This week’s posts concern the failure of globalism.
Sunday’s entry showed how globalism was failing as early as the year 2000. Monday’s confirmed that more people in 2005 were getting progressively poorer and that what counts for trade actually isn’t according to the classic definition. Yesterday’s examined the failure of globalism to raise the prospects of the poor in the developing world in 2009.
All of these failures continue today.
Today’s post looks at The Economist‘s continuing cheerleading of globalism. The Daily Bell takes the magazine apart nicely, focussing on the article ‘Signs of life’ from November 13, 2014. You probably won’t be able to access it as it is behind a paywall, but The Daily Bell has it in full.
As I said on Monday, I was a faithful subscriber to The Economist for at least 20 years. I stopped when I no longer believed their rhetoric on globalism. It just wasn’t true for the average person.
Excerpts from The Daily Bell‘s analysis of the magazine follow, emphases mine. Enjoy.
Such articles as the one excerpted above on globalization seem dishonest to us. The article deems globalization an unmitigated good but makes no distinction between the globalization of governance and the globalization of the marketplace.
Nothing wrong with marketplace globalization. But how can globalized regulation, globalized taxation and globalized monopoly central banking be part of a positive trend?
Yet internationalism remains a powerful elite theme, perhaps the strongest of them all.
That is what eventually set off my internal alarm bells.
The Economist, as The Daily Bell notes, can be rather absolutist about globalism and internationalism. They put forward the argument, most eloquently, that both foster trade and peace. Therefore, they discuss opposition to it — protectionism and populism — in a shrill tone. Readers know where they stand with the magazine:
Another unfortunate trend that The Economist sees positively: The trend of trade negotiators to build “coalitions of the willing rather than waiting for a global consensus.” Such an approach means smaller, often regional rather than global trade pacts, but progress on less ambitious deals is easier to arrive at.
The article concludes by warning that the legacy of the Crisis of 2008 is populism and anti-globalism. “Political pressure to retreat from the world builds slowly but is also slow to dissipate. That seems to be the case this time too, in many European countries at least, where populist parties are still growing in strength, even though the local economy has stabilized.”
Not so fast. From where we stand, such populism is to be welcomed because what The Economist calls “globalism” is basically the most dysfunctional kind of regulatory capitalism. What good is global trade when it advances the repressive elements of modernity?
The last paragraph echoes what activist Jerry Mander, who has two degrees in Economics, said in 2000 (excerpted on Sunday). It’s not capitalism. It’s not free trade. It’s not socialism. It’s a combination of all of these and more, which combine to produce what he calls a ‘centrally controlled economy’.
As I’ve been saying this week, corporations and politicians unite on globalism, which makes it all the worse. The Daily Bell points out:
If the private sector were driving globalism, there wouldn’t be much to complain about from a free-market perspective. But inevitably, it is government and politicians that write trade treaties (and generally create market policies) and they tend to afford some economic elements far more advantages than others.
We’ve seen this in NAFTA, TPP and now in the ongoing negotiations for TTIP, or TAFTA. NAFTA has had a very negative effect on American jobs, which explains Donald Trump’s rising popularity. TPP has also been roundly criticised by Americans. TTIP, fortunately, continues to fail in ongoing negotiations. That will be the subject of a separate post.
Another term we could use in referring to the modern globalist trend is “technocratic.” Globalization is increasingly supported by endless official forums in which the bureaucrats of 20, 50 even 100 or more countries get together to lubricate commerce via government stratagems.
Treaties, cross-border trade and other elements of international capitalism recognize and enshrine a mercantilist status quo. As stated, they recognize and expand monopoly central banking, regulatory oversight and increasingly repressive fiscal policies. This is no way to build a freer or more robust business infrastructure.
I agree with The Daily Bell that removing technocratic government from the picture would help. It is unclear what was wrong with the centuries of trading that the world’s nations and continents accomplished before globalism.
Globalism hasn’t helped. In fact, it has hindered and impoverished many. This is why people in the West are depressed, suicidal and frustrated. There seems to be no way out of this elitist mess, a march towards mercantilism, something we thought had been consigned to the dustbin of history. Alas, it’s with us once again.
Tomorrow: Globalism in 2016