There are new ideas in the air, from economists on the Republican side as well as Democrats, on how to increase redistribution through the tax system so as to reduce inequality and enhance the legitimacy of globalization. I think these are very helpful suggestions and considerably enlarge the set of policy options. The traditional admonition of pro-globalizers that the right response is more education and adjustment assistance has gotten way too stale. A more progressive tax system should help.
But is it enough? My sense is that the backlash is about more than purely economic motives. It is also about values and ethics. There is plenty of evidence that suggests that people are concerned about globalization not (just) because their pocketbooks are adversely affected but because they do not think its outcomes are right or fair. Issues of labor rights, environment, and pharma patents excite people because of the sense that the rules are not right. Economists may struggle with the term, but "fairness" in trade does resonate with most others. People do not seem to mind that technological progress makes the Sergey Brins and Bill Gates's of the world
multi-billionaires---because this kind of inequality seems somehow to fit with people's moral code of what is acceptable. The inequality you get when a corporation fires a long-term employee to employ an (almost) equally productive Chinese at one-tenth the wage is viewed differently. It is not just about inequality, but also about procedural fairness.
If I am right, the response has got to involve more than domestic tax policy. We cannot say globalization is inevitable and an overwhelming force for the good--so let's not touch it and find the solutions elsewhere. Globalization is part of the problem, and we need to tinker with the rules of globalization as well. We need to think in more radical terms.