What is Isolationism?

Definition: Isolationism is a country’s decision to separate itself from international affairs to focus solely on its own interests. It is a foreign policy that mandates zero involvement in other nation’s issues.

What Does Isolationism Mean in Business?

Isolationism is a political decision. Some countries might fall into this position because they are not willing to devote time, resources or efforts to help other nation’s interests. This mindset follows a trend of nationalism where the State focuses all its efforts towards internal growth and development.

This isolation includes measures like closed borders, immigration bans and no participation in multilateral international organizations. Even though the strict implementation of this policy is not common in our days, in the past, there have been countries who have implemented isolationism to protect themselves from foreign influences as is the case of China, Paraguay, Japan and Korea, among others. The idea behind this isolationism is to avoid other country’s influences to manipulate or modify the cultural aspects of society or the economical system.

These isolated countries develop ways to sustain their population with their own economical output, which in most of the cases results in scarcity of some essential goods or services that are sometimes replaced by lower-grade substitutes.


Here’s an example. Recently, Honduras has elected a former military captain as its President. The country is currently experiencing one of the worst economic crises of its existence and the population blames excessive international debt as the main cause of the crisis.

The recently-elected President, Jairo Gomez, shares the people’s point of view and as part of his political campaign he promoted a policy of isolationism and an immediate default on the outstanding international financial commitments of the nation. This caused a panic among the financial markets and political pressure started to rise towards the country’s new President.

Nevertheless, he was decisive about this issue and implemented a border closure along with a strict immigration policy where no one outside the country is able to visit it without the government’s exclusive permission. Mr. Gomez intends to promote agricultural growth and sustainable development to guarantee the safety and welfare of the population.