Nothing new


Globalization isn't new, points out Tim Worstall at the Globalisation Institute.  He's had a preview of an upcoming paper by Prof Leslie Hannah which shows that "Most of Europe's (and Britain's) problems of restricted twentieth-century growth derive from the tariff escalations, wars, dictatorships, expropriations, partitions, nationalism and related problems of 1914-1945."  Before the First World War we were quite happily interconnected with the world and enjoying the benefits.

Germany was dominant in the older industries such as coal and steel, while the UK was forging ahead in things like banking and finance.  These are echoes of the present day, with Germany more dependent than we would like to be on the white goods now so capably produced out East, while we lead in financial services.

Then, as now, the gains are to be made in specialization and trade, not in cowering behind protective tariffs, and certainly not in having government decide which areas the country should concentrate on. In the words of HRH Prince Charles, "People do that."