Richard Kozul-Wright (Director of the Globalization and Development Strategies Division, UNCTAD) gives a fascinating and timely lecture on why we shouldn’t defend the current international order and why a global new deal is urgently needed.
Recent events have provoked considerable hand wringing from supporters of globalization; talk of rising trade protectionism, currency wars, migration controls and economic populism have been taken as evidence that the open global economic order built over the previous seven decades is under serious threat, with some even warning of a return to the kind of economic and political chaos witnessed during the interwar years.
Emerging economies, particularly China, have been called on to take up the mantle of this order, on the grounds that they have been its biggest beneficiaries and will be its biggest losers if the roll back gathers pace. Drawing on recent UNCTAD research, the presentation raises some questions about this narrative, suggesting that the era of hyperglobalisation has had a more skewed and uneven impact on developing countries, with divergent performances through the late 1990s followed by strong growth and poverty reduction across the South from the start of the millennium, but with limited progress (or actual setbacks) with respect to structural transformation, employment and distributional outcomes.
Kozul-Wright argues that a rejection of the neo-liberal policy agenda that has supported hyperglobalisation and a reassessment of the current rules and practices of the international economic game will be required if more sustainable and inclusive outcomes are to be achieved in the future.
This lecture was organised by the Global Development Institute’s 21st century globalisation and development research theme.