Has globalisation peaked? NZIER public discussion paper 2017/01

11 October 2017

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (Inc)
Media release, 11 October 2017
For immediate release

No, globalisation marches on!

The coalition talks are covering immigration and foreign investment policies so it is timely to point out to an incoming government that globalisation not only lives but is in rude health. No matter what policies are adopted globalisation will be a major factor in our lives for the foreseeable future.

“We cannot stop globalisation. It has too many facets: social cultural and economic. More importantly, it is how we capitalise on these changes that will determine New Zealand’s progress,” NZIER Senior Research Economist Chris Nixon said.

“And they are governed by technology, which keeps moving ahead, as we are reminded with each upgrade of our smart phone’s operating system,” he added.

We have had a bumpy ride

Nixon commented, “Recent experience with the TPP shows that whether it was good for New Zealand or not, the process was not well-managed and to an extent took public support for granted. But people were suspicious. Part of the issue is that change in New Zealand has not been gradual – it’s tended to be jerky. Unlike the experience of Australia, discussions around globalisation in New Zealand have become mixed up with the fraught debates about economic policy changes of the last fifteen years of the Twentieth Century“.

This period was a disruptive passage in New Zealand’s economic (and political) history. Sudden policy shifts had sizeable impacts and many people are still seeking reasons.

NZIER went back to basics to illustrate the issues

In a brief paper, Is globalisation upon us? NZIER WP 2017/01, researchers asked what is globalisation, what are key its dimensions, what is known about how it has evolved over time, and how has it played out in New Zealand?

Nixon commented, “we found that there was widespread concern that on-going de-globalisation was likely to reduce New Zealand’s trade opportunities, and that this would be significant for a small open economy like ours.”

“However, a wider view showed that globalisation is by no means a finished project, since flows of cultural texts, ideas, and information – already strong for New Zealand throughout the 20th century – continue to accelerate and grow in volume.”

Globalisation makes us more aware of our identity

Some characterise globalisation as a straightforwardly homogenising force.

“This couldn’t be further from the truth” Mr Nixon commented. “Globalisation has a localising effect that generates an automatic flip-side focused on who we are and what is different about us as New Zealanders, as we become more involved with the rest of the world.” Mr Nixon concluded.

Link to public discussion paper.

For further information please contact:
Chris Nixon
Senior Economist
Ph 021 633 127 | Chris.nixon@nzier.org.nz

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