In Transition: A Shift Toward De-Globalization

The article explores the global transition from globalization to de-globalization, characterized by a shift towards national sovereignty and local solutions over global integration.

Abstract: The article explores the global transition from globalization to de-globalization, characterized by a shift towards national sovereignty and local solutions over global integration. This trend is driven by key events such as the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, Brexit, the rise of Trump and American protectionism, the COVID-19 pandemic, and increased regionalism. These events underscore a growing skepticism towards international institutions and a preference for national stability and self-sufficiency. Historical patterns reveal that global and local economic forces coexist, making the current shift a complex realignment rather than a complete departure from globalization


De-globalization is a movement towards a less connected world characterized by powerful nations, local solutions, and broader control rather than global control, free movement, and treaties (Wallace, 2022). The world appears to be shifting towards de-globalization, driven by movements such as Brexit, Trumpism, the Ukraine war, and disruptions in global supply chains. The past decade’s decline in foreign direct investment reflects increasing skepticism in globalised economies. Populist movements in Europe and the US oppose international institutions like the WTO and NATO, advocating for national sovereignty over global cooperation. The COVID-19 pandemic and the ineffective responses from the WHO and UN have further eroded trust in global institutions. Consistently, there is a growing resistance to globalization, with many countries prioritizing domestic interests over international collaboration. In this article, we are going to explain the movements and events that reflect the transition of globalization towards de-globalization.

History and phases of De-globalization

Professor Markus Kornprobst and John Wallace wrote in their article “What is Deglobalization?” that according to some economists, there were previous phases of de-globalization. According to this theory, after the Napoleonic Wars of the 19th century, the world experienced the age of globalization until World War I. This was followed by deglobalization from 1910 to 1950, after which the recent intense phase of globalization began. However, it overlooks the global economic connections of that time. If there was no globalization, how could the 1929 global economic recession happen? This indicates that even during periods of deglobalization, substantial global economic links persisted. These historical patterns show that global and local economic forces coexist, making it difficult to categories any era as purely globalised or deglobalized (Wallace, 2022). After the 2008 financial crisis and some other global events, we are seeing a reduction in global economic interconnectedness, which marks a new phase of deglobalization.

Events that Marks the shift from Globalization to De-globalization

  1. The Global Financial Crisis 2008

The global economic recession of 2008 marked a global shift towards deglobalization, as outlined by John Weinberg in his article “The Global Financial Crisis and its aftermath.” The crisis sparked by the collapse of the US housing market and the ensuing financial upheaval revealed weaknesses in the globally interconnected financial system. Economies around the world faced severe economic downturns, leading to the relevance of global financial integration. In response, many nations adopted protectionist policies and increased regulation to save their economies from external shocks. The Dodd-Frank Act in the US, which introduced striker oversight and a higher capital requirement for financial institutions, is a prime example. This trend towards regulatory tightening and financial insulation represents a move away from liberalized, globally integrated market that characterizes the free crisis era. Consequently, the crisis underscored the risk of excessive globalization and promoted a reconsideration of the of the national economy, sovereignty, and stability (Weinberg, 2013 ).

  • Brexit Referendum a move Toward Deglobalization 

Brexit signifies a pivotal movement in the era of deglobalization, challenging the assumptions underpinning global economic integration. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 heralded a period of unfettered globalization characterized by free movement of goods, capital, and people. However, the rise of populist sentiments and economic discontent, culminating in Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, underscores the failure of globalization to deliver equitable benefits. The Brexit vote was more than a protest against European bureaucracy; it was a rejection of an economic model that prioritized transnational capital over national welfare and employment. The EU, which envisioned a bulwark against market excesses, has struggled to protect jobs and living standards, leading to wider dissatisfaction. Brexit exemplifies the blackish against globalization inequities as voters seek a return to security provided by nation-states. The rise of populist movements across Europe reflects a growing demand for political solutions to economic disparities exacerbated by globalization. Thus, Brexit marks a significant shift towards deglobalization, emphasizing the need to rethink and reshape the global market economy to address the grievances of those left behind (Elliot, 2016 ).

  • The Rise of Trump and American Protectionism

The 2016 US election marked a big change in political discussion as trade became a hot topic, a first since 1930. This change was due to stagnant household income, managing job losses, and the growing wealth of the top 1 percent. This issue makes it easy to blame globalization for economic problems. Although these challenges were more about automation and social safety nets, Donald Trump pushed for reversing trade liberalization. He proposed high tariffs, renegotiating or ending NAFTA, withdrawing from the TPP, and even leaving the World Trade Organization. Trump’s message blamed trade deficits and unfair trade practices for economic trouble, even though these were mainly caused by technology change and policy failures. His anti-globalization stance appealed too many, affecting both Republican and Democratic views on trade and leading to opposition to new trade deals. This shift signals a move away from the global trade system that has greatly benefited the US economy, putting both economic gains and international leadership at risk (Cimino-Isaacs, 2017).

  • COVID 19

The COVID-19 has significantly accelerated deglobalization trends, reducing interconnectedness and reinforcing the impoliteness of nations and states. Economic globalization had already peaked in the late 2000s, but the pandemic intensified protectionist policies and a shift towards self-sufficiency. Politically, there has been a noticeable blackish against migration, especially in Europe, where disparities in vaccination rates have fueled populist and nativist agendas. The return of migrants to their home countries in Eastern Europe might reverse long-term migration patterns, potentially improving local economies and reducing brain drain. Nationalist political parties in countries like Sweden and Belgium have gained traction by advocating strict COVID-19 containment measures. The pandemic has also highlighted the effectiveness of strong nation-state governance, challenging the perceived efficiency of supranational bodies like the European Union. Moreover, the crisis has exposed the value of major powers, with the US facing severe economic and health challenges and China’s global reputation suffering due to early mishandling of the virus. These dynamics suggest a temporary reversal of globalization, with countries prioritizing national interests and border controls, reflecting a broader shift towards deglobalization in the post-pandemic world (Dandolov, 2021). 

  • Rise in Regionalism

The rise of regionalism and its link to deglobalization is a response to numerous global distributions and protectionist measures that have fragmented international trade. Initially driven by the trade war, the trend was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemics, which highlighted the value of global supply changes. The ensuing geopolitical instability, particularly the war between Russia and Ukraine, further intensified these trends, leading to a significant in the supply of key commodities. The introduction of measures like the Carbon Broader Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) by the EU, ostensibly for climate protection, has also violated the rule, imposing additional costs on non-European exporters and pestering regional market consolidation. Protectionism through tariffs and quotas has increasingly characterized trade policies, pushing countries to focus on strengthening their domestic markets and regional trade agreements. This regionalization is marked by an increase logistical and production cost inflation and a shift in trade dynamics as nations priorities self-sufficiency over global integration. As a result, the global economy is witnessing a structural shift from broad-based globalization to a more fragmented and regionalized trading system. Forever altering the landscape of international commerce (Zinchenko, 2022).


The discussion above outlines a shift toward deglobalization driven by significant events and trends. Key movements including the 2008 global financial crisis, which exposed the risk of financial integration and lead to increased regulation and protectionism. Brexit highlighted discontent with globalization’s economic inequalities while trump’s 2016 election emphasis protectionism the COVID 19 pandemic accelerated these trends, promoting national self sufficiency and exposing weakness in global governance. Additionally the rise of regionalism fueled by geopolitical instability and trade war, has led to focus on domestic market and regional trade    agreements. These developments reflect a broader resistant to globalization prioritizing national interest and stability over international co-operation.

Zahoor Alam
Zahoor Alam
The writer is an undergraduate student, studying International Relation at GC University Lahore