September 25, 2018

Slowdown in global trade: " Please use the sharing tools found via the share button at the top or side of articles. Copying articles to share with others is a breach of T&Cs and Copyright Policy. Email [email protected] to buy additional rights. Subscribers may share up to 10 or 20 articles per month using the gift article service. More information can be found at . This gross exports series shows that between 2000 and 2008 there was a frenzy of activity in global supply chains. Indeed, as Mr Shin explained, gross exports relative to GDP exploded by a cumulative 16 per cent, due to intense supply chain activity between China and the west. However, when the 2008 financial crisis hit, gross exports crumbled. No surprise there, perhaps. But what is more remarkable is that, while gross exports recovered in 2009, they have never returned to anything like the pre-2007 figure. More striking still, since 2011 gross exports have steadily declined relative to GDP — meaning, Mr Shin noted, that “the slowdown in trade predates the retreat into protectionism and trade conflicts in the last couple of years”. Why? One explanation might be that services are becoming more important in the global economy than manufacturing. Another might be technological innovation: automation has cut the cost of western manufacturing, reducing the need to outsource production to low-wage locations such as China. However, Mr Shin thinks another crucial — and overlooked — factor is finance. Companies need hefty amounts of...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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