How Should We Think about the Winners and Losers from Globalization? Three Narratives and Their Implications for the Redesign of International Economic Agreements
50 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2018 Last revised: 3 Feb 2021
Date Written: November 26, 2018
In the wake of Trump’s election to the US presidency, the “losers” from globalization have received unprecedented attention. While few would contest that manufacturing workers in developed countries have lost out over the past decades, the remedies proposed by President Trump have been met with a mixture of concern and ridicule by the trade establishment. And yet, it seems clear that, at least in the United States, politicians and trade officials are no longer able to convince voters that international economic agreements will “lift all boats”. Instead, those engaged in debates about trade policy will need to be open about the fact that international economic agreements create both winners and losers. The article identifies three narratives about who those winners and losers are. The article argues that the contestation between these three narratives is not one that can be resolved through empirical analysis, but that the narratives instead contain irreducible normative elements. The article further explores the implications of these narratives for the redesign of international economic agreements.
Keywords: International Economic Law, Trade, Investment, Trump, WTO, Globalization, NAFTA, USMCA
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