The core of the revolt against global integration, though, is not ignorance. It is a sense, not wholly unwarranted, that it is a project carried out by elites for elites with little consideration for the interests of ordinary people — who see the globalisation agenda as being set by big companies playing off one country against another. They read the revelations in the Panama Papers and conclude that globalisation offers a fortunate few the opportunities to avoid taxes and regulations that are not available to the rest. And they see the disintegration that accompanies global integration, as communities suffer when big employers lose to foreign competitors.
Much more promising is this idea: the promotion of global integration can become a bottom-up rather than a top-down project. The emphasis can shift from promoting integration to managing its consequences.
This would mean a shift from international trade agreements to international harmonisation agreements, where issues such as labour rights and environmental protection would take precedence over issues related to empowering foreign producers. It would also mean devoting as much political capital to the trillions that escape tax or evade regulation through cross-border capital flows as we now devote to trade agreements. And it would mean an emphasis on the challenges of middle-class parents everywhere who doubt, but still hope desperately, that their kids can have better lives than they did.
-Lawrence Summers ‘Global trade should be remade from the bottom up‘ The Financial Times