Globalization and the Rise of Trump
It’s common knowledge that international trade agreements and globalization is good for all. This is an example of an economic myth we all live by, it’s not necessary for it to be true or false.
Bill Clinton’s (NAFTA), George Bush, Obama and the supposedly expected successor Hillary Clinton (approved by the monolithic party called the Democratic Party) all were propagating the mythology of globalization. Let’s call these politicians; economic centrists. Globalization can also be referred to as a neo-liberal economic policy in European terminology. The only parties in America opposing the myth of globalization were the left, ala Bernie Sanders and our very own Right Wing President Trump.
Various centrist leaders are or were all guilty of selling this mythology as the economic norm of all modern and democratic countries. Seldom did they acknowledge or fully account for the industries (and populace) that would be sacrificed for this economic ideal. Also, in bad faith and in complete alignment, the elites and the middle class never felt threaten by these global agreements because their jobs were never in jeopardy. They saw how many blue collar workers were losing jobs but they attributed it to the side effects of the natural process of attrition which occurs due to technology and the progress of First World countries emphasizing our strength in “other” industries. Never mind that these “other” new industries hire a minuscule proportion of workers compared to the thousands of jobs lost in other industries. Besides, from the Right it was the perfect way to decimate Unions workers and from the left it was simple cultural warfare with an emphasis on superior human values, with an almost Darwinian social elitist ideology.
Trump to his credit saw this “carnage”. The Brexiters also saw this carnage, they sold it to their electorates via nationalistic and democratic determination with a touch of racial and cultural flavoring. Currently the European Union’s nations are also questioning this neo-liberal, globalization, and integration mythology seen in the resurgence of their own nationalist parties. Many jobs in Europe have also been lost, the EU regulations do not fully account for regional interests nor proper democratic representation and the current refugee crisis has only acerbated the concerns of each respective National tradition and cultural identity. Yet, there is a glaring difference in Europe/Britain from America. Even though Europeans are straining to pay for their apparently luxurious social safety net, Americans have never had a national safety net. That credit goes to our Republicans with their supposedly sacred emphasis on small government, controlling spending and budget concerns which have allowed them to religiously proceeded to decimate all of American’s social safety nets. They managed to sell to the affected American blue collar workers that the loss of industries was not due to globalization, technology nor trade but due to over-regulated government, spending on helping out the poor (for example attacking food stamps) and our “crippling” Entitlement program payouts that are bankrupting our country.
The questioning of Trump’s motives or his character does not in anyway diminish his or many others’ (Right Wing or Left Wing populists*) arguments concerning the corrosive effects of globalization and the disregard of our legislators to take this economic and cultural deficit into account. This is what the “educated” elites of America and of Europe do not understand. Trump’s questioning the accepted myth of globalization creates a deep fear in all centrists and internationalists, not because it is correct but because IF economic prosperity (in America or Britain) comes under these new regimes, it will come at the cost of re-writing of mythologies. Mythologies deeply rooted in our existential identities as Western rational democracies that have always supposedly functioned as bulwarks against the default state of tribal man. Western enlightenment and it’s associated ideals of border-less and transnational interests will be tested; are they truly the prerequisites for a functioning democratic and civil society?
*Populists: There is almost a derogatory connotation to this term, the populists versus the rational and educated, the elites know what is best; Trump’s “rigged” system comes to mind. Never mind that Trump is swimming in an elitist pool of the Republicans, that is why he is throwing them morsels of anti-abortion, and environment regulation repeals, plus the fail proof tax cuts for everybody. I believe though, if Trump stops feeding the political establishment, the beast will bite back. I think, the Republicans dislike him and the Democrats hate him. Unfortunately, even the Democratic populists do not enjoy the schadenfreude of the squirming Republican establishment because they can’t get past Trump’s man-child behavior.