There is growing concern throughout the world that the tide of globalism might be wound back after Trump takes office.
The concept of globalism is to conduct economic activities, such as trade and finance, beyond national boundaries and to unify the world with a set of common rules. This trend has spread worldwide since the 1990′s when the Soviet Union collapsed, and multinational corporations that operate across national borders emerged.
Some people speculate that the trend of globalism will begin to recede after Trump, who touts an “America first” policy, becomes president. A lot of media are expressing concern about the “Trump revolution,” but is globalism such an important concept in the first place?
Confidence in the Symbol of Globalism Wavers
Central to globalism are the credit-rating agencies that assess finance instruments issued by governments and corporations. At present, investors and entrepreneurs exchange funds by reference to this assessment.
Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), and Fitch Ratings are well known rating firms.
Those agencies are all based in America, so they are often accused of assigning unilateral ratings to financial products around the world based on American values. For example, they have given Japanese government bonds lower ratings than South Korea, even though South Korea is subject to growing fears of economic crisis. (refer to the following table)
Instead of questioning these unfair ratings, the Japanese mass media regard the ratings as compelling evidence to justify tax increases.
|Country name||Moody’s||S&P||Fitch Ratings|
Credit ratings by agencies and country
The top rating is AAA, followed by Aa/AA, A/A. Pluses and minuses are used to add further gradations.
Untrustworthy Rating Agencies
Then, how accurately do the rating agencies evaluate financial instruments?
Mr. Yoichi Takahashi, professor of Kaetsu University, made some interesting remarks about this issue. He says:
“When I asked how the credit rating agencies assign ratings, I got a surprising answer. They give ratings based on rough figures without reading budget documents at all. It is tantamount to evaluating the creditworthiness of a company based only on peripheral information without referring to financial statements. I was very surprised to learn that. After all, the information that rating companies provide is much the same as that of mass media that talks in a qualitative manner without depending on objective evaluation.” (from the article of Business Journal of the February 12th, 2015 edition)
It is not necessarily the case that all credit rating firms conduct their assessments in the same manner, but there is no doubt that some of them cannot be trusted.
Globalism Becomes Similar to Communism
There is another issue with the trend of globalism. That is, globalism tends to paint the whole world in a particular set of values, and as a result it becomes similar to communism.
Despite its lofty ideals, communism has created desperately unequal societies in which only those in power monopolize wealth and the poor remain poor.
In recent years, some multinational corporations have joined the globalism bandwagon and acquired enormous wealth, but they have not returned that wealth to their home countries. This has led to the stagnation of their country’s economy.
On the other hand, in some European countries, anti-globalism movements are gaining momentum and xenophobic rightist political parties are becoming visible. We cannot easily approve of these movements.
After all, it is not a matter of making a choice between “globalism” and “anti-globalism”. The important thing is that each one of us takes responsibility for our country, works diligently, and strives for development. It may sound obvious, but these “self-reliant efforts” are exactly what all countries and all people in the world need right now.