On October 16, Eberhard Karls University in Tubingen honored one of its graduates, IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler, with an honorary professorship. In remarks on the occasion, Köhler urged his audience to work for “better globalization.”
Globalization is hardly a new phenomenon, he observed, with roots at least as far back as the eleventh century. The first great wave of trade and financial integration in the second half of the nineteenth century was interrupted by two world wars and the Great Depression. But these tragedies, he said, also yielded a new spirit of international cooperation—including the creation of the IMF—that helped spur a second great wave of global economic integration and prosperity. And now the world is witnessing a third wave, with the transformation of “new globalizers,” such as Brazil, China, India, and Mexico.
However, the 1.2 billion people still living in absolute poverty provide stark evidence, Köhler said, that many have yet to see benefits from globalization. And the severe financial crises of the 1990s provide further ample evidence of the risks that accompany global economic and financial integration. He proposed six guideposts toward building a better globalization: a clearer realization of the world’s growing interdependence, greater national self-responsibility, an international regulatory framework for globalization, a recognition that the social dimension is crucial for social stability and a good investment climate, respect for human diversity, and a global ethic based on shared basic human values.