The advocates of unrestricted globalization — world citizenship, trans-nationalism, open borders, mass migration, free trade, rampant outsourcing, unregulated media — and who eagerly brand as small-minded “bigots” anyone who opposes these things do not understand what is happening, argues John B. Judis. A common national identity is essential to democracies and the modern nation-state, he contends in a NYT essay and in his book on “The Nationalist Revival: Trade, Immigration, and the Revolt Against Globalization.”
If globalization, enhanced by online technologies that ignore borders, means:
- the unrestricted flow of capital and even labor from one nation to another;
- floods of immigrants from poorer countries into wealthier countries;
- command economies like China manipulating currencies, transferring technology, engaging in cyber-theft and hidden trade subsidies and barriers;
- China and Germany profiting from huge trade surpluses;
- an absolutist position on “free trade” rather than fair trade, meaning no tariffs nor subsidies ever;
- unregulated media, meaning the free flow of the most extreme, prejudicial, and offensive content that increases hyper-partisanship, sets tribe against tribe, and incites violence;
- the collection of micro-data on each citizen by software companies, corporations or governments as a form of social control, and the emergence of the surveillance state;
- the destruction of traditional marriages and family life, and exposure in the most conservative societies to lifestyles they are not ready to acknowledge nor accept;
- the denial of copyright, trademark, and rampant stealing of trade secrets across borders;
- the emergence of a global elite — the top 10 percent of workers in wealthy counties who travel widely, garner the vast majority of wealth, pay few taxes;
- the emergence of a huge new class of angry “left-behinds” who struggle financially, cannot get ahead because their wages are low, they encounter substandard housing, unaffordable health care and childcare, long commutes, inadequate primary education, exorbitantly-priced higher education; and in the future, many of their jobs will be automated out of existence.
If these are trends in globalization, it will be rejected. We’ll see a resurgence of reactionary nationalism, social upheaval, and international instability, possibly leading to regional if not world wars.
“As long as corporations are free to roam the globe in search of lower wages and taxes, and as long as the United States opens its borders to millions of unskilled immigrants, liberals will not be able to create bountiful, equitable societies, where people are free from basic anxieties about obtaining health care, education and housing,” Judis wrote in his NYT op-ed piece. “In Europe, social democrats face very similar challenges with immigration, refugees and euro-imposed austerity.”
The first chapter of his book is available for free here.