Who will lead the world economy? | Economy

The Great Recession, Trump’s unilateralism and now Putin’s war have left the hinges of the world economy in tatters. As the invasion progresses, the damage deepens. Many speak of “deglobalization”. In other words, a cocktail of savage protectionism, relocation of relocated companies, regional autarchies, market fragmentation, breakdown of value and supply chains, collapse or decrepitude of multilateral organizations, such as the WTO, the WHO or the G -twenty.

A variant of this new villagerism would be the semi-globalization, or the coexistence of two watertight blocs, that of the Western democracies and that of the Chinese-based autocracies, quite globalized within each one, but impervious to the rest, and with a large number of countries dancing their bewilderment on the margins.

This is a possible alternative to the accelerated asymmetric globalization since the 1980s, “focused on the freedom of trade flows, capital, people and digital services rather than the provision of truly global public goods such as health, climate change or the right to migrate”, as underlined by the president of the Economic and Social Committee, Antón Costas, at the congress on Economic governance, regulation and administration of justice which concluded this Friday and whose conclusions are located on the CNMC website.

Another option, much more desirable but difficult, is to reformat globalization, which has managed to multiply wealth (and reduce extreme poverty) but has triggered inequalities. It is not an impossible fantasy, since “globalization is unstoppable and inevitable”, stated Josep M. Colomer, professor at Georgetown, since in the end “national sovereignty de facto does not exist”.

Even in these low hours, non-inbred regionalism prospers: the refractory India joins trade agreements and is invited to the G-7, a free trade association is proposed for 54 African countries, the United Kingdom struggles to enter Asian forums. And the European Union deepens its integration with unprecedented dimensions (public health, foreign and defense policies, common debt) at the same time that it expands its ability to attract its neighbors. 36 global organizations survive and their institutional fabric still shows some strength. In some areas, with enormous vigor. This is the case of sport, emphasizes the professor and lawyer Tomás-Ramón Fernández: with its world rules, its mechanisms of rules and sanctions, its events and its control bodies.

So the way out of the labyrinth towards a globalization with orderly political governance can be found. That promotes new social, environmental or health regulations, designed from a more democratic imprint. And promoted and articulated both from the bottom up and from the elites and power.

He knows in depth all the sides of the coin.


The problem is who can lead that reformatting process. The politically volatile USA? The geopolitically troubled EU? For Anu Bradford, a professor at Columbia and a Finn of origin, there is no doubt: “Obviously, the EU, but not only”. Bradford is the author of a luminous book, The Brussels effectt (Oxford, 2020), whose thesis is that “the EU dominates the world”, to the point of establishing itself as the “hegemonic” normative power in many areas, capable of effectively challenging the military (or budgetary) superpowers.

Thanks to a combination of factors. Among those that stand out is a good-sized internal market, an effective regulatory capacity, the political will that the regulations set the most demanding standards possible, and its “non-divisibility”, motivated by the incentive that a catalog of hard rules, but universally valid, because they tend to be imposed through all the new treaties.

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