Acton Institute Powerblog

The Growing Backlash against Globalization

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Actonites know about all the benefits of globalization.

Most of these benefits are economic but also have much greater and often unseen social impact as well. Increased international trade in goods and services promotes division of labor and an efficient use of scarce resources, resulting in lower-priced, higher-quality products. The poor are often the greatest beneficiaries as both producers and consumers. People all over the world come to recognize their increased interdependence, not only with their local grocer or tailor, but with others in faraway lands.

Only the most xenophobic and nationalistic foes of economic and social progress would be against globalization, right?


In nearly every country of the world, including those who have thrived in the last 10-20 years of increased trade, globalization is under attack and in danger of being reversed.

See here for the troubles being reported in Europe, here in the United States, and here in India. And there’s plenty more out there.

This most recent backlash against globalization shows how fears of insecurity prey on mass perceptions and how arguments in favor of economic efficiency are rarely strong enough to resist these fears.

Readers of the Acton PowerBlog know how important religious leaders can be in shaping moral arguments and more of these leaders need to understand just what is at stake here. A collapse of the global economic system resulting from increased protectionism would be an unmitigated disaster for everyone.

There are reports that Pope Benedict is planning a social encyclical on work. It would be a perfect opportunity to re-examine John Paul II’s groundbreaking “Centesimus Annus” and the more recent trends the world has seen.

Kishore Jayabalan Kishore Jayabalan is director of Istituto Acton, the Acton Institute's Rome office. Formerly, he worked for the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as the lead policy analyst on sustainable development and arms control. Kishore Jayabalan earned a B.A. in political science and economics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In college, he was executive editor of The Michigan Review and an economic policy intern for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He worked as an international economist for the Bureau of Labor Statistics in Washington, D.C. and then graduated with an M.A. in political science from the University of Toronto. While in Toronto, Kishore interned in the university's Newman Centre, which led to his appointment to the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York. Two years later, he returned to Rome to work for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace as the Holy See's lead policy analyst on sustainable development and arms control. As director of Istituto Acton, Kishore organizes the institute's educational and outreach efforts in Rome and throughout Europe.


  • Clare Krishan

    “DOHA or die” GUARDIAN UK “WTO talks fail to make breakthrough, crisis looms” REUTERS – who’s asleep at the wheel at ActonPowerBlog? No one brave enough to stake out the moral ground on this one? While our guys and gals risk life and limb in Afgahnistan/Iraq, their chums at home are fearful of a few pitchfork-wielding country bumpkins or having more fun discussing infantile fantasies such as Superman?? Say it aint’ so, I’m very disappointed… Catch up at:,,1809994,00.html
    >500 more related articles at Google News

  • Jake Summers

    I know it doesn’t count for much, but globalization has done nothing to help me personally and has made my life miserable. As I return to college I see all the skills most academic intuitions teach as being able to be outsourced like my technology degree was. I should have been a plumber but they are importing those from south of the border as well. In the end it seems there will only be the super rich sitting on top of their pyramid schemes and everyone else living in misery, at least during the rest of my lifetime. Maybe that was their agenda all along and this battle isn’t about feeding the poor but deciding who will rule the economic world in the near future. Looks like that might be China.

    Life is getting really rough and I am very scared. If I get a serious bump in the future I will be out on the street and that won’t be good for America or myself because then it comes down to ruthless survival or suicide.