Deglobalisation 2.0 ?  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Guardian's Economics Blog is declaring that "globalisation is already dead" and that we are now entering a period of de-globalisation - It's too late for hand-wringing – globalisation is already dead.

Donald Trump and Theresa May are not flagbearers in the distance, they are catapults battering at the walls. Trump’s stated intent to pull the US out of the TPP on his first day in office underlines the new reality we inhabit, as does the European Union’s recent troubles closing a trade agreement with Canada thanks to Wallonia’s obstinance. Today, we have a new meme – deglobalisation – as people turn their backs on an interconnected world economy and societies turn iconoclastic.

It is not for the first time.

Globalisation may be defined as when trade across nations is growing faster than GDP. People interact more, transact more and create more wealth. Deglobalisation is the alternate state where trade grows less than GDP. Countries focus inwards, trade declines as a proportion of GDP and growth shrinks. A clear cycle of the two emerges over history.

Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept is making a number of similar points - Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit.

The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much — when they caused a ruckus — and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.

That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard — not without reason — as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare. ...

That analysis was inspired by a short, incredibly insightful, and now more relevant than ever post-Brexit Facebook note by the Los Angeles Times’s Vincent Bevins, who wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years.” Bevins went on: “Since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.”

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