Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

Gillian Tett wrote a refreshing account of globalization that I would like to repeat (“What ‘Squid Game’ Tells Us About Globalization”, OpinionDecember 24).

Critics often blame globalization for household ailments such as unemployment and inequality. Yet globalization is a structural force related to gravity rather than mere policies. It is pointless to condemn the power itself when domestic governments fail to manage it. Some domestic governments have even tried to defy this force under the banner of decoupling and resettlement.

Globalization’s bad reputation is often due to the misunderstanding of its nature. Globalization is not a sport like the Squid Game, which generates winners and losers. As a force it is meant to be harnessed. The virtues of global supply chains transcend significant benefits of export and investment. Their value is to create a common project in which numerous economic role players both work in their own niches and thrive together. It is this relationship and connectivity that truly characterizes the nature and potential of global supply chains. No wonder they are often called global “value” chains.

The recent pandemic has only highlighted this fatal bond of human cooperation. Although mass pollution can be an unfortunate aspect of globalization, its solution is also only conceivable within the same context. Bringing vaccines to a global village in time will require an ingenious administration of globalization.

The Squid Game was all about killing others in order to survive. Ironically, however, what made it so popular among the global audience was the hidden moral theme: we also need others to survive.

Sungjoon Cho
Professor of Law, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, Chicago, IL, USA

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