By Zhong Sheng
“Economic confrontations” and “domestic political polarization” are considered the top risks this year by the Global Risks Report 2020 recently issued by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The report holds that 2020 is going to be a year that sees severer polarization and slower economic growth.
This once again reminds the world of the risks of economic polarization and confrontation, even though the global economy has entered in-depth integrated development. Therefore, the world sees an urgent need to make practical solutions to solve the issues happening in the process of economic globalization.
Instabilities and uncertainties have haunted the world in recent years, and the insufficient inclusiveness of economic development to a large extent facilitated the happening of “black swans”, as a result of which the benefits of economic globalization are hardly able to be shared by all countries, classes and groups.
Economic globalization was once hailed as the “power of nature”, as people believed to reject it is to reject the sunrise. However, economic globalization is seeing a countercurrent in today’s world where many have started discussing how to reverse the process.
Hence, to have an objective understanding of economic globalization comes before everything. This economic process is neither Ali Baba’s cave nor Pandora’s box. The world is bothered by a number of problems, so it’s not right to put all the blame on economic globalization.
At the WEF held in Davos, Switzerland 3 years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping shared his views on how the world can have a dialectical understanding of economic globalization and how it should tackle the problems in a targeted manner, dismissing the clouds that shadowed the world economy.
“It is true that economic globalization has created new problems, but this is no justification to write economic globalization off completely. Rather, we should adapt to and guide economic globalization, cushion its negative impact and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations,” said the Chinese President.
Problems are acceptable, but the fear of facing them and the incapability of finding solutions are not. To tackle the problems during economic globalization, the primary task is to make the cake of global development bigger. When global economy is facing downward pressure, it’s not easy to expand the cake, and it might even shrink. Therefore contradictions would appear sharper, and both developing and developed countries are expected to shoulder pressure and impacts.
Faced with contradictions and problems, global countries should adopt an opener mind and make joint efforts to enhance global governance, expand global market, better share the benefits with each other and revitalize global cooperation. Only by doing so, can economic globalization enjoy stronger dynamics, and can development dividend benefit more countries and regions.
To tackle the problems during economic globalization, how to slice the cake of development is also important. Many countries, especially certain developed ones, are seeing severe class rigidity and widening wealth gap, which generates serious domestic issues. However, this is caused by their domestic governance, rather than economic globalization. To blame other countries for domestic governance failure and turn to isolation out of the so-called fear for economic globalization will only lead to a dead end. Only by constant reforms that are able to solve the contradictions between growth and distribution, capital and labor, and efficiency and equality, can a workable path be found.
While WTO members enjoyed an average export increase of 14 percent between 1980 and 2016, the wealth and exports of non-members were on a fall, according to statistics released by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation. Such comparison proves that to integrate into and promote economic globalization is a right choice that conforms to the needs of each country to develop and the interests of the people.
Speaking of the prospects of economic globalization, former WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy noted that he still believes there’s a long way ahead for globalization, and its negative impacts can be eliminated, and dividends can be shared.
He took China as an example, saying the country benefited from globalization and contributed to it at the same time. The secret for China is that it upholds a people-centered development concept while expanding opening-up and embracing globalization and its development achievements are shared by all Chinese people.
International observers took President Xi’s speech at the WEF as a “Chinese declaration” that defends economic globalization and leads the world economy to walk out of shadow. They also drew inspiration from the initiative proposed in the same year by Klaus Schwab, founder of the WEF who said that “We need a new narrative for globalization”.
Chinese ideas and actions aim at joining hands with global partners to write new narratives of economic globalization. As more such narratives are created, the new type of economic globalization will be made more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all. These narratives will also help build an open world economy, promote global peace and stability, and achieve common development and prosperity.