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Robert Samuelson | Globalization in Retreat





WASHINGTON — One fateful question for 2013 is this: What happens to globalization? For decades, growing volumes of cross-border trade and money flows have fueled strong economic growth. But something remarkable is happening; trade and international money flows are slowing and, in some cases, declining. David Smick, the perceptive editor of The International Economy magazine, calls the retreat "deglobalization." What’s unclear is whether this heralds prolonged economic stagnation and rising nationalism or, optimistically, makes the world economy more stable and politically acceptable.

To Americans, some aspects of deglobalization will seem delicious. Take manufacturing. Globalization has sucked factory jobs from the United States. Now, the tide may be turning. Just recently, Apple announced a $100 million investment to return some Mac computer production home. Though tiny, the decision reflects a trend.

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