So you’re worried about de-globalization and the ramifications for global trade, right?
Well, you probably should be. Trade is a good thing. Just like globalization. And just like multiculturalism. Trade growth represents progress and proves that disparate cultures can cooperate for the greater good and for the advancement of society.
But trade – like globalization and multiculturalism – is under siege. What began as a backlash against policies that allowed millions of refugees fleeing the war-torn Mid-East to enter Western Europe, culminated in Britain’s decision to leave the EU and the election of populist candidate Donald Trump in the US.
Now, populist politicians are looking forward to key elections in Europe in 2017 that will serve as a litmus test for just how far voters are willing to go in their quest to upend the “establishment”. Will nationalism rise again? Or will Europeans come to their senses before the likes of Geert Wilders tear the bloc apart?
The answers to those burning questions will have real implications for how we think about the interconnected world. More specifically, it won’t be so interconnected anymore should the inward-looking philosophies espoused by the likes of Donald Trump and Nigel Farage gain sway over a majority of the European electorate. For more on global politics and trade, see “Reflections On The ‘Deeply Troubling’ End Of Globalization“.
With all of the above serving as the backdrop, I present the following visualization which documents the flow of some $16 trillion in global trade…
From Foreign Policy:
Max Galka, a former derivatives trader, made the interactive using the U.N.’s Comtrade data to help non-Wall Streeters grasp the currents and flows of the world’s economy – particularly in a year when trade has become a hot-button political topic.
“Trade has never dominated a presidential debate in the way it has this year,” Galka told Foreign Policy, referring to President-elect Donald Trump’s high-profile campaign stumps on trade.
Galka said the visualization helps unpack the hard data from the politics, particularly on issues like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which became a big political punching bag for the president-elect. The map is another way to view how United States trades with Canada and Mexico under NAFTA, and shows how vital those trade relationships are for all three countries, Galka said. For 30 of the 50 U.S. states, Canada or Mexico rank as their first or second largest export market, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.
The visualization also shows how concentrated trade is in three countries in particular: the United States, Germany, and China.