Brace Yourself: The Most Disruptive Phase of Globalization Is Just Beginning

Economist Richard Baldwin, whose new book The Great Convergence: Information Technology and the New Globalization examines globalization’s undercurrents, spoke with Quartz about the future of globalization.

His argument in sum: “A better understanding of globalization is more urgent than ever, Baldwin says, because the third and most disruptive phase is still to come. Technology will bring globalization to the people-centric service sector, upending far more jobs in rich countries than the decline in manufacturing has in recent decades. (In the UK, the service sector accounts for almost 80% of the economy; less than 10% of US jobs are in manufacturing.) The disruption won’t come because people will move more freely across borders, but because technologies will provide ‘a substitute for being there,’ Baldwin says.”

Once this third phase hits, Baldwin predicts, “It will be disruptive in the G7, but instead of just in the manufacturing sector, it spreads to services. Only about 10-15% of the population works directly in manufacturing in the G7—the rest work in services. It will create great opportunities in many of the countries that have been left behind by earlier globalization, for instance almost all of sub-Saharan Africa and South America.”

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