For many years there was economic harmony in place, with two countries having very different economic systems.
One of the countries purchased large quantities of consumer goods from the other.
To pay for these goods there was debt and, as a result, the consumer goods producing country funded much of the government debt in the other country to the tune of just over $4 trillion.
Things were all going well until the financial crash in 2008 and, since then, both countries have new leaders who no longer see eye to eye like their predecessors.
I’m talking, of course, about the US and China.
President Donald Trump has adopted an in-your-face, unilateral approach – which is taking us down the wrong road.
If both China and the US are to resolve their current trade conflict, they need to acknowledge that differences between their two economic models are not going away any time soon.
Both countries need to introduce new economic norms that allow each one to sort out their domestic issues.
China needs to sell more to their own people and the US needs to work out how it protects sensitive business sectors with high-value intellectual property.
There is no doubt the Chinese economic miracle of the last 30 years has been built upon industrial and financial policies that violated key principles of this new globalised world.
They have subsidised certain industries and foreign-owned companies have been compelled to share technological know-how with local companies to gain market access.
The theft of intellectual property has existed for a long time, especially since the start of the industrial revolution.
A lot of the know-how in 19th Century England once crossed the Atlantic Ocean to a young US, which played catch-up with the Europeans.
China needs to realise that concerns now very evident in the US and Europe, about the theft of their homegrown technologies, are justified.
Perhaps the coexistence that took place during the Cold War needs to be revisited, as it secured a nervous peace from the end of the Second World War up to the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991.
It is very evident today that globalisation has produced winners and losers. The increasing number of “hard men” taking control of established democracies demonstrates that many who have been left behind are demanding change.
Unfortunately, the system today is perceived by many to benefit only a few.
We are also witnessing in parts of the world restrictions on the movement of people in this new, globalised economy.
I’m not advocating opening the floodgates with open borders, but perhaps there is a middle way.
In the developed economies, there is a need for low-skilled workers and this is not going away any time soon.
Up-skilling nationals in, for example, Europe and North America with well-funded education would dramatically increase the intellectual value of the population, resulting in more higher value jobs.
The unskilled and low-skilled jobs could be filled using expatriates from other countries, such as is the case today in the Gulf, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Some food for thought.