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This article was featured in Foreign Affairs magazine and written by Henry Farrell and Abraham Newman, both participating scholars in the U.S.-China Research Group on E-commerce and Mobile Technology, as part of their collaborative research.

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December 18, 2019

Chained to Globalization: Why It’s Too Late to Decouple

Author: Henry Farrell Abraham Newman

In the past few years, Beijing and Washington have been just the most visible examples of governments recognizing how many dangers come with interdependence and frantically trying to do something about it. But the economies of countries such as China and the United States are too deeply entwined to be separated—or “decoupled”—without causing chaos. States have little or no ability to become economically self-reliant. Hawks in Beijing and Washington may talk about a new Cold War, but there is today no way to split the world into competing blocs. Countries will remain entangled with one another, despite the dangers that their ties produce—bringing a new era of what might be called “chained globalization.” Under chained globalization, states will be bound together by interdependence that will tempt them to strangle their competitors through economic coercion and espionage, even as they try to fight off their rivals’ attempts to do the same.

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