Business leaders are scrambling to adjust to a world few imagined possible just a year ago. The myth of a borderless world has come crashing down. Traditional pillars of open markets—the United States and the UK—are wobbling, and China is positioning itself as globalization’s staunchest defender. In June 2016, the Brexit vote stunned the European Union, and the news coverage about globalization turned increasingly negative in the U.S. as the presidential election campaign progressed.
One week after Donald Trump’s inauguration, with fears of a trade war spiking, the Economist published a cover story, “The Retreat of the Global Company,” in which it proclaimed that “the biggest business idea of the past three decades is in deep trouble” and that “the advantages of scale and…arbitrage have worn away.” And Jeffrey Immelt, GE’s chairman and CEO, has talked about the company’s “bold pivot” from globalization to localization.
By: Pankaj Ghemawat
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