The boom of global trade has led to an undeniable improvement in world poverty ratios; millions of people in developing countries have left extreme poverty behind, and the most vulnerable classes in developed societies have been able to access much cheaper goods. The same can be said for the swift spread of technological progress and the development experienced by emerging economies. Globalisation has been an unquestionable success, but it failed when it came to ensuring the correct redistribution of wealth, and it didn't manage to extend democracy throughout the world as it was initially predicted to do. Putin's regime and his invasion of Ukraine are further proof of the failure of using globalisation as a way to bring democracy and human rights to societies that don't enjoy them.
The social unrest created by the financial crisis of the last decade and the tussle between the USA and China for economic and strategic world dominance had already caused a slowdown in globalisation and recent events have further exacerbated the process. Trump's “America First” ideology was followed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which heightened trade tensions with the enforcement of all kinds of restrictions on the exchange of medical supplies; things worsened when governments began defining their strategic national sectors where protectionist restrictions and policies needed to be applied.
Lastly, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with the trade sanctions imposed and serious issues this has caused in the entire world's energy and grain markets, has ended up consolidating this new age defined by globalisation's limitations, as well as a new model of economic and strategic relationships throughout the world. Beyond a definitive conclusion to the war in Ukraine – which will never end in a victory for the aggressor country – we are facing something more profound than the battle for world leadership between two dominant powers. A new, alternative order to the one established by the world after the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall is being mapped out. The Western Bloc, which Biden is leading much more proactively than Trump, has bolstered its support of democratic values by offering the Ukrainian resistance robust backing. However, a group of countries (with China as its undisputed leader) continues to rise against and pose challenges to this Bloc. This group of countries strives to create a safe world for autocracies on an equal footing with democratic values. In addition, they've been able to harness trade and cooperation to achieve greater penetration in what is known as the Global South: basically Latin America and Africa.
The new order that is being unveiled affects all kinds of aspects: energy, infrastructure and digital developments, the fight against climate change, industry and raw material markets, and particularly the rare metal market. The new words in vogue in the business world are “reshoring”, “nearshoring” and “friendshoring”. They all entail a strategic review in which economic optimisation is less relevant than the concept of safety and proximity. Governments are also openly discussing protectionist measures for their strategic sectors.
Despite these problems, a complete breakdown of the close, complex economic relations woven throughout globalisation doesn't appear to be possible and, in any case, it isn't desirable as its consequences would be extremely serious; estimates suggest the losses could range between 2% and 7% of global GDP, and the most vulnerable classes would be those most affected. For this reason, consideration must be paid to the new bases of international relations and bonds of trust between countries, which will allow us to ensure ordered coexistence in a more fragmented world.