The Great Convergence: The Future of Trade and Globalization |

The Great Convergence: The Future of Trade and Globalization

Public Lecture


In The Great Convergence, one of this year’s most important economics books, Richard Baldwin argues that revolutionary advances in information technology and computing transformed globalization around 1990 in ways that few governments and companies have yet to fully understand. 

Better communication made it feasible for rich-nation firms to move manufacturing stages to developing nations. Offshoring is old hat, but the book argues for a focus less on the trade, investment and offshored jobs, and more on the offshoring of the ideas, intellectual property and knowledge that went with the jobs. After all, to keep the international production network in synch, firms had to send their marketing, managerial and technical knowhow along with the jobs. 

These massive knowledge flows fundamentally changed the way globalisation affects nations. In rich nations, the new flows broke the monopoly that rich-nation workers had on the use of advanced know-how, ideas and industrial/manufacturing intellectual property – firms could now combine high-tech with low-wage workers in developing nations. 

The ICT-enabled offshoring of production stages and occupations means that international competition is helping or harming individuals with little regard to sectors and skill groups. In short, the New Globalisation is impacting economies with a finer degree of resolution. Or to put it directly, no matter what job you have and no matter which sector you work in, you cannot really be sure that your job won’t be the next to suffer or benefit from the New Globalization. 

Moreover, because the New Globalisation is driven by fast-paced technological change and production fragmentation, its impact is more sudden, more individual, more unpredictable, and more uncontrollable. For the same reasons, it tends to defy the 20th century policy toolkits that were used to address the “rust-belting” of industries and communities in the 1970s and 1980s. 

As The Great Convergence shows, the New Globalisation presents governments in developed and developing nations with unprecedented economic and social policy challenges in their efforts to maintain reliable growth and social cohesion.

Prof. Richard Baldwin

Professor of International Economics, Graduate Institute in Geneva, Founder,

Richard Baldwin is a Professor of International Economics at the Graduate Institute in Geneva, President of the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London, and Founder of the economic policy portal

In addition to his research and teaching, he advises governments and international organisations around the world on globalisation and trade policy issues.

In 1990-91 he served as a Senior Staff Economist for US President George Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors, having completed his PhD in economics at MIT with Paul Krugman (with whom he has published a half dozen articles).

His latest book, The Great Convergence: Information technology and the New Globalisation, was published by Harvard University Press in November 2016.

Assoc Prof. Razeen Sally

Associate Professor, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy

Razeen Sally is Associate Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. He is Chairman of the Institute of Policy Studies, the main economic-policy think tank in his native Sri Lanka. Previously he taught at the London School of Economics, where he received his PhD. He has been Director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, a global-economy think tank in Brussels. He has held visiting research and teaching positions at Institut D’Etudes Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris, the Australian National University, the University of Hong Kong, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore, and Dartmouth College in the USA. He was also Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Competitiveness. He is an Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute, and on the advisory boards of the Institute of Economic Affairs (UK) and the Centre for Independent Studies (Australia). He is a member of the Mont Pelerin Society.

Razeen Sally’s research and teaching focuses on global trade policy and Asia in the world economy. He has written on the WTO, FTAs, and on different aspects of trade policy in Asia. He has also written on the history of economic ideas, especially the theory of commercial policy. His new book on Sri Lanka will be published in 2017.

Chair Person:

Mr. James Crabtree, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, Centre on Asia and Globalisation, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS

Friday, 21 April 2017

5:15pm - 6:30pm


Oei Tiong Ham Building,
Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy,
469C Bukit Timah Road,
Singapore 259772

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