Why Glob­al­iza­tion is Fail­ing, and What to Do About It

Rotman Management Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - In­ter­view by Karen Christensen

You have been a force­ful ad­vo­cate for glob­al­iza­tion, but you also be­lieve that in many ways, it isn’t work­ing. Please ex­plain.

I have long ar­gued that Canada’s in­ter­na­tional trade agree­ments have made us a more com­pet­i­tive and pros­per­ous na­tion. That’s a hard fact, and I in­vite naysay­ers to show that my decade-long study of 10,000 Cana­dian firms shows oth­er­wise. As a re­sult, I am push­ing hard on the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to con­tinue its ini­tia­tives for deeper in­te­gra­tion with our Amer­i­can, Euro­pean and Asian part­ners.

But only an ide­o­logue could ig­nore the hard fact that glob­al­iza­tion is not work­ing — or not work­ing as well as it could. For ex­am­ple, it has pro­duced bad re­sults in a num­ber of African coun­tries, and even where it is work­ing, out­comes could have been much bet­ter. It did not work, for in­stance, for the Chi­nese work­ers who com­mit­ted sui­cide rather than build iphones; and it did not work for the 1,129 work­ers who per­ished in the Rana Plaza col­lapse.

It is no longer work­ing as well for rich coun­tries, ei­ther. We are now see­ing a boomerang ef­fect, where the de­vel­oped coun­tries that pushed for glob­al­iza­tion are be­com­ing its vic­tims. An out­pour­ing of new aca­demic re­search — in­clud­ing my own — sug­gests that glob­al­iza­tion is leav­ing the mid­dle class be­hind. That doesn’t mean we should aban­don glob­al­iza­tion. It is inar­guably an im­por­tant driver of ris­ing liv­ing

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