Monday, February 18, 2013

Pankaj Ghemawat on the extent of globalization

Since we are into rankings and globalization,here is another globalization ranking index - the DHL Global Connectedness Index 2012. I had earlier blogged about the E&Y globalization index.

Pankaj Ghemawat, who believes that the world is not as globalized as claimed to be (not really as flat as some would claim) commented on the globalization rankings here. His analysis of the world not being as globalized as claimed is found here:
 "...Among the several dozen audiences to which I have administered this test over the years, that third quote, which suggests that the we live in one, integrated world — what I call World 2.0 — is the one that garners the most support, usually a majority. Spouting such attitudes — the flattening of the world, the death of distance, and the disappearance of differences across countries — seems to be considered a hallmark of global thinking.
But I prefer to think of it as globaloney. 
Why? Because economic data simply don't support the view that we live in a flat, connected world, even if we are technologically connected with everyone, everywhere, all of the time. Data show that most types of economic activity that could be carried out across national borders are actually still concentrated domestically. For example, take foreign investment. Of all the capital being invested around the world, how much would you think is foreign direct investment by companies outside of their home countries? 25%, maybe? More, if you've heard the globaloney about "investment knowing no boundaries"? The fact is, the ratio was less than 9% in 2009 and, while it may be pushed higher by merger waves, has never reached 20%."
Coming back to the globalization index.The index "tracks the depth and breadth of trade, capital, information, and people flows across 140 countries that account for 99% of the world's GDP and 95% of its population. Based on data covering the period from 2005 to 2011, it charts how globalization has evolved since the onset of the financial crisis at the global, regional, and national levels."

The study concludes with a series of recommendations on how to increase the depth of "global connectedness" by studying the case studies of Netherlands (the most globally connected economy), Vietnam and Mexico. I found two of these conclusions interesting:
"6. Focus on value, not on volume. That was how Pascal Lamy, director-general of the WTO, summarized the implications of the ADDING Value scorecard, pointing out how trade professionals still often think mainly about increasing trade volumes rather than the value generated via trade.65 Vietnam and Mexico can both tap into large gains from increasing the share of domestic value-added in their exports at the same time as they continue growing their trade volumes. 
7. Recognize the importance of imports. Don’t mistake an export-only development strategy for a true global connectedness strategy. Recall the emphasis Vietnam’s exporters placed on challenges associated with the cost of imports. Imports of capital goods – machinery, equipment, and infrastructure-related products – boost productivity by facilitating the adoption of new technologies. New evidence suggests that imports might be associated with even more domestic innovation than exports. Importing is also usually the first step in the internationalization of small and medium-sized businesses that later go on to export."
Countries normally follow an export-led growth model shunning imports and seeing them as competition to domestic industry. However, imports that are inputs to various products can be a vital factor to boost a country's global connectedness. 

The report ends with a country-wise analysis of the factors that constitute global connectedness with a rooted map. A great source of information about issues of globalization and how connected we actually are.

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