There are striking similarities between today’s early 21st century trade political economy and its late 19th century equivalent. Ascendant populist nationalism, escalating trade protectionism and tariff wars, growing discontent over globalization’s distributional impacts and fast emerging economic superpowers disrupting the global order are features shared by both periods. This comparative historical analysis explores what lessons and conclusions we may draw from the past late 19th century world that can be applied to today. Integral to this discussion are the prospects of our early 21st century world experiencing a similar endgame of global conflict, as transpired around a century ago. In revisiting the past to better understand the present and future, this paper first evaluates empirical similarities between the trade political economies of both periods. It then applies theories and concepts of economic nationalism, globalization and interdependence in developing deeper conclusions and arguments. Brexit, Trump and their historic parallels serve as primary focal points in this study.
- Economic nationalism