The NYTimes headline today highlights the recent bankruptcy of Hanjin, the South Korean shipping line, and explains how it is a smaller piece in a growing global trend against globalization and international trade. Recent data and new articles show that across the world, especially in developed countries, international trade and investment are decreasing. China imports less and exports less, preferring to consume what it produces – taking away a major global market. India is following a similar trend, instead of taking China’s place. Public opinion is highly nationalistic, populist, and xenophobic in both Europe and the U.S.
The increase of globalization has practically been a given in the past few decades. Society simply assumes that with an increase in communication and transportation technology, the world will continue to converge. However, apart from the numbers of recent trade data, the Brexit vote, weakening NATO ties, and the rise of Donald Trump’s “walls” indicate a major push-back against globalization. It may be too early to tell by the numbers, but it will be interesting to see if international trade will continue on its downward trend or pick up in the next couple years.