WASHINGTON, DC — Thanks to the globalized market, the past two decades were supposed to have delivered economic prosperity at home and liberal democracy abroad. But as a new American Compass Atlas shows, this experiment has failed. Globalization’s prophets promised a new, better world, but it’s clear today that not only have authoritarian regimes not democratized, but at home, the U.S. economy is weaker and American workers are poorer.
These prophets—members of the “Uniparty,” a bipartisan group of politicians, business leaders, academics, and policy “experts”—devoted much of their energy at the turn of the 21st century to fighting for globalization, and specifically free trade with China. Looking back, the similarity of arguments made by figures from Bill Clinton to George W. Bush to Paul Krugman is striking. An online American Compass quiz invites you to “test your wits against the witless case for globalization”: Can you tell which member of the Uniparty said each quote about globalization? Click here to play.
“Where’s the Growth?,” an American Compass Atlas, breaks down the many failures of these prophecies, including:
- U.S. trade debt has massively increased since 2000, from $2 trillion to over $13 trillion in 2020.
- American advantage in Advanced Technology Products has collapsed —from a trade surplus of nearly $60 billion (2020 dollars) in 1992 to a deficit of $191 billion in 2020.
- Industrial manufacturing output has flatlined, while employment in that sector has plummeted—and this is not thanks to growing automation.
- The economy has failed to produce the “jobs of the future” we were promised: growing sectors tend to be ones where the jobs pay less than the lost manufacturing jobs did.
- With industrial atrophy, disappearing jobs, declining labor force participation, and increasing dependence on transfers has come a catastrophic and well-documented increase in substance abuse and “Deaths of Despair.”
Click here to read the full Regaining Our Balance collection on globalization.
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Levy a tariff on all imports that rises until trade is balanced