From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation

by Finbarr Livesey

Profile Books Ltd (2016)

Book Review

In From Global to Local: The Making of Things and the End of Globalisation, Finbarr Livesey challenges the common neoliberal claim that globalization is the be-all and end-all of global prosperity.

Livesey’s premise, which he supports with an impressive array of data, is that globalization peaked shortly after 2008 and the world economy is in a period of deglobalization. World trade is slowly declining as a percentage of GDP, and many companies who moved factories to the third world are improving their bottom line by reshoring them to the US and Europe.

Livesey contends that, to a large extent, last year’s vote for Britain to leave the EU and for a US president who promised to withdraw from the TPP and bring back American jobs, merely reflect an economic trend that began nearly a decade ago.

The present deglobalization was triggered by the 2008 financial crash that sucked trillions of dollars out of the global economy. However, Livesey identifies a number of other factors that influence this trend – chief among them the volatility of oil prices and shipping costs (containers must be booked months in advance) and the growing cost of labor in China and neighboring countries. At the same time, technological advances, including 3D printing and “additive manufacturing,” have led to an upsurge in “on demand” industries and consumer frustration with being limited to millions of identical mass produced items.

At present many companies find it more profitable to shorten their supply chain by producing most or all component parts locally or regionally. Between 2010 and 2015, over 1300 companies brought production back to the US. Even Apple and Google have started to reshore significant manufacturing operations.

At present three-fourths of everything bought in the US is made in the US.

Originally published in Dissident Voice

Comments
  1. auntyuta says:

    I am all for it that as much as possible is to be produced locally.
    Apparently “at present three-fourths of everything bought in the US is made in the US.”
    I would think that this at present does not apply to Australia, not yet anyway. In Australia it is very difficult for the average person to buy any piece of clothing that is made in Australia!

    • I feel the same about local production, Aunty. We have the same problem finding locally produced clothes in New Zealand. When we started closing down all our factories in the 1980s we lost all of our infrastructure and many of our skilled workers.

  2. Change is the only constant in our lives. The downside: positive changes can take generations for manifestation. Thanks for sharing that glimmer of hope.

  3. I think there’s a large glimmer of hope, Rosaliene. Especially in the area of renewable energy.

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