The Return of the 1970s?

Trade, globalisation and emerging protectionism since the crisis

Fredrik Erixon & Razeen Sally

Published: March 2010

The global economic crisis, and governments’ responses to the crisis, did not precipitate a descent into 1930s-style protectionism. That is a relief. But it provides no refuge from policy measures that will slow down globalisation and growth in the next decade. ‘Creeping protectionism’ is increasing, and the crisis has reinforced trends visible before the start of the crisis. New patterns of protectionism are similar to developments in the 1970s and 1980s rather than the 1930s. Domestic ‘crisis interventions’, especially in capital and product markets, and the return of Big Government, will spill over to external policy, with more defensive trade policies as a consequence.

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