Western world dislikes globalisation, but everyone else loves it: Oxford professor

Globalisation may be a dirty word for some. But for most, it’s welcomed with open arms, said Oxford’s professor of globalisation and development, Ian Goldin.

“Most of the world is liking globalisation more and more,” Goldin said in a special one-to-one video interview with Yahoo Finance UK at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

“The view we have in old, rich countries – [in] North America and Europe – is that globalisation is bad. [But that’s] not a view shared in Asia [and] China. Even India, which used to be anti-globalisation, is very pro-globalisation now,” he said, in comments likely to prove controversial with globalisation’s critics.

Those in North America and Europe who feel threatened by the rise of new global powers have the mindset of “an old man, losing superiority,” he said.

Despite the opposition, Goldin believes globalisation and global cooperation can be a force for good, allowing leaders to work together on critical issues related to climate change, pandemics and cyber-security threats. However, it’s not purely a force for good.

Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University. Photo: Getty
Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University. Photo: Getty

“Globalisation is good, globalisation is bad, and globalisation is very ugly. We need to be able to understand what the good aspects are in order to harvest them, maximise them. We need to understand what the bad aspects are in order to minimise them. And we need to understand what the ugly aspects are to stop them,” he said.

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Goldin was the founding director of the Oxford Martin School, an institution designed to pursue leading research on global challenges. Prior to that, he was a vice president at the World Bank and served as an advisor to South Africa’s former president Nelson Mandela.