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In the Name of Globalization

In the Name of Globalization thumbnail

There are lots of things wrong with globalization, but efficiency isn’t one of them. Within the past 25 years, a dense network of international production chains and webs of finance have superimposed themselves on national economies. This internationalization of capital has brought significant profits to investors and companies alike. The world champion in exports, Germany, has been a major beneficiary.

The more perfectly the system developed, the more it aroused suspicion among populations in Western industrial nations. For them, global capitalism appears foreign and impervious to political change. This has led to globalization’s widespread rejection, its current status quo. Meanwhile, the alienation it birthed has taken center stage in recent elections, and morphed into political platforms that are neither classically “left” nor “right”. Instead, candidates identify as either friends of globalization or nationally-oriented protectionists.

This came the fore during last year’s US presidential elections, where Hillary Clinton was punished at the polls for supposedly representing a global capitalist elite. Nationalists framed the election as a populist rebellion. The fact that real estate tycoon Donald Trump didn’t make his billions building in the Rust Belt didn’t seem to matter much. Welcome to 2017.

Emmanuel Macron is the very personification of internationalism

This coming Sunday in France, the battle between the globally and nationally minded will be even more prominent. Marine Le Pen and her former party, Front National, are keen on increasing protectionist measures and turning their backs on their European neighbors. This boils down to a kind of mercantilism reminiscent of the 350-year-old policies of Jean-Baptiste Colbert.

In contrast, Ms. Le Pen’s opponent Emmanuel Macron is the very personification of internationalism. Mr. Macron is a vocal proponent of a stronger and more socially responsible Europe, though because he spent a few years in management at the Rothschild investment bank, nationalist rivals condemn him as doing the devil’s bidding. Such indictments leave a suspicious aftertaste, to say the least.

Indeed, a significant portion of the French population considers both Rothschild and Goldman Sachs to be the control centers of an exclusive and nontransparent global capitalism. Which makes it even more ironic that Donald Trump has appointed more former Goldman Sachs employees to governmental office than any president before him.

The most basic critique of global capitalism – that real power is limited to billionaires, chief executives and asset managers – has long united politicians from the left and right. Both sides complain of extreme income disparity, both prefer a state-run industrial policy and both demand income redistribution. This is how “national” and “social” form an alliance.

It’s also the reason why in Germany, the leader of the socialist Left party, Sahra Wagenknecht, sometimes sounds like Frauke Petry of the far right Alternative for Germany (AfD). It’s also why in France the popular socialist politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon is reluctant to praise Mr. Macron.

To save globalization, voters must help eliminate its negative social impact

Resolving the struggle between nationalists and internationalists is now high on the domestic political agendas of numerous countries. What has become increasingly clear is that to save globalization, voters must help eliminate its negative social impact. The fact that new middle classes are rising in India, China or Indonesia is scant solace to those in the West who have experienced downward social mobility. There is justified indignation at the fact that since 1996, the income of the world’s wealthiest 10 percent has risen by 40 percent, while the rest of the global population lags far behind, some incapable of making a living wage.

The industrial elite, who recently met in Berlin for the G-20, will need to offer society more than the familiar calls for tax reduction. They also need to take action to eliminate tax havens and enforce minimum labor standards. Advocates of globalism must convince those whose support they have lost that they too can help shape the world. Otherwise, we’ll be facing the end of globalization and free trade as we know it – without a Plan B.


18 Comments on "In the Name of Globalization"

  1. onlooker on Fri, 5th May 2017 8:39 am 

    What has become increasingly clear is that to save globalization, voters must help eliminate its negative social impact.—Is this a real thought. On so many levels this statement is so idiotic. We should hope for the immediate cessation of Industrial civilization and Globalism to save what is left of the vitality and life supporting systems of this planet. And to who would say, oh but that would be terrifying. What a dead planet is not terrifying

  2. Jef on Fri, 5th May 2017 8:42 am 

    You call it efficiency, I call it the rapping and pillaging of the global economy.

    Globalization does nothing to improve the worlds population just like the walmartization/amazonization of America did nothing for American communities.

  3. twocats on Fri, 5th May 2017 9:18 am 

    You will be made redundant in the most efficient way possible. enjoy! you’re welcome.

  4. Davy on Fri, 5th May 2017 9:39 am 

    “We should hope for the immediate cessation of Industrial civilization and Globalism to save what is left of the vitality and life supporting systems of this planet. And to who would say, oh but that would be terrifying. What a dead planet is not terrifying”
    When you are saying that onlooker you do acknowledge a serious die down either way right? There is no get out of jail free card. We are in an existential catch 22 of multiple predicaments and with more problems becoming predicaments. This is a perfect vortex of decline and decay of both our modern civilization and our planetary system.

