Is Globalization Doomed?

09 Mar 2005|Davis Masten

In the March/April issue of Foreign Affairs, Niall Ferguson lays out a thought provoking case in his article “Is Globalization Doomed?”. He draws parallels between the conditions now and 1914. He claims that although the writing was on the wall, few were able to recognize it, much less take action. This reminded me of a set of management interviews I did back in the early 80’s. I was doing a project for the Chairman of Atari where we interviewed over 70 senior managers. Only one person had a clue

that the imminent implosion of their market was about to ignite. Most were like one divisional president who claimed the company would zoom past their $2 billion in sales to become a $10 billion giant. Within a month, their sales and their stock had dropped by over half.

Personally, I am a fan of globalization. I believe that it is the best chance we have in my lifetime to help the 4+ billion people who do not really participate in the global economy make a better life for themselves and their grandchildren. I hope that Dr. Ferguson is not right and that we do not reach the proverbial tipping point. Time will tell.

The pundits said after Atari’s demise that “interactive electronics were dead” that “video and computer games were just a fad”. The video game industry is now a $20+ billion industry. As technology enhances the gaming experience growth should continue. My hope is that the same is true for globalization. Even if cataclysmic events, currency devaluations, and global power struggles bring globalization to its knees, I trust that the economy grows in a way that helps continues to make a better life for all people on earth.

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