Is Globalization Still Powerful? Ask Russia.

We in the toy industry are globalists. As companies and individuals, we engage each other across borders to create, manufacture, and sell playthings. A walk through the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg, Germany, the biggest toy trade show in the world, is like a visit to the United Nations. Toy companies from virtually every country are present, buying and selling, sharing meals, talking, and becoming friends over a glass of beer and a Nuremberg sausage.

Globalization is, therefore, more than commerce. It is a driver of understanding and hopefully peace. When citizens of different countries engage in business, they get to know their counterparts as human beings with many shared values, hopes, and dreams.

Russia is part of the globalized world, but not that long ago, it was not. When the Soviet Union was still in business, Russia and its member states functioned in an alternative, state-run economic system. Russian citizens were economically and therefore personally cut off from the rest of the world. When part of a closed-off Communist financial system, Russia was, to the most part, invulnerable to economic warfare.

Today, we are witnessing an economic war in which Russian companies are the target of sanctions by most of the capitalist world. As a result, Russian companies have been disconnected from the international banking system that makes foreign trade possible.

Economic war does create financial casualties but spares lives and hopefully limits the spread of warfare. This ability to engage in bloodless aggression affirms the power of globalization.

Hopefully, the Russian invasion of Ukraine will end soon, and our Russian business counterparts will be able to rejoin the globalized economy. Whether it does or does not, we are learning that globalization is far from dead. It is a powerful force that may cause countries to think twice before allowing their economies to be battered in the name of geographic expansion.

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