Some of you may be familiar with Thomas Barnett for his The Pentagon’s New Map and other books. He also has his own blog on which he’s posted a few thoughts (h/t) on how higher energy prices may affect globalization (inspired by this piece).
Up to now, accessing virtually any cheap, reliable labor made sense, given the cheapness of energy. Now, only those who can figure out how to make that happen with commensurately lower energy costs will be able to do so, and frankly, that should produce a better globalization. We’ve long let several crucial sectors of our economy off the hook in terms of serious innovation because there was no great incentive to pursue it….
I would expect to see a lot of glocalization by global corporations: continuing to “go global” by “going local,” meaning they become truly “globally integrated enterprises” of the Sam Palmisano mode (R&Ding locally, hiring and resourcing locally, and producing and selling locally–all the while remaining a global corp). So the Ikea that imports everything now starts producing locally, creating local manufacturing jobs. Sure, expect jobs to be “saved,” just don’t expect to get unduly picky about who the employer is. You can call that a “reversal” if you want, but that’s what a lot of economists and business types have been describing as the next stage of globalization anyway.