China and India in the Age of Globalization
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However, inequality within these countries rose sharply. Until recently, it has been impossible to know which of these two forces dominates globally, because of lack of data on inequality trends within countries, which many governments do not release publicly or uniformly. The World Inequality Report addresses this issue, relying on systematic, comparable, and transparent inequality statistics from high-income and emerging countries.
The conclusion is striking. The second belief contests that high growth at the top is necessary to achieve some growth at the bottom of the distribution, in other words that rising inequality is necessary to elevate standards of living among the poorest. However, this idea is at odds with the data. When we compare Europe with the U. Indeed, the U. In Europe, growth among the top 0.
Where to Compete
Despite having a consistently higher growth rate since , the rise of inequality in China was much more moderate than in India. As a result, China was able to lift the incomes of the poorest half of the population at a rate that was four times faster than in India, enabling greater poverty reduction. This entailed that exchange rates were also fixed: a British pound was always equal to 4. The stability of exchange rates meant that the cost of doing business across borders was predictable. Just like the eurozone today, you could count on the value of the currency staying the same, so long as the storehouse of gold remained more or less the same.
When there were gold shortages — as there were in the s — the system stopped working. To protect the sanctity of the standard under conditions of stress, central bankers across the Europe and the US tightened access to credit and deflated prices. This left financiers in a decent position, but crushed farmers and the rural poor, for whom falling prices meant starvation. Then as now, economists and mainstream politicians largely overlooked the darker side of the economic picture. Businessmen were so distressed by Bryan that they backed the Republican candidate, William McKinley, who won partly by outspending Bryan five to one.
Meanwhile, gold was bolstered by the discovery of new reserves in colonial South Africa. But the gold standard could not survive the first world war and the Great Depression. By the s, unionisation had spread to more industries and there was a growing worldwide socialist movement. Protecting gold would mean mass unemployment and social unrest.
Britain went off the gold standard in , while Franklin Roosevelt took the US off it in ; France and several other countries would follow in The prioritisation of finance and trade over the welfare of people had come momentarily to an end. T he trade system that followed was global, too, with high levels of trade — but it took place on terms that often allowed developing countries to protect their industries.
Because, from the perspective of free traders, protectionism is always seen as bad, the success of this postwar system has been largely under-recognised. In short, we dislike it, and we are beginning to despise it. The international systems that chastened figures such as Keynes helped produce in the next few years — especially the Bretton Woods agreement and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade Gatt — set the terms under which the new wave of globalisation would take place. Bretton Woods stabilised exchange rates by pegging the dollar loosely to gold, and other currencies to the dollar.
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In that respect, the institution proved spectacularly successful. Partly because Gatt was not always dogmatic about free trade, it allowed most countries to figure out their own economic objectives, within a somewhat international ambit. These were useful for countries that were recovering from the war and needed to build up their own industries via tariffs — duties imposed on particular imports.
Gatt, however, failed to cover many of the countries in the developing world. Under this rubric, many countries — especially in Latin America, the Middle East, Africa and Asia — adopted a policy of protecting homegrown industries by replacing imports with domestically produced goods. It worked poorly in some places — India and Argentina, for example, where the trade barriers were too high, resulting in factories that cost more to set up than the value of the goods they produced — but remarkably well in others, such as east Asia, much of Latin America and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, where homegrown industries did spring up.
The critical turning point — away from this system of trade balanced against national protections — came in the s. Flagging growth and high inflation in the west, along with growing competition from Japan, opened the way for a political transformation. Not only did these ideologies take hold in the US and the UK; they seized international institutions as well.
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Gatt renamed itself as the World Trade Organization WTO , and the new rules the body negotiated began to cut more deeply into national policies. Its international trade rules sometimes undermined national legislation. The purest version of hyperglobalisation was tried out in Latin America in the s.
History of Globalization
Well into the s, economists were proclaiming the indisputable benefits of openness. But the Washington consensus was bad for business: most countries did worse than before. Growth faltered, and citizens across Latin America revolted against attempted privatisations of water and gas. In Argentina, which followed the Washington consensus to the letter, a grave crisis resulted in , precipitating an economic collapse and massive street protests that forced out the government that had pursued privatising reforms.
These revolts were a preview of the backlash of today. R odrik — perhaps the contemporary economist whose views have been most amply vindicated by recent events — was himself a beneficiary of protectionism in Turkey. This personal understanding of the mixed nature of economic success may be one of the reasons why his work runs against the broad consensus of mainstream economics writing on globalisation. Instead, it was that the mainstream had lost touch with the diversity of opinions and methods that already existed within economics.
The benefits of globalisation have been largely concentrated in a handful of Asian countries. And even in those countries, the good times may be running out. Economist Richard Baldwin has shown in his recent book, The Great Convergence, that nearly all of the gains from globalisation have been concentrated in six countries. Today, the political priorities were less about trade and more about the challenge of retraining workers , as technology renders old jobs obsolete and transforms the world of work.
Rodrik, too, believes that globalisation, whether reduced or increased, is unlikely to produce the kind of economic effects it once did. Yet recent statistics show the world as a whole is deindustrialising.
"China and India in the age of globalization" by Shalendra SHARMA
Countries that one would have expected to have more industrial potential are going through the stages of automation more quickly than previously developed countries did, and thereby failing to develop the broad industrial workforce seen as a key to shared prosperity. To be sure, the optimal amount of openness is a matter of debate. But the bigger, more productive arguments are about how to shape education, labor markets, scientific research and social-welfare policies in order to help societies adapt to the world around them.
The patriotic choice — the national interest — has always consisted in crafting domestic policies that best take advantage of globalization.
Chinese Power in a Divided World
For mainstream parties in France, the Conservatives in the U. Doing so would yield crucial ground in the political battle over how best to serve the country and its people. Mainstream parties must reclaim the mantle of patriotism and redefine the national interest accordingly. Bill Emmott is a former editor-in-chief of The Economist.