Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences

Deglobalization and Decoupling: Towards a New Order of Global Trade

27. Apr 2023, 6.15 pm
Lehrgebäude 1, Lecture hall 3 (Campus)
Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences
Professor Emeritus Arie Y. Lewin (Duke University)
Event type
University lecture
Event Language(s)
Members of the Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences

Guest Lecture by Professor Emeritus Arie Y. Lewin (Duke University) at the Faculty of Economics, Law and Social Sciences.

In the past 5 years, deglobalization and decoupling have received growing attention in international business and global strategy research (e.g., Petricevic and Teece, 2019; Vertinsky et al., 2023; Witt, 2019; Witt, Lewin, Ling, and Gaur, 2023; Kenney and Lewin, 2022; Lewin and Witt, 2022; and Li, Lewin, Witt, and Valikangas, 2021). Both of these concepts relate to decreasing levels of economic interdependence, with the world as the level of analysis for deglobalization and dyadic pairs of countries, or groups of countries, as the level of analysis for decoupling. The available empirical evidence (Witt et al., 2023) suggests that the world has been deglobalizing since around 2007. It also shows that the world’s two largest economies, China and the United States, have been decoupling since the mid-2000s. US allies may align with the United States in decoupling from China, although the economic costs may be a source of friction. Friendshoring by US companies of operations previously located in China has revealed challenges for MNEs with domestic markets in China as well as limitations on reshoring to the US. Separately the China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has drawn other countries closer into China’s orbit, (e.g., Africa, former states of the Soviet Union, and Latin America, Lewin and Witt, 2022). Beyond the Sino-American rivalry, Russia and the EU are competing in Africa for large scale infrastructure projects in an attempt for greater influence. And Indian foreign policy seems torn between countering China with the help of the United States and its allies, while not alienating Russia, a Chinese ally, through increased imports of Russian oil (Witt et al., 2023). South Africa, the lead economy on the African continent, seems to be drawing closer to China and Russia. Moreover, the BRICS, have shown a newfound ability to come together for joint institution-building. Taken together, this talk explores the possibility of an economic world order that may be fragmented beyond the Sino-American bifurcation previously envisioned by Petricevic et al. (2019) and explores new opportunities for Strategy and International Business research as it affects MNEs (e.g., reshoring Industry4.0 manufacturing) and possible new institutional order for the conduct of global trade.