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Noah Smith

Look Out for the Great Trade Stagnation

Trade boosts productivity, the key to rising living standards.
More, please.

More, please.

Photographer: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/getty images

Something a little worrying has happened to the global economy: Trade is slowing down. 

Since the end of World War II, the world has grown steadily more globalized. Trade has grown faster than global gross domestic product itself. Supply chains have lengthened. Companies have become more multinational. The rate of globalization reached a fever pitch in the 1990s and early 2000s.