In a globalization manifesto, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared that the Internet and other planet-spanning technologies were erasing national boundaries. The world, he said in a 2005 best seller, was flat.
No longer. The global economy appears to be entering an epoch in which governments are reasserting their role in the lives of individuals and businesses. Once again, barriers are rising. Call it the new nationalism.
“The era of easy globalization is certainly over,” says Pulitzer Prize-winning author Daniel Yergin, whose 1998 book, “The Commanding Heights,” detailed the triumph of markets over nations, starting with British deregulation under Margaret Thatcher. “The power of the state is reasserting itself.”
By the turn of the century, it had become clear that nationalism and the nation-states were stronger than they had been when Globalization began. …
The Decline and Fall of the First Global Economy
How nationalism, protectionism, and collectivism spawned a century of dictatorship and war.
In 1913, merchandise trade as a percentage of gross output was about 12 percent for the industrialized countries. They did not match that level of export performance again until the 1970s. The volume of international capital flows relative to total output reached heights in the early 20th century that have not been approached since. In that earlier time, capital flows out of Great Britain rose as high as 9 percent of gross domestic product; by contrast, the seemingly staggering current account surpluses of Japan and Germany in the 1980s never surpassed 5 percent of GDP. It is fair to say that much of the growth of the international economy since World War II has simply recapitulated the achievements of the era prior to World War I.