Many believe that the war in Ukraine will reverse or bring an end to globalisation. However, this is not the first time that globalisation has been declared dead. Obituaries were published after the financial crash of 2008, after the Brexit vote in 2016 and after the election of President Trump in 2016. Yet more obituaries were penned following the pandemic lockdowns and the accompanying disruption of global supply lines.
When a phenomenon is repeatedly declared dead, only to repeatedly survive, it should raise questions about the usefulness of the concept used to describe it. That certainly goes for the concept of globalisation. World economic developments simply do not follow an either / or, more-or-less logic of globalisation or de-globalisation.
In order to understand today’s economic developments, it is better to start not with globalisation, but with the idea that the world economy is always in flux – that the balance between international and national is always changing. We can therefore ask: which features in the world economy are likely to be magnified or sped up by Russia’s invasion and why? The most important impact will be the acceleration of the existing fragmentation within the world economy, both at the regional level and at the national level.
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