As Montieth & Company grows globally – with clients from over 10 countries operating in more than 30 – I think a lot about how the meaning of globalization evolves. Moving across borders into new markets seems essential today for the growth of corporations, both large and small. Supporting those cross-border initiatives is central to what we do for our clients. But what new elements impacting on the globalization trend should we be aware of?
I pose that question under the title for this letter of “Summer Blues” for a reason. Right now, there are powerful forces working to disrupt globalization — and not just the free movement of capital, goods and labor across borders, but also the spread of liberal democratic ideals.
Put simply, we’re in the early stages of what looks like a global trade war. We all know where this will lead. No country really benefits from imposing punitive tariffs. The U.S. president has also thumbed his nose at the rules-based international order that has maintained peace and stability, and coordinated actions against outlaw nations, for over 50 years. That, too, goes nowhere good. That same person believes separating children from their parents at the southern border, and then incarcerating them, constitutes effective immigration policy. It is, in fact, more the act of a police state.
Will those developments begin to unwind the fabric of globalization? Potentially yes, but only if we resist “small” thinking.
The world gets smaller when trade wars erupt, and countries, companies, shareholders and workers put self interest ahead of everything else. Trade wars beget more conflict, not less. A small world easily fractures. Cooperation, negotiation and resolution should prevail between organizations. More engagement with civil society on environmental and social issues is a vital antidote to a reckless government.
Whether it will be a blue summer is yet to be seen. We remain focused on anticipating what we think could impact our clients’ globalization initiatives. We know how important it is to all of them to not just succeed, but also to manage through every challenge that arises.
All the best,
Montieth M. Illingworth
June 26, 2018
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