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David Rothkopf @djrothkopf
, 20 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
The backlash to globalization it turns out is not just protectionism--though there is certainly that. As it has manifested itself with Trump, UKIP, Orban, Salvini, the Russian-supported Euro-right, the "opposite" of globalization is ethnic cleansing, racist nationalism.
I have been an active advocate of globalization all my life. I am not only because I believe it ultimately benefits all people, but because it is not just a historical trend of the moment, it IS history. Global opening and integration is the story of the human race.
That said, there is no doubt, that we who support globalization underestimated both the dislocations associated with it and their human cost but also the nature of the reaction to it and how dark it could or would become. That was a profound mistake.
We should have expected and done more to deal with the human costs of the inevitable transitions these largely (and ultimately hugely) beneficial trends will bring. We still should. But our inattentiveness went further and was combined with arrogance.
We failed to consider what nationalism might become, not only how economic anxiety might manifest itself but the degree to which that would go hand-in-glove with cultural anxiety. We thought the opposition were anti-trade forces, old industries seeking to fight progress...
...workers seeking to hold on to yesterday's jobs. We thought arguing that those jobs were not being shipped to other countries but to the past (thanks to productivity) was a persuasive argument simply because we thought it was factually correct.
We are now discovering the costs of our naïveté. It turns out the stakes were not just the speed of reform of trade laws or the nature of economic reforms. The stakes were how the world would view the entire post-WWII international system.
Changes we thought were irreversible, written into history, are now in question, political movements we thought had been defeated forever, have now been revived. Now, all that is not primarily the fault of those of us who support or recognize the merits of globalization.
The racists and the opportunists who are cynically seizing this moment to promote hatred and intolerance and to actively undermine the policies of global growth that would most help their constituents are of course the real bad actors and the dangers in this.
(As are their cynical handmaidens in media and business who benefit from their ascendancy.) But we assumed things could never get this bad--that America, for example, could never do so much so quickly to undermine the global order we have shaped and led...
That America could so quickly become so un-American or that an authoritarian, racist, demagogue could take power in this country--and that his counterparts would assume leadership roles in so many countries across the Western alliance. That was unthinkable.
And yet here we are. Failing to understand the possibility that this might occur, that the backlash might be so egregious, that our failures and, yes, our lack of compassion would have such consequences, was a profound error that set the stage for these thugs and worse.
Now, to restore progress, we must begin by restoring justice--by reprioritizing the agenda of the last century which turned on the idea of a global community with shared interests in which cooperation, collaboration and tolerance benefited all.
We must come to the aid of those being victimized and we must mobilize them and every at risk segment of society to understand that the ethno-nationalist agenda will, as it has in the past, tear at the fabric of society, destroy economies, and harm most those it seeks to exploit.
One by one, we must use democratic mechanisms and the institutions of justice to sweep away this profoundly dangerous generation of leaders before the cost of their toxic politics is as high as it was the last time it the 1930s.
But once we have done that, we would do well to remember the errors and miscalculations that brought us to this place, that the arrogance of the "long-run" arguments of macro-economists has less political salience than the reality of the short-run truths of people's daily lives.
We must come up with agenda that is consistent with history and offers the promise of the future, but remains grounded in addressing the challenges regular people face in the present moment. We must demonstrate not only that the Trumpists are wrong and evil but that...
...we can offer a better path to the end of the economic anxiety with which so many people suffer and that we seek to redress the inequities that are indelibly associated with the past forty years of globalization (because we allowed money politics to bake them into our system.)
After World War II, the average man and woman in the street had seen the cost of global conflict, could still taste the menace of fascism, and gradually saw the benefits of integration, global cooperation and the stability it brought. We took all that for granted.
As we are now discovering, we must not make that error again.

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