Geopolitics vs. Globalism

The principle that investors and firms should be treated equally regardless of their nationality is being ditched.

Evidence for this is everywhere. Geopolitical rivalry is gripping the tech industry, which accounts for about 20% of world stockmarkets. Rules on privacy, data and espionage are splintering. Tax systems are being bent to patriotic ends—in America to prod firms to repatriate capital, in Europe to target Silicon Valley. America and the EU have new regimes for vetting foreign investment, while China, despite its bluster, has no intention of giving foreign firms a level playing-field. America has weaponised the power it gets from running the world’s dollar-payments system, to punish foreigners such as Huawei. Even humdrum areas such as accounting and antitrust are fragmenting.

The steam has gone out of globalisation

Perhaps this is a necessary adjustment, and temporary. But if there is a long-term strategy for growth (and there should be), this kind of splintering is deeply problematic. The goal should not be “we win, you lose.” The goal should be “we all win.”

I hope someone intelligent gets ahold of Trump’s trade war and pivots into reducing the impact of geopolitics. China is fairly to blame for pervasive national favoritism. So blame them. But this is not a zero-sum game.