    The choice is stark but the reality is our civilization cannot make that choice except maybe global suicide in NUK War. Otherwise this is a natural process of destructive change to a civilization at limits and passing thresholds. Nature will guide this paradigm shift not man. At this point our destiny is out of our control. Even more complete is man’s very meaning that is corrupted by a manifest destiny of a false exceptionalism. We believe we can do what we can’t. This is existential denial and delusional social meaning. We are corrupted beyond repair. Even science is corrupted with denial of a necessary outcome per natural law. We are fated by nature and earlier decisions. Thus when you make statements like above you should not leave them open to interpretations that an option exists without just as terrifying consequences. This is not an either or it is about an end and what kind of end. It is a fated end.

  5. Apneaman on Fri, 5th May 2017 9:55 am 

    The great climate silence: we are on the edge of the abyss but we ignore it

  6. onlooker on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:13 am 

    Yes Davy and applaud you for trying less ideological and tribal. The predicament is the entire species predicament, nobody is going to be winning in comparison to others. Yes when I say immediately, I realize that is a draconian comment. I do it to emphasize the extreme urgency of the the matter. The Environment is literally unraveling before our eyes.For those who question, study how important the oceans are and their current status. So, nobody what the future is bleak but if the planet is neutered, no future at all exists

  7. onlooker on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:15 am 

    no matter what the future is bleak

  8. Cloggie on Fri, 5th May 2017 10:49 am 

    no matter what the future is bleak

    Nice battle cry for so-called “white nationalists”.

    Seriously… the article tries to explain the anti-globalist sentiment with unjust distribution of income. That’s not the case. The real concern with the so-called globalization losers is mass migration, not a few stinking rich capitalists, although not much love is lost on them indeed.

    The invisible behind-the-scenes leaders of the West have long decided that their own populations need to be replaced or “diluted” rather, with foreigners in an attempt to wipe out the idea of nation states.

    This process is relatively independent of globalization, that is the idea of the entire world one giant interconnected factory. Such a world could very well exist with the old nation states remaining in tact.

    So Handelsblatt is missing the point, for political correct reasons.

  9. Apneaman on Fri, 5th May 2017 11:02 am 

    Oil company Santos admits business plan is based on 4C temperature rise

    Chairman Peter Coates says company’s plan is ‘consistent with good value’, but experts call it ‘a breathtaking failure to come to grips with a world in transition’

    “The oil and gas company Santos has admitted its business plans are based on a climate change scenario of a 4C rise n global temperatures, at odds with internationally agreed efforts.

    Its chairman, Peter Coates, made the comments at an AGM in Adelaide on Thursday, telling shareholders it was “sensible” and “consistent with good value”.

    4C will be the global average. It will be much warmer in the large land masses like the northern hemisphere where they grow all those grains. Another 3C and the plant proteins in those crops will start to denature. Maybe sooner. Even a bad heatwave can do it.

  10. Apneaman on Fri, 5th May 2017 11:39 am 

    hair clog, there was no decision to make. Disposable humans are built into the capitalist ideology. The combination of cheap overseas labour, automation and declining net energy makes many of the sheeple disposable and that number grows by the day. As long as the system is up and running, advances in automation and their implementation continue. If you are not useful to a capitalist then fuck you. You’re dead weight. The only reason there was a economic golden age from 1945-1975 for many (large middle class) in the west was because they needed the skilled workers. People who have and crave power do not share your sentimentality. For them it’s just a tool of control.

  11. Apneaman on Fri, 5th May 2017 9:11 pm 

    Here’s some brand new happy news

    Ancient Methane Seeps Tell Tale of Sudden Warming

    Newly discovered rock mounds left by ancient methane seeps give scientists clues that methane on ancient ocean floor was released by ancient global warming.

    “Climate Change Lessons

    The finding shows that “methane gas hydrates can release methane in a real geological environment,” said Jacek Majorowicz, a geophysicist at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, who was not involved in the research.

    Because methane hydrates concentrate methane about 100 times more densely than methane gas, some researchers suggest that liberating just a small number of methane molecules from their icy cages could have a large effect. As the climate warms today, these methane hydrates in the oceans could melt, releasing gas into the oceans and even atmosphere. The gas could “act as another feedback to increase the greenhouse effect into the future,” Majorowicz said.”

    I’ve previously shared this one (below). Connect the dots between the two.

