The Working Class and the Rise of Nationalism
This is part three in our series Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight in the World of Today. Merriam-Webster defines Nationalism: loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially : a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups. Economic Nationalism is a term that includes economic policies and theories designed to improve the domestic economy relative to foreign economies and oppose globalization, or at least question the benefits of unrestricted free trade. These protectionist policies were the favored way of trade for Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Grant, and Theodore Roosevelt.
The opposite idea Globalism arose after WW2 and was used to refer to a group of ideologies that advocated for such policies as increased immigration, free trade, lowering tariffs, interventionism and global governance. The United States rose to prominence through nationalism during the 19th and 20th centuries, becoming a great industrialized nation. Globalist ideas took hold in the late 20th century in the 1970’s and decimated the middle class of the US by turning the economy from a manufacturing to a consumer based. This benefited the corporations and the political power structures of the world at a price to the American worker. Leaders who supported the shift towards Globalism were President’s Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Obama.
President Carter stated, “Globalization, as defined by rich people like us, is a very nice thing… you are talking about the Internet, you are talking about cell phones, you are talking about computers. This doesn’t affect two-thirds of the people of the world.” President Carter granted the People’s Republic of China full diplomatic and trade relations in January 1979 through the “Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations.” According to a report by the Brookings Institute, from 1980-2005 the nation lost about 4.5 million manufacturing jobs or about 24 percent of its manufacturing employment. Also from 2000-2010 the United States lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs, amounting to nearly one-third of its remaining manufacturing employment. The US China trade deficit between 2001 and 2015 alone cost 3.4 million American jobs.
The US election voted President Trump into office based on his nationalist protectionist views. These views focused on a few main ideals. The first of which consisted of a border wall along the US and Mexican border with massive immigration controls focusing on removing illegal aliens and baring citizens from Muslim countries. The second part was President Trump’s mantra of bringing back jobs to the country by imposing severe import penalties along massive tax breaks to corporations to create an incentive in bringing manufacturing back into the country.
To start accomplishing these goals President Trump withdrew the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and plans on renegotiating the NAFTA trade agreement. Also President Trump has stated that if our partners refuse a renegotiation of trade that gives American workers a fair deal, then he will give notice of the United States intent to withdraw from NAFTA. Tax reform is another area he is focused on along with lowering the corporate tax rate to 15%.
The European Union is on the verge of collapse due to the rise of protectionist views which as in the US are based around the collapse of living wage employment along with massive immigration. Globalism has destroyed countries and benefited only corporations,
banks and governments leading to a high cost to their own people through lower income and higher crime. EU member countries upon joining gave up many of their individual country rights and get dictated to by the EU council.
The IMF’s Christine Lagarde acknowledged these challenges stating that “The size of the global workforce effectively doubled, putting downward pressure on wages, especially for lower-skilled workers in advanced economies.…growing inequality in wealth, income, and opportunity in many countries has added to a groundswell of discontent, especially in the industrialized world—a growing sense among some citizens that they “lack control,” that the system is somehow against them.” On March 14, 2017 Lagarde took a jab at
President Trump stating, “The world economy is on the road to recovery, But it would be a mistake to assume that it will automatically return” to good health. Above all, we should collectively avoid self-inflicted injuries. This requires steering clear of policies that would seriously undermine trade, migration, capital flows, and the sharing of technologies across borders.”
The United Kingdom voted on 23 June 2016 through the Brexit referendum to leave the EU. This March parliament passed European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill 2017 the Prime Minister Theresa May authority to invoke Article 50to leave the EU. Several other countries have elections coming with Nationalist movement leaders poised to win that have vowed to also leave the EU. There are several major upcoming elections that could press the EU closer to collapse. France is teetering on electing National Front Party candidate Marine Le Pen who plans to follow the UK out of the EU.
Senator John McCain stated at the Brussels Forum on March 25th, “…the flood of refugees in Europe has put a strain on the new world order…”
Please review the links within the article to draw your own conclusion and opinions.