The Misthinking of Globalization—Past, Present, and Future

March 5, 2018, 5:30–7 p.m., Gleacher Center

This talk will challenge the way you think about globalization. Everyone knows globalization is a process—driven forward by falling trade and communication costs—that is integrating national economies around the world. This view is incomplete.

This provocative talk argues that globalization should be viewed as two processes, not one. The first is the traditional view where more goods crossing borders integrates economies. The second started when the ICT Revolution made it feasible for G7 firms to unbundle their factories and shift some production stages to low-wage nations. To coordinate the whole, G7 firms brought their firm-specific know-how along with the offshored stages. Flows of know-how, investment, training, services, and people that used to happen only inside factories in G7 nations are now a part of international commerce.

The resulting north-to-south flows of know-how transformed global economic realities—giving rise to the Emerging Economies, the commodity super-cycle, and much more.

The talk concludes with conjectures on what this means for future globalization. It argues that digital technology will bring globalisation to the service sector via machine translation, better substitutes for face-to-face, and international freelancing platforms like

The Myron Scholes Global Markets Forum is part of the Initiative on Global Markets (IGM) and is generously sponsored by Myron Scholes.

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Speaker Profile

Richard Baldwin has been professor of international economics at the Graduate Institute, Geneva, since 1991; president/director of CEPR since 2014; and editor-in-chief of Vox since he founded it in June 2007.

He was visiting professor at Oxford (2012–15) and MIT (2003). In terms of government service, he was a senior staff economist for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers in the Bush Administration (1990–91) on leave from Columbia Business School, where he was associate professor. He did his PhD in economics at MIT with Paul Krugman, with whom he has coauthored several articles. He advises governments and international organizations around the world, and is the author of numerous books and articles on international trade, globalisation, regionalism, and European integration. His latest book, The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalisation, was published in November 2016 by Harvard University Press.