A New Era in World Trade
I have written so much about various economic models and their prospects that my central thesis may have become obscured. It is that trade globalization is a powerful and complicated force in today's world, beyond the ability of any single nation to control. For that reason, attempting a conclusion to this book would be folly. There are too many themes to collect them all into a nice little bundle. Besides, the subjects addressed here are very fluid. The future changes even as I write. While many events are foreseeable, some are not. Consider for example that Latin American economies from Mexico to Brazil have largely deflected economic shocks that would have sunk them a decade ago, the "no fail" Japanese economy has failed, and Asia's Little Tigers have been declawed.
As I suggested earlier, world trade advances in "spurts." This latest one may be the greatest of all in terms of size and inclusiveness, but it won't be the last. Global commerce, social and political trends all move at different paces. So long as there are national interests to protect, they will act as a brake on globalization. And I don't perceive any rush toward international government at present. On the other hand, I think further trade harmonization is inevitable. It is simple economic Darwinism. Some form of managed, enforceable, participatory capitalism lies in the future. To some extent, developed nations will have to sacrifice in order to assist those less developed. This is not altruism, but enlightened self-interest. Unchecked competition can be very destabilizing. Developed and emerging economies alike crave an orderly, upward process. Eventually, they are likely to get it. In the meantime, the best I can offer here is some "benchmarks" that might allow one to handicap the process as it unfolds. 1