To coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Global Network for Advanced Management in April 2017, Global Network Perspectives asked faculty across the 29 schools in the network: "What do you think the future of globalization looks like? How will this affect the economy in your country or region? How is your school preparing students for this world?" Read all of the responses. Also, in a session at the anniversary symposium, a panel of experts—including former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry—led a discussion of the future of globalization and its implications for business and management education. Watch the video.
What do you think the future of globalization looks like?
The future of globalization looks gloomy in the short run. Over the last decade, we have witnessed the erratic retreat of globalization, triggered by the 2008 financial crisis. In many ways, the global response to the economic meltdown was similar to the one that followed the stock market crash of 1929. Then and now, deep recession and massive unemployment sparked millions across the world to embrace right-wing nationalism, populism, and protectionism as a panacea to their perceived losses. In both cases, the anti-globalization wave happened in the context of a global power transition, from Europe toward the U.S., and now from the U.S. toward Asia.
The combination of these elements drove the world to the bloodiest of wars in 1939. As societies become ever more polarized and the risks of great-power conflict rise to unprecedented levels since the end of the Cold War, we have to look closely at the lessons taught by history so as never to forget them. To our luck, the world is much more interdependent and interconnected than ever before. Regional integration and multilateralism remain the cornerstones of peace worldwide. Reinforcing them, even in a context of growing de-globalization, seems to me as the only possible path toward prosperity in the long run.
On a more positive note, though, I believe globalization may even get stronger as the world overcomes this temporary anti-globalization wave. The march of technology is, after all, inexorable. And so are the flows of new ideas, people, and goods across borders. If today’s challenge is to ensure that the establishment of a new, less Western global order takes place peacefully and smoothly, tomorrow’s challenge will be to keep globalization sustainable as billions of new consumers enter the middle class. In this scenario, technology must serve not only individual well-being, but also a new balance between man and nature.
How will this affect the economy in your country or region?
The short-term retreat of globalization may have two immediate effects in Latin America. First of all, it represents a blow to the economic logic of the region, since most countries rely on commodity exports and on manufactured imports from the U.S., the epicenter of de-globalization. Countries whose industrial production also depend on U.S. markets will probably undergo even greater difficulties, as in the case of Mexico and, to a lesser extent, Brazil. While China and other Asian economies may provide Latin America some relief, thanks to their massive commodity consumption, I think that a sound response to this changing economic reality is to improve intra-regional trade through deeper integration.
Secondly, as U.S. and European borders become less porous, the region will most likely cease to be a net exporter of migrants. The adverse effects of a less globalized world may even lead some stronger regional economies, such as Brazil, Mexico, or Colombia, to start receiving a great number of people either from other continents, or from poorer neighbors. The big question is whether these countries are prepared to live up to this new social reality. While they seem to have relatively open cultures, because of their background of immigration, they may be ill-equipped to absorb this new workforce. Therefore, strengthening policies of social inclusion while keeping borders open and fostering regional integration mechanisms will probably be some of Latin America’s most daunting challenges in the years to come.