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Death of globalization consensus

This is the headline on an excellent short piece in today's Emirates Business 24/7 by Dani Rodrik, Professor of Political Economy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. Rodrik's main point is that it is no longer possible for globalization boosters to dismiss their opponents as "violent anarchists, self-serving protectionists, trade unionists, and ignorant, if idealistic youth. . . . What makes news nowadays is the growing list of mainstream economists who are questioning globalisation's supposedly unmitigated virtues."

So we have Paul Samuelson, the author of the post-war era's landmark economics textbook, reminding his fellow economists that China's gains in globalisation may well come at the expense of the US; Paul Krugman, today's foremost international trade theorist, arguing that trade with low-income countries is no longer too small to have an effect on inequality; Alan Blinder, a former US Federal Reserve vice chairman, worrying that international outsourcing will cause unprecedented dislocations for the US labour force; Martin Wolf, the Financial Times columnist and one of the most articulate advocates of globalisation, writing of his disappointment with how financial globalization has turned out; and Larry Summers, the US Treasury chief and the Clinton administration's "Mr. Globalisation", musing about the dangers of a race to the bottom in national regulations and the need for international labour standards.

While these worries hardly amount to the full frontal attack mounted by the likes of Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel-prize winning economist, they still constitute a remarkable turnaround in the intellectual climate.

Thanks to Brad DeLong's blog for linking to the Rodrik piece.

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