Economic nationalism is motivated by a range of intentions, many of which continue to be hotly debated. But there is an unintended consequence that has received less attention to date: As many politicians and policymakers in the world’s major economic powers look inward, the world of innovation has been thrown into uncertainty. The global innovation model long embraced by leading multinationals, one based on the free flow of information, money, and talent across borders, is at risk. The policies inspired by economic nationalism may prove self-defeating, in part by disrupting R&D activities for the new products and services that will generate the jobs, growth, and wealth of the future.
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