Globalization without Globalism


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.

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