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CNBC Poll: Has Globalization Backfired On The West?

Gordon Brown, former U.K. prime minister, center, participates in a panel discussion with Tidjane Thiam, chief executive officer of Prudential Plc, left, and George Yeo, Singapore's foreign minister, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.
Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images
Gordon Brown, former U.K. prime minister, center, participates in a panel discussion with Tidjane Thiam, chief executive officer of Prudential Plc, left, and George Yeo, Singapore's foreign minister, at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting.

A decade ago, the movers and shakers atthe World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Switzerlandwere a pretty homogenous bunch — somewhat similar to a G7 summit with a Swiss twist — but much like the global economy, the attendee mix has been changing.

For years now, Russia, China, India, Brazil, the Middle East, not to mention the onetime Soviet satellites turned EU members, have been well represented. Globalization is no longer a trend; it is the norm.

The meeting's official agenda often reflects that.

Once again, the meeting takes place as the developed nations struggle to return to normal. Debt time bombs tick in both the U.S. and the European Union, although more loudly in the latter, while the U.K. tries to shake off stagnation. Ditto Japan, but with its unique lingering case. Switzerland — the host country — tries to cope with a strong, burdensome currency.

Meanwhile, emerging-market growth is pulling the world economy, with China close to assuming pendulum status and India and Brazil clearly in supporting roles. Commodities-laden economies, such as those of Russia, Brazil (again) and South Africa also hold sway. The consumer and debtor nations of a decade ago are now today's producers and lendors

It may be too soon to call it a reversal of fortune but globalization is no longer a one-way street.

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