Friday, June 25, 2010

Globalisation? What globalisation? More like a figment of imagination or at best, an impression!

The US, EU, Canada, Japan and 9 more are negotiating a controversial "ACTA" (google it). If one adds 27 EU, that still makes only 40 out of 153 WTO members Another WTO "fail"? Or is it another sign that globalisation is a figment of imagination and what actually exists is an unbalanced (eg no economic immigration freedom, ie freedom of movement of "human capital"), largely unpopular system? A system that has failed to capture the imagination of the average citizen of this planet as well as the micro firms (1-9 ppl) and SMEs? A state of being that promises much more than it actually delivers via so called "free trade" of goods (in reality, merely "more free" or "less unfree" than before), services (how many services, esp. those that concern the average person or company are actually trade-able) and capital (that issue deserves a separate post)?

It is no surprise IMO that Simon Evenett's Global Trade Alert, that records not that obvious forms of barriers and distortions (ie "sneaky" acts of protectionism) has found (see "Protectionism: Pantomime villain fails to materialise" in the FT, by Alan Beattie, June 25, 2010 http://bit.ly/aqZhyy) that since the first G20 crisis-related summit of November 2008 where 20+ governments declared their commitment to free trade etc etc, governments around the world have put in place not only 99 traditional restrictions such as anti-dumping and countervailing duties but 397 other new "sneaky" protectionist policy measures. The latest report of Global Trade Alert is coming out this week and should make very interesting and telling read. It would also be interesting to know how many and which types of protectionist measures have been put in place by the US and the EU as well as the BRICs and of course China and Japan!

IMO the bottom line is that in spite of rhetoric, media and other hype, etc, globalisation is not an accurate name for the process that has been going on since post WWII GATT and the establishment of the WTO in the 1990s. IMO real globalisation would be a great thing. But, much like the European Integration (or even worse, NAFTA), it would require a much more humanist, systemically balanced establishment of real freedoms for real companies and real people. The world breaking news, the Internet, e-commerce, the social media etc do give the impression of a globalised world. But it is largely, just that, an impression. Eg how many companies other than those based in North America and some European countries (eg UK) have truly been able to engage in world trade via e-commerce at a substantive level? What % of the world's SMEs and micros?

So, what globalisation? The fact that there are now global players from Japan and the BRICs next to the traditional football, sorry, I meant trade and economic, traditional powers, plus the fact that most countries do some exporting of goods, does not constitute globalisation. And while the US and the EU are largely finally coming to terms with the idea that they are Services economies, while, strangely most of their export trade is still in the minority of GDP "manufactured goods" category, while some, including the author of this post, are claiming that the US (and maybe the EU) should depend more and more on meta-industrial age "intellectual products" for their export revenues (because sweat shop high labor intensity low skill low pay jobs do not for a better future or quality of life make), and while it of course makes perfect sense that many in the EU and the US are upset about the initially secretive method of ACTA negotiations, one is IMO allowed to ask:

What globalisation are you talking about (or is it "globalization")?

Posted via email from nickpthinking

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