Financial TimesFinancial Times

Globalisation might lead to a world conflict

By Martin Wolf

01 Nov 2022 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

The Financial Times's chief economics commentator contends that "it is likely that the fracturing of economic ties will be both consequence and cause of deepening global discord."

How might globalisation end? Some seem to imagine a relatively peaceful “decoupling” of economies until recently stitched so tightly together. But it is likely that the fracturing of economic ties will be both consequence and cause of deepening global discord. If so, a more destructive end to globalisation is likely.

Humanity has, alas, done this before. Since the industrial revolution in the early 19th century, we have had two periods of deepening cross-border economic integration and one of the reverse. The first period of globalisation preceded 1914. The second began in the late 1940s, but accelerated and widened from the late 1970s, as ever more economies integrated with one another. In between came a lengthy period of deglobalisation, bounded by the two world wars and deepened by the Depression and the protectionism that both accompanied and worsened it. Finally, since the financial crisis of 2007-09, globalisation has been neither deepening nor reversing.

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