Thinking global, living local: Voices in a globalized world

Free Trade: Bane or Benefit?

Written by on . Published in Free Trade: Bane or Benefit?

Free Trade: Bane or Benefit?  Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

Free Trade: Bane or Benefit? Photo taken from Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain. 

International globalization has been shown to contribute to total global GDP growth, help produce greater employment, and reduce global poverty. However, there are some sectors and regions that are suffering in our globalizing world, and presenting precisely the opposite picture. Clearly the distribution of gains and losses from globalization is not evenly distributed across regions, countries, sectors and individuals.

One potential example of this is the idea of a trans-Atlantic free trade agreement between the United States and the European Union. Such an agreement could have many economic benefits for residents of the US and the EU. However, third parties such as China, India and Brazil claim that such an agreement could have negative impacts on global economic growth and employment markets.

The Future Challenges team works together to choose each topic that we discuss. This proposal came from the Bertelsmann Stiftung team itself, which is currently (as of May 2013) doing research on this topic. Working together, we came up with this big question:

How do the expectations and attitudes of people in different regions towards international trade differ? Do people believe that international trade affects their daily lives? And if so, how? Where do they see the opportunities and risks of efforts to lower barriers to trade, like the trans-Atlantic free trade agreement currently under consideration?

Future Challenges authors are in 65 countries in the developed and the developing world. Take your pick from the Local Views on the right, and explore the ways in which writers from around the world think about this critical issue.

Tom Fries Twitter: @tom_friesTom

Erstwhile neuroscientist ('97-'00), rowing coach ('99-'10), business student ('07-'09) and cupcake entrepreneur ('09). Now enjoying international work in the Germany and Washington offices of one of Germany's most prominent think tanks.

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