Globalization wants reconstruction, not simply restore by Jean Pisani-Ferry
If US President Donald Trump is defeated on November 3rd, there will be no lack of zeal to wipe out his international economic legacy. Policy makers should focus on looking after global public goods, curbing the armament of economic relations, and making the international system fairer.
PARIS – A second term in office for US President Donald Trump would complete the demolition of the post-war international economic system. Trump’s aggressive unilateralism, chaotic trade initiatives, disgust for multilateral cooperation and disregard for the idea of a global commons would overwhelm the resilience of the web of rules and institutions that underlie globalization. But would Joe Biden’s victory repair the global system – and if so, in what form? That question is much more difficult to answer.
There will be no shortage of zeal to erase Trump’s legacy, either in the US or internationally. But an attempt to merely restore the pre-Trump status quo would fail to address major challenges, some of which contributed to Trump’s election in 2016. As Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute pointed out, the task ahead is rebuilding rather than repair. It should start with a clear identification of the issues that the international system needs to address.
The first priority should be the transition to a system based on the commons. The preservation of global public goods such as a stable climate or biodiversity was understandably ignored by the architects of the international economic order of the post-war period and was (less understandably) still secondary in the partial renewal of the system after the Cold War. Policy makers focused on visible links through trade and capital flows rather than the invisible links that bind us to a common destiny, which explains why the rules and institutions that govern the latter are much weaker.
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