“Wall” or “ladder”: value conflicts of the US globalization process and Trump administration’s policy options

SUN Tianhao1 SHENG Bin2

(1.Institute of International Economics, Nankai University)
(2.School of Economics, Nankai University)

【Abstract】The longest government shutdown in US history reflects not only political wrestling between the Republicans and Democrats but also value conflicts over globalization among the US public. The US is the dominant force and beneficiary of the second round of economic globalization. Its traditional globalization values emphasize liberalization and marketization and promote global economic liberalism on this basis. However, against the backdrop of a weakening global economic recovery and growing income inequality, anti-globalization sentiment is gaining momentum in the US. The anti-globalization trend is the main reason for value conflicts in the process of globalization in the US. The people who suffer from increasing income inequality due to globalization and the beneficiaries of globalization argue about and play games on the policies of economic globalization including immigration, trade, and financial policies. At the same time, the value conflicts promote the Trump administration to adopt an America First strategy. This policy choice is a manifestation of political populism, economic nativism, trade protectionism, and neo-isolationism in international relations. This is the result of the Trump administration’s choosing a less costly policy in the impossible trilemma of globalization.

【Keywords】 US politics; society and culture; border wall; anti-globalization trend; globalization paradox; Trump administration;


【Funds】 Humanities and Social Sciences Key Research Base Project of the Ministry of Education (ZX20170221).

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(Translated by GU Ming)


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This Article


CN: 11-1170/C

Vol 33, No. 04, Pages 21-35+5-6

August 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Border wall dispute and the value orientation of globalization in the US traditional sense
  • 2 Anti-globalization trend and value conflicts of the US in the process of globalization
  • 3 Globalization paradox and its impact on the US politics
  • 4 Policy choices of the Trump administration
  • Conclusion
  • Footnote