Crises forge interesting alliances. The “Brexit” vote emerged from a trend that’s been evident for some time and that globalists are eager to quash — the growing resistance to a world run by multinational corporations and megabanks. Last week Hank Paulson, former Goldman Sachs CEO and Treasury secretary under George W. Bush, came out of hiding — er, retirement — to denounce the standard-bearer of Brexit sentiment here in the U.S., Donald Trump. Paulson, a lifelong Republican, says he’ll vote for fellow free-trader and Goldman superfan Hillary Clinton in November.
What’s going on here? Is the all-knowing globalist world order actually feeling threatened?
For decades, most Americans bought into the concept of a world government run by corporations. They didn’t consciously know they had, but they assumed that voting with their wallets would improve their jobs and lives more quickly than would schlepping to the polls. Europeans largely did the same.
Then came Brexit. Elites are outraged. Since when do working people get to have an opinion? Can’t these lowlife whiners and immigrant-haters see that globalism is our only shot at a better world? Don’t they understand that nationalism created Hitler? Who wants to return to the dark age before progress transformed the planet into … what?
Fair question. Honest answers are all “Leave” voters want, beginning with an accounting of globalism’s gains and losses, to use the correct Wall Street terminology.
For example: Free trade raises all boats, true or false?
Of course it doesn’t. Economics is a zero-sum game on a small and overpopulated planet with finite resources and when the same scientific advances that commerce makes possible hand over jobs to robots.
How has free trade worked out for the other species that call Earth home?
Corporations in partnership with nonprofits and governments say they’ll find an alternative to bees. Drones have been mentioned. There is no evidence globalism has been anything other than an unmitigated disaster. Species extinctions continue at an alarming rate.
Does globalism promote world peace?
Look to the Middle East to answer that one. Globalists are right that international trade helped erase ideological excesses that caused World War II (fascism) and then the Cold War (communism). Unfortunately, it now threatens to erase democracy as well. In fact, the Brexit vote may be democracy’s last gasp, since the all-powerful globalists seem to agree that you get what you vote for and this is it.
The elites are now calling for a do-over. They just might get one. It was stupid old people who voted against the E.U., after all. Probably half of them bonkers. They, like the bees and butterflies, will die of natural causes.
But if young people are the future, how come most of them stayed home? My guess is they’re too overworked to know what all the fuss is about and too cynical to care.
Why has international businessman Donald Trump embraced Brexit? Like any good corporate animal turned politician, Trump will sign on to whatever populist movement shows promise of promoting his brand. To demonize Trump is to deny that his platform is, in fact, the neoconservative Republican platform distilled to its essence and aimed directly at the poor, white and patriotic Americans who do still schlep to the polls.
I’m not counting on any of these questions being answered. Why would the media, which itself has evolved into a finely tuned instrument of the globalist elite, suddenly start making sense of things?
When the Clintons threw American workers under the bus in the 1990s, only a handful of World Trade Organization protesters in Seattle raised a ruckus. Their ranks have swelled. Occupy Wall Street was the people’s response to Paulson’s bank bailouts. Then came the Sanders campaign. Again, it was young people who supported a free-trade skeptic. Trump has reached out to them, and to the working poor who supported Bernie Sanders, and to what used to be the middle class, because what they lack in sophistication about the financial markets they still have in regard to America’s quaint one-person, one-vote rule. We’re not China … yet.
Big political money can spread lies, but it can’t undo facts. Low taxes haven’t created better-paying jobs. Charter schools haven’t raised achievement levels in segregated communities. Health care managed by insurance providers hasn’t improved health. Genetically modified plants aren’t feeding the world or even raising farm incomes.
Yes, we’re all equal according to our Constitution — another inconvenient truth globalists wish they could change. But just as with climate change — nature can’t vote but can register its displeasure through howling winds — the voices of oppressed people will be heard.
If diversity is sacrosanct in this new age of globalization, how come free trade is doing its best to make everyone alike? If only we lower trade barriers, the thinking goes, we’ll eradicate differences, and then we’ll all get along.
Except we won’t. Humans live best in small-scale, self-sufficient communities that are codependent with nature. Eskimo culture is dying because climate change is destroying the Eskimos’ food supply. Asian culture is dying because imperialism forced it to trade with the West at gunpoint. Now the Asians, too, have bought into the promise of better jobs in industries that are making it ever more difficult for them to breathe their own air or drink their own water.
Rather than reply to these challenges, globalists call their critics names. We are ignorant, they say. In my view, arrogance is a more dangerous trait.
The evils of arrogance inspired the myths of Icarus and Prometheus, and Jesus’s promise that the meek shall inherit the Earth.
They shall. Sadly, though, it’s looking likely that our own species will cut itself out of the will.
Bonnie Blodgett is a writer in St. Paul. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.