Advice to the President: See Challenges of Globalization Clearly, Act Wisely

Miller Center essays

For most of the past half-century, America has embraced free trade and open markets. Now, however, Americans of all political persuasions question whether the benefits of globalization outweigh the costs. Many see current trade practices as threats to their own lives.

On Monday, the University of Virginia Miller Center’s First Year Project, an ambitious effort devoted to the new president’s make-or-break first year in office, released “Volume 10: The Uncertain Future of Globalization”: six essays to help President Trump and his administration see the challenges of globalization clearly – and deal with them wisely.

China: Challenge, Not Obstacle

“The problem with an isolationist interpretation of ‘America First’ is that America is not isolated,” writes the Miller Center’s Brantly Womack. He suggests ways to engage with China, likening the relationship to a dance, where America can take the lead.

“Making America great again requires global leadership, and leadership is interactive.” Brantly Womack, Professor of Foreign Affairs and C.K. Yen Professor at the Miller Center, University of Virginia

Can We Be Friends?

President Trump must overcome his visceral opposition to economic cooperation to avoid financial instability, writes Harvard University’s Jeffrey Frieden. Instead, the president should seek to harmonize macroeconomic policies among nations.

“Macroeconomic cooperation requires governments to do things they would not otherwise do.” Jeffrey Frieden, Professor of Government, Harvard University

In Case of Emergency ...

A crisis requires “quick decision-making and action before the new administration has accrued significant experience,” writes Barry Eichengreen of the University of California-Berkeley. He offers lessons President Trump can learn from his predecessors.

“If faced with a serious financial crisis, the new president will have to establish lines of communication and good relations with foreign governments.” Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics

Growth Abroad = Growth at Home

The University of Wisconsin’s Menzie Chinn recommends a high-level finance meeting among industrialized countries to reflate the global economy. The United States should seek greater fiscal stimulus worldwide, he says, with less reliance on monetary policy alone for growth.

“The United States will have to exercise leadership in defining, and punishing, [currency manipulation] activities.” Menzie Chen, Professor of Public Affairs and Economics, University of Wisconsin

‘America Can Come First’

A bipartisan, postwar tradition of trade liberalization has served as a major source of U.S. productivity growth, says Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the American Action Forum. But today the president must build sound domestic policy foundations to pursue a global economic agenda.

“This diminished prospect for prosperity is at the root of the rejection of globalization.” Douglas Holtz-Eakin, President, American Action Forum

Make Trade Great Again

A populist backlash against trade liberalization isn’t confined to the United States, Princeton University’s Christina Davis says. President Trump should embrace new trade strategies, and she suggests a three-pronged approach for doing so.

“Only with support for low-income workers threatened by trade can the country enter new liberalization agreements.” Christina Davis, Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University

Media Contact

Howard Witt

Miller Center of Public Affairs