What kind of economic world do we live in?
It is interconnected, not only in the sharing of information, but also in the relationships among financial markets.
The movement of money between the world's currencies has been amazing. And the dollar, being the premier store of value currency, is at the center of everything.
Consider what has been happening since the U.S. presidential election.
The U.S. dollar has risen substantially against the euro. It has also risen against the pound, extending the gains that occurred after the British voted to leave the European Union.
Since election day, the dollar has risen against the yen and further extended gains against China's yuan. Currencies from emerging-market nations have also declined in value during this period.
And, if the Federal Reserve raises its short-term interest rate target at its December meeting, this will only further strengthen the the dollar. Furthermore, it is expected that the Fed will raise rates again next year, maybe more than once.
The U.S. is economically so connected with others that there now a question as to how the incoming government will conduct monetary and fiscal policy, given its protectionist leanings.
With this amount of connectivity, it is hard to see how politicians in the U.S. could conceive of withdrawing from the world.
Yet that is just what the U.S. seems to be doing.
President-elect Donald Trump has campaigned upon the idea that the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or, TPP, would be a "disaster." Trump also has indicated that he would like to do away with the North American Free Trade Agreement, NAFTA, and provide other forms of protection to shelter American industry.
People are beginning to realize that it the U.S. shrinks away from these trade deals it will be holding the door open for the Chinese to move into the vacuum and take charge of world world economic affairs.
The TPP could move ahead, just without the U.S. Or, there is the Asian trade agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, led by China that could grow to include dissatisfied TPP nations. Peru and Chile, for example, have expressed interest in joining.
World leaders, at the Asia-Pacific Cooperation forum in Lima, Peru, have talked openly about other ways "open trade" could be achieved.
The crucial fact is that the situation is not going to stand still.
China is moving on all fronts to increase its presence in world trade, even if it was excluded from the TPP.
Yes, there are problems in the U.S. that may stem at least partly from international trade. Some companies have moved major parts of their business to countries where costs are lower. Cheaper workers from developing regions are also affecting U.S. labor markets.
But trade and immigration are not the only factors that are creating a dissatisfied electorate. And, trade protection and barriers to entry are not going to resolve current problems. This is something politicians are going to have to accept.
It this modern world, it is a pipe dream to imagine that the flow of information and world trade is going to be stopped. We cannot revert to our national boundaries, as was done in the past, and hope to shut out the rest of the world.
The financial markets are showing how interconnected everything is. As Great Britain is starting to find out, withdrawing from the interconnected world is painful and costly. Let's hope the U.S. doesn't try to find out how painful and costly it is.