An Ideas-Based Online Magazine of the Global Network for Advanced Management

Future of Globalization: Winners and Losers

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.

Globalization is a win-win. If two countries trade, both benefit; if a country receives immigrants, home and host countries gain; if capital flows freely, both the sender and the receiver are better off. Economists, who agree on little, are almost unanimous about this. There is only one caveat: though both sides gain, there are groups of winners and losers within each country. And it is the plight of the losers that is transforming politics across the globe today.

In rich countries, the “losers” from globalization are the low-skilled workers who lose their jobs due to immigration and trade (and automation) and cannot find equally well paid work elsewhere. These “losers,” buffeted by the winds of globalization and technology and the tough years following the financial crisis, have watched their incomes stagnate or fall since the 1990s, while those at the top have increased. They voted for anti-globalization populists in the U.S. and the U.K. last year, and support anti-immigrant or anti-EU parties across Europe. Their passion and numbers may be enough to transform the political landscape.

Populists ignore how globalization has boosted living standards across the world in the postwar era. In an unusual joint statement this week, the WTO, IMF, and World Bank underlined trade's role as the engine of prosperity and urged developed countries to defend a strong global trading system centered on the WTO against populist threats. They also reminded governments to address the needs of the “losers” who are left behind as once well-paid manufacturing jobs vanish. Governments have the tools: unemployment benefits, relocation assistance, retraining, subsidies to low-wage jobs, tax systems that reduce inequality. Unless these tools are used effectively, the consensus over globalization may continue to unravel and the world will lose a key force for boosting incomes and fighting poverty.