Ever since the November election, when Donald Trump eked out a victory in the Electoral College, I have been trying to understand the significance of his win. Of course it has a lot to do with populism and anti-elitism as I have said previously.
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal the economics journalist, Gregg Ip, makes a strong argument that what is happening has more to do with globalism than with globalization:
- Globalization refers to people, capital and goods moving ever more freely across borders. Globalism is the ideology that globalization should lead to global governance over national sovereignty. This refers to such global structures as the European Union, the World Trade Organization, NATO, the United Nations and the North American Free Trade Agreement.
- The problem is not globalization itself, which just means specialization and trade across borders, but rather the damage which breakneck globalization has inflicted on ordinary workers. Since China joined the WTO in 2000 a wave of Chinese imports wiped out 2 million American jobs, with no equivalent boom in the U.S. from exports to China.
- Globalists have been blind to the nationalist backlash because their world – entrepreneurial, university-educated, ethnically diverse, urban and coastal – has thrived as the whiter, less-educated hinterlands have stagnated.
- Globalists should not equate concern for cultural norms and national borders with xenophobia. Large majorities of Americans welcome immigrants so long as they adopt American values, learn English, bring useful skills and wait their turn. Opposition to open borders does not imply racism.
Conclusion. Says Avik Roy, President of the Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity, “There is a middle ground between a nationalist and globalist approach.” This is what we should be looking for.
I was delighted to see your distinction between ‘globalism’ and ‘globalization’. You are quite right. So now we have to struggle with actual trade practices. Those practices have dramatically undergone a major change sine colonial empires have had to succumb to the independence movements around the globe. Tariffs, free trade, immigration, etc have to take center concern. In addition since so many different governments, whether it be dictatorship, monarchy or democracy are present, we must contemplate what are fair trade practices as well as a ‘fair’ profit. As I have mentioned before no one has been able to define ‘fair profit, at least since the medieval church in the 13thc. in the European world. I generally think of those least powerful who suffer at the hands of the wealthy. The basic tenets must center on freedom and one’s quality of life.
Here is where, as you have noted in the past, Trump seems to have no clear concepts of world affairs, especially in matters of trade. In any case I was pleased to see you wrestling with world ideas as well as domestic ones. You seem to be branching out.
I am mostly focused on slow growth and massive debt in the U.S. but, of course, world trade, and immigration, etc., strongly affect what happens here.
Regarding “fair” profit, it seems to me that this can only be determined in the market place assuming that all parties are open and honest about the terms of the agreement.
I certainly cannot make that assumption whether it be buying a used car, an insurance policy, groceries or medications from a pharmacy. I certainly don’t like the fact that I don’t know the price of something until I get to the cashier. It does not even work to rely upon the Latin phrase “Let the buyer beware”. At least when the barter system was accessible one could match his or her wits, let alone know the competition and quality of the product.
I certainly believe in transparency. I am not in favor of hidden prices “until we get to the cashier.”