Expand chart
Reproduced from GE Global Innovation Barometer 2018; Chart: Axios Visuals

Business executives across the globe—typically a chorus of free traders—favor barriers that would protect and foster technological advances in their own country, according to a new survey.

Quick take: The result, in a GE survey of 2,090 executives in 20 major economies, diverges from seven decades of broad business support for liberalized trade, which mainstream economists believe has powered rising prosperity and shrinking poverty.

By the numbers: In the survey, conducted for GE by Edelman Intelligence, 55% of the executives said protectionism would make their business sector more competitive. Of those who were pro-protectionism:

  • 73% said it would help workers.
  • 60% said it would "foster ideas domestically."
  • "I was shocked" by the result, Marco Annunziata, GE's former chief economist, told Axios. "We have known that protectionist winds were blowing but always thought that business was the last bastion of open markets and globalization. It's a bit of a reality check."

Sue Siegel, GE's chief innovation officer, called the sentiment "a short-term, opportunistic approach" to domestic economic policy. "Long-term health relies on open free trade," she said.

A primary division between the pro- and anti-protectionist executives was how they felt about government's role in innovation.

  • Pro-protectionists said government and other national bodies were the main drivers and funders of innovation.
  • Anti-protectionists said business is innovation's main driver, and that government fails to effectively regulate innovation.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Macron visits Beirut promising a "new political pact" for Lebanon

Macron visits the hard-hit Gemmayzeh neighborhood. Photo: AFP via Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron walked through the blast-damaged streets of Beirut on Thursday, swarmed by people chanting for the fall of Lebanon's government and pleading for international aid.

Why it matters: Lebanon is at a breaking point. Its economy was collapsing and its government hardly functioning — all before a massive explosion destroyed swathes of the capital city, including its vital port.

2 hours ago - Sports

The PGA Championship is golf's first major in over a year

Photo: Gary Kellner/PGA of America via Getty Images

The 2020 PGA Championship tees off Thursday at San Francisco's TPC Harding Park, which is hosting its first-ever major.

Why it matters: It's the first major in more than a year — and the first of seven majors in the next 12 months. Though there won't be any fans in attendance, the excitement is palpable.

July's jobs report could be an inflection point for the coronavirus recovery

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Even if Friday's jobs report shows a big number, it is becoming clear hiring slowed and likely even reversed course in July and real-time indicators suggest the employment situation worsened into August.

Driving the news: Payroll processor ADP's monthly jobs report showed private companies added 167,000 jobs last month, well below the 1.2 million expected by economists and far below June's 4.8 million jobs added.