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John Bunzl asks ‘When will we take globalisation seriously?’

As James Robertson summarises in his latest newsletter, John Bunzl opens with a reassurance:

john-bunzl-agm-13“Don’t worry, Trump won’t be able to put much of his extremist rhetoric into practice.

“There are too many checks and balances in the U.S. political system. Both Congress and the Senate may be under Republican control, but the Republican Party is far from synonymous with Trump. And in a highly interdependent world our political leaders don’t have nearly as much power as we think.

Reassurance then gives way as we, the ‘Broad Middle’, are arraigned:

“No, the real danger now is not Trump, Brexit or the rise of the Far Right but the failure of the rest of us – the Broad Middle, as we might call ourselves – to take globalization seriously. The widespread distrust of the political mainstream may be stoked by immigration, unemployment and wealth inequality, but the deeper driver of all these issues is actually globalization. Or, to be more precise, unregulated globalization”.

He then quotes Gordon Brown’s analysis following the Brexit result: “The elephant in the room is globalisation – the speed, scope and scale of the seismic shifts in our global economy. And the most obvious manifestation of the world we have lost is the hollowing out of our industrial towns as a result of the collapse of manufacturing in the face of Asian competition. These towns are home to a disproportionate share of the semi-skilled workers who feel on the wrong side of globalisation and who opted to vote leave. Unable to see how globalisation can be tamed in their interests, they have, not surprisingly, become recruits to an anti-globalisation movement whose lightning rod is migration.”

And asserts that the deeper driver of all these issues is actually unregulated globalisation, itemising a few of the international agreements and regulations needed if the global economy is to work for all:

  • Binding agreements on climate change,
  • on raising fair taxes on the rich and the multi-national corporate tax avoiders
  • and re-distributing the revenue generated to poorer nations, allowing their peoples to make a decent living at home instead of having to migrate.

He says that instead of focusing on these objectives we’ve allowed ourselves to be distracted by all manner of other peripheral concerns. While we, citizens, have immersed ourselves in identity politics, anti-war protesting, and the like, mainstream politicians have been treading water, unable to see the new globalized reality through their out-dated national glasses.

Only when we focus on binding global agreements will we be taking globalization seriously. For only then can we make common cause with the poor and the disaffected middle classes who should be supporting us but who, because of our distraction, have instead been lured to the political extremes.

That doesn’t mean a global government, only global cooperation

simpol-coverHis new book, The Simpol Solution, written with Nick Duffell, sets out the process by which the Broad Middle can make binding global agreements happen and make them stick. Noam Chomsky said , “It’s ambitious and provocative. Can it work? Certainly worth a serious try”.

And Simon Anholt commented, “I nodded until I got a crick in my neck. I haven’t read a book for years that I agreed with so deeply and so consistently – nor felt so keenly that these are messages the world needs to hear. The clarity, simplicity and profound importance of this book are beyond question. Please read it, and please encourage others to do the same.”

 

Read the full article here: www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-bunzl/donald-trump_b_12879498.html

 

 

 

Colin Hines’ Guardian letter

colin-hines-6Colin has recently taken a lot of ‘flack’ because of his views on immigration rather than his economic prescriptions, but many post-election (Corbyn, Brexit, Trump) analyses now recognise the widespread anger on both counts.

Under the Guardian’s heading: Trump’s victory a wake-up call for Europe, he opens by saying that journalist Martin Kettle is correct (It is easy to hate the man, essential to learn from him, 11 November) that Trump will be the first president in recent times to be both anti-liberal socially and also economically.

Pointing out that the extreme right in Europe is going down the same electorally successful path, with policies geared to both limit immigration and replace globalisation, Colin sees them filling the vacuum left by the failure of the Democrats and the centre-left in Europe.

This was/is a failure to understand economic insecurity was the cause of voter dissatisfaction – and inadequately controlled immigration.

Trump and Farage offered a solution to worries about job losses with a promise to tear up trade agreements and oppose the TTIP and addressed widely held worries about levels of immigration.  Colin ends:

“To have any chance of seeing off next year’s otherwise inevitable electoral rise of the extreme right in the Netherlands, France and Germany will mean that the centre-left, continent-wide, will need to develop a vote-winning programme for tackling both economic insecurity and uncontrolled immigration between EU countries.

“It must begin by calling not only for managed migration, but also demand controls on the free movement of capital, goods and services to allow the rebuilding of national economies, and to bring an end to the damaging deification of open markets, which has bought us Trump and Brexit and maybe next year a President Le Pen”.