Globalization has been claimed to be a near-panacea and a pariah. The World Economic Forum compiled data that demonstrate globalization’s growth, upsets, and limits. We know global trade is increasing, but from one perspective that would happen without agendas or initiatives. As technology progresses and populations increase, more people are connecting with more people, encouraging exchanges of information, goods, and services. Go back a few hundred years and the percentage of the economy devoted to global trade was necessarily smaller because the technology of sailing ships and caravans was limited. Go back a few thousand years and the percentage was so small that almost all trade happened within a village. We started with zero population and technology and trade. Now, they’ve all increased; and there are no major factors limiting any of those trends. – Except. – Trade can’t exceed 100%. We’re already at global trade reaching 60% of global GDP. Somewhere between here and 100% the growth will inevitably slow. That slowdown is worrisome because it is inevitable and yet our economic systems assume indefinite growth. It may be that global trade stabilizes as a fraction of global GDP while global GDP continues to increase, but in our sensitive society, the transition may be unpleasant, at least.
(Click on the graph for the link.)