Brexit, the election of Donald Trump and Refugee crisis across the UK seems only to be the tip of the iceberg. When looked closely enough, French elections, Dutch elections, and change in Visa regulations tell a story which matters to all of us. Is Globalization as we know coming to an end?
Brexit made our heads turn towards rising discontent with the present international economic order. The prominent theme of the Brexit movement was centered on ‘taking jobs back’ from the foreigners so that more British population could be put to work. The Logic proposed by Brexit ‘leave’ campaigners was that the UK shells out $500 million every week to the EU which could be used to fund the NHS (National Health Services) at home.
The same theme resounded in Donald Trump’s election when he promised his motto of ‘America First’, which according to him is going to ‘Make America great again’. The same idea has been propagated by the French elections, where the right wing candidate Marine La Pen has openly spoken against immigration and refugee intake.
The recent move by countries like USA, Australia, New Zealand, UK and France to tighten their Visa norms for foreign workers sends the same message that the free movement initiative of globalization is being curbed substantially.
Nationalism over Internationalism
The recent Global developments have seen repeated emphasis on nationalism and practicing it by prioritizing the indigenous human capital.
What stands out as a common factor in the US elections and Brexit and other European elections is slow economic growth leading to fewer jobs and an anti-establishment sentiment amongst voters.
The incoming head of the United Nations warned on Tuesday that “losers of globalization” in rich countries have felt ignored by establishment politicians, prompting them to turn to nationalist agendas, as in the U.S. election and Brexit referendum.
This led to what he called “a kind of evolution” in which anti-establishment parties now tended to win elections and referendums tended to attract majorities against whatever was put to a vote.
Right-wing populists from Donald Trump to British Brexiters to French National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen are all playing the nationalist card. They are ﬂaying a liberal internationalist world order that has hemorrhaged the jobs of the domestic working class for the proﬁts of a ﬁnancial elite.
Problem with Anti-Globalism
The biggest issue with leaders and parties rallying anti-globalism or anti-internationalism is that their issue with globalism is human capital, rather than goods and technology. The frailty in their approach lies in the impossibility that Human resource can never be separated from goods and services.
The idea that borders remain open for everything but humans is an extremely ill thought out strategy for two reasons:
- It’s impractical to imagine a fair and bipartisan trade relation between two countries when one of them does not allow free movement or at least easy movement of people across the border.
- Due to trade and cross-border investment, the financial stability of most nations is now interlinked. Trying to curb this process now could destabilize the world economy. A fair example of this scenario was observed in the 2008 economic downfall of the US when investment firms all across Europe went bankrupt after the New York Stock Exchange plummeted.
A very common misconception painted by Right wing politicians in the west is that Globalisation intends to shift the burden of economically weaker countries to the economically stronger countries in order to achieve global prosperity.
The fact is that economically stronger countries have been able to reach that position only by outsourcing their talent pool and importing from resource laden countries willing to export.
Maybe the Problem is something else
Global economic order and freedom to move, trade and study are fundamental values on which the western world was based upon. It is ironic that the world order forged by the West is being challenged by the West itself to only to devolve into a disintegrated world as it was before the First World War.
The rise of Capitalism has been the driving force behind Globalisation. Private Entrepreneurial agendas backed by Political interests created a globalized world. The same two forces have now become threats to the world order.
Globalization has opened the Pandora’s Box for businesses. With a bigger market, more competitors have poured in. Fresh start-ups and innovation have driven the new globalization which the old capitalistic regime is wary of. Multi-National Companies backed globalism because it let them operate in more markets and produce in countries with low labor costs. Those ‘low labor cost’ countries like China, India and South Korea are now giving western companies a run for their money, which is a cause of concern for Western businesses.
The fact that Right wing ideas against globalism are always full of words like ‘nation first’ and ‘stealing our job’ gives away the fact that Politicians use latent sentiment and anti-establishment feeling to feed their cause. Globalization has only added jobs to a country’s market rather than reducing it. The idea that due to the presence of a foreign national, they are more likely to get that job rather than the local citizen is a farce in itself.
India as a case study
Before economic liberalization in 1991, India practiced a closed economy and was not an active participant in the global market, which pretty much became the reason for its financial crisis.
After opening the market post-1991, the economy has been booming with a growth rate never touching below 6%. India has been one of the countries which made most of the globalization process.