Almost a year ago we wrote anout the New Nationalism as a counter-poise to the process of globalisation (see post). This is an area that we have revisited quite often in recent weeks. In a recent report, the World Bank has highlighted how 17 of the G20 nations have imposed impediments to trade, despite promising not to do so at the G20 in November 2008 (see story).
As we prepare for the G20 in London next week, we can only see this as a worrying trend. Trade barriers tend to give rise to retaliatory trade barriers, as the current tiff between the US and Mexico quite ably demonstrates. The primary losers are those consumers behind the trade barriers who have to pay more than necessary for their goods and services. And yet we all lose as well because the total amount of trade within the global system will shrink.
We are now witnessing a struggle between the forces of integration and the forces of separation. It is too early to say which will predominate. We can only hope that common sense will prevail to our mutual advantage. The problem is that is hasn't so far!