    Kennett noted that this remarkable record of paleoclimate changes also raises an important question: What process can possibly push the Earth’s climate so fast from a glacial to an interglacial state? The researchers may have discovered the answer based on the core’s geochemical record: The warming associated with the major climatic shift was accompanied by simultaneous releases of methane — a potent greenhouse gas.

    “This particular episode of climate change is closely associated with instability that caused the release of methane from gas hydrates at the ocean floor,” Kennett said. “These frozen forms of methane melt when temperatures rise or pressure decreases. Changes in sea level affect the stability of gas hydrates and water temperature even more so.

    “The clear synchronism of this rapid warming and the onset of the destabilization of gas hydrates is important,” Kennett concluded. “It suggests that methane hydrate instability and the warming are somehow linked, which is an interesting and potentially important observation. The beauty of these paleoclimate records from the Santa Barbara Basin is that you can actually determine these relationships at high fidelity.”

  12. onlooker on Fri, 5th May 2017 9:46 pm Joseph Tainter
    Yet complexity can also be detrimental to sustainability.
    Since our approach to resolving our problems has been to develop the most complex society and economy of human history, it is important to understand how previous societies fared when they pursued analogous strategies.

    The development of complexity is thus an economic process: complexity levies costs and yields benefits. It is an investment, and it gives a variable return. Complexity can be both beneficial and detrimental. Its destructive potential is evident in historical cases where increased expenditures on socioeconomic complexity reached diminishing returns, and ultimately, in some instances, negative returns (Tainter 1988, 1994b). This outcome emerges from the normal economic process: simple, inexpensive solutions are adopted before more complex, expensive ones. Thus, as human populations have increased, hunting and gathering has given way to increasingly intensive agriculture, and to industrialized food production that consumes more energy than it produces (Clark and Haswell 1966; Cohen 1977; Hall et al. 1992). Minerals and energy production move consistently from easily accessible, inexpensively exploited reserves to ones that are costlier to find, extract, process, and distribute. Socioeconomic organization has evolved from egalitarian reciprocity, short-term leadership, and generalized roles to complex hierarchies with increasing specialization.

    Ultimately a growing society reaches a point where continued investment in complexity yields higher returns, but at a declining marginal rate.

    Two things make a society liable to collapse at this point. First new emergencies impinge on a people who are investing in a strategy that yields less and less marginal return. As such a society becomes economically weakened it has fewer reserves with which to counter major adversities. A crisis that the society might have survived in its earlier days now becomes insurmountable.

    Second, diminishing returns make complexity less attractive and breed disaffection. As taxes and other costs rise and there are fewer benefits at the local level, more and more people are attracted by the idea of being independent. The society “decomposes” as people pursue their immediate needs rather than the long-term goals of the leadership. [3]
    The more likely option is a future of greater investments in problem solving, increasing overall complexity, and greater use of energy. This option is driven by the material comforts it provides, by vested interests, by lack of alternatives, and by our conviction that it is good
    Does not complexity and technology engender more of the same? Yes
    So, are they’re no limits to our technological prowess? Yes
    Can we really reboot Industrial Civilization if it collapses? No
    Are we not bound to the law of diminishing returns in our complexity and technology? Yes

  13. Cloggie on Sat, 6th May 2017 8:02 am 

    If there is one thing that should be ended is this kind of mass tourism:

    The Nepalese government charges $11,000 for every person that attempts to reach the Mount Everest summit. And then there are thousands of Sherpa’s making a living from the mountaineering industry

    There will be hundreds this year.

    Mount Everest traffic jam:

  14. Davy on Sat, 6th May 2017 9:24 am 

    great comment onlooker

  15. onlooker on Sat, 6th May 2017 10:05 am 

    So, are they’re limits to our technological prowess? Yes

  16. Apneaman on Sat, 6th May 2017 10:49 am 

    Phoenix hits 108 degrees, breaks record

    “It’s just too soon for this kind of heat. About a month too soon, in fact.”

  17. Dredd on Sat, 6th May 2017 10:55 am 


    That gives new meaning to thermal expansion.

    So does this (Golden 23 Zones Revisited).

  18. Apneaman on Sat, 6th May 2017 1:34 pm 

    hair clog, the Cancer externalities will take care of mass tourism.

    Avalanches are becoming more common, thanks to climate change, researchers say

    Melting glaciers around Mount Everest may be forming killer lakes

    Hitting the plastic slopes: Climate change pushes ski resorts to ‘weatherproof’
    Resorts look to attract visitors with fun that doesn’t depend on snow

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