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digital daily: IMF v DAO

Macro Mondays – IMF v DAO. Globalization aims to improve living standards through the efficiency of trade. “Specialize in areas that are your comparative advantage and then trade for the things you don’t make.” The results were positively self-reinforcing when a global policy consensus emerged to act on these textbook rationalizations. World GDP growth averaged 3% with 20% inflation from 1980 to 1995; in the next 15 years, through deeper globalization, world growth averaged 4% with inflation of 6%. Most pronounced, EM inflation declined from an average of 52% to 11%. Skeptical voices around globalization were as faint as a conversation in a rock concert. But the music has stopped. This week’s Spring IMF meetings can start a new conversation. And it starts with accepting harsh realities – China is not changing. When the IMF accelerated China into its SDR reserve basket, it was with the hope and expectation of accelerated international reform to Western norms. Reforms were slowed, and global tensions have risen. The East-West friction is most evident on investment frontiers. Space. Absent from the International Space Station, China is progressing with its version, Tiangong, where astronauts returned last weekend from a six-month mission. Digital ecosystems are another frontier where global tensions cannot be swept under a rug. Uniquely, digital is positioned to rise above centralized political tensions by organically bringing the best ideas forward through decentralized organizations. DAOs can have a profound impact on how people organize. Policy will have to listen, as they do with any powerful lobby. But an abrupt change to the status quo heightens risk. Those with the most to lose will not sit idly by. Russia warning of a nuclear response to NATO expansion into Nordic countries (here). The US is under pressure to be explicit about its willingness to defend Taiwan (here). Globalization was heavily centralized in its strategy and its rewards. Decentralized governance shines a spotlight on an alternative path forward. Here’s hoping it emerges from common sense rather than from ashes.