously disrupted by the Covid-19. Of New York Times weekly The Economist passing through the FinancialTimes and the Wall Street Journal, all the Anglo-Saxon press, that of the globalized economy precisely, wonders about the prediction of an expert in the matter: “We are at the end of economic globalization as we have experienced it for thirty years”says Larry Fink, the boss of BlackRock, the largest investment fund.

Admittedly, international trade is doing well, today boosted by the post-Covid recovery. But something broke along the way in the trust long granted to the merits of economic globalization. Many countries have become aware of their dangerous dependence on foreign countries in terms of health security. After all, masks, tests, vaccines are a matter of public health, and therefore of national sovereignty. Too bad for the theory of comparative advantages, it is better to produce at home, even if it means paying more, and this is true in several important sectors.

Doubt is political, too. Nostalgic, The Economist remember : “After the fall of the Berlin Wall [1989], it was generally agreed that political freedom and free trade went hand in hand, reinforcing each other. And for a time, it worked. In the 1990s, the number of countries converting to democracy increased, tariff barriers fell and container ships criss-crossed the oceans. »

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