Back to the Future: Is the World Heading Into a New Wave of Protectionism?

In the 1930s, the Great Depression reversed a long trend towards globalization: Borders were shut, trade was halted, and tariffs imposed. After the 2008 financial crisis, it initially seemed that this would not occur again. But free trade is now stirring strong political passions, with politicians and voters of all stripes blaming trade for rising unemployment. So are we heading for a new protectionist wave? Or is it possible to resurrect the free trade dream? Is free trade really as damaging for peoples' jobs as the critics fear anyway?

Festival: 2016

More on this Session

Watch and Listen: World

Most of us probably harbor preconceived notions about refugees. Maybe it’s a misunderstanding about what drove them... See more
The Trump Administration has said that “all options are on the table” in North Korea. What actually are the options,... See more
The Afternoon of Conversation is the Aspen Ideas Festival's signature event and hosts an audience of 2,000 in the... See more
Authoritarian populists are gaining power from Ankara to Athens, from Warsaw to Washington. Meanwhile, popular support... See more
This talk rethinks refugees as a potential economic benefit to the societies that host them, rather than simply passive... See more
It’s been called one of the worst self-inflicted political wounds of modern times. British Prime Minister Theresa May,... See more

Pages