GLOBALIZATION FOR ONE AND FOR ALL
Supporters of globalization argue that the world is facing a historical inevitability: a stage that all nations must experience as they are swept away by the inexorable forces of modernity. This so-called inevitability theory is a slick rhetorical attempt to stifle debate before it has begun in earnest not in elite circles, where it is fashionable to abide the theology of globalization, but in town halls, factory floors, and chambers of congress.
Globalization gets a lot of oxygen from proponents of free trade because a concept which implies freedom must obviously represent goodness for all of humankind. America’s experience with globalization, however, is decidedly different as the nation has racked up an accumulated trade deficit of approximately $10 trillion during the last four decades. Tragically, millions of workers have lost their jobs during that time, in effect, financing the trade deficit while one administration after another in Washington turned the other cheek to our trading partners who excelled at cheating through currency manipulation, import tariffs, and prohibited commercial activities.
The globalization conceit held by world leaders in and out of government should sound an alarm to those who believe in the sanctity of democratic processes. Put simply, globalists believe that globalization’s ugly side, lower wages, lost jobs, shuttered factories or devastated communities is the result of there not being enough global governance to channel all of the good that derives from globalization. As Mr. Pascal Lamy, former Director of the World Trade Organization [WTO] said in a recent address, “The future lies with more globalization, not less…”
The hubris of a technocrat like Mr. Lamy is lamentable but it must be rebuffed. Make no mistake about it, globalization undermines local and national boundaries thus ceding political sway to the unelected officials of supranational organizations such as the WTO, the International Monetary Fund [IMF], the United Nations, and the European Union [EU]. President Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Agreement has globalists in a catatonic state not because of its impact on the planet’s climate – which is nil – but because they have lost the obsequiousness of the world’s leading economy.
GLOBALIZATION AT WORK: THE GREEK EXPERIENCE
The EU stands out as the most aggressive attempt to integrate sovereign states into a supranational body. The original visionaries of the European Union, World War II German militarists, academics, and industrialists, were determined to prolong the Reich albeit in an economic incarnation. In this, they were supremely successful as they found a way to win the peace albeit having lost the war. New wealth and markets were indeed found for German products but at the expense of the livelihoods of millions of European citizens in less developed areas of the continent.
Greece stands out as a tragic example of a nation that has gotten sideways with the totalitarian practices of the European Union. As a member state of the Eurozone – one of nineteen European countries trading in the Euro currency – Greece has been humiliated for running afoul of the European Union’s dictates.
In the aftermath of the financial meltdown of 2008 non-market solutions were brought to bear to deal with the crisis. The Troika of supranational organizations – the European Central Bank, the IMF, and the World Bank – forced severe, if not punitive, structural reforms on Greece which have proved counterproductive and which almost guarantee that the nation will never be able to repay its debt of approximately $400 billion. This is a sad irony when you consider that the Greek Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Dimitris Mardas, has stated that Greece is owed roughly $305 billion in World War II reparations by the Germans.
The Troika’s measures have clearly compromised the nation’s sovereignty. What is worse, the Troika’s restrictive measures have straight-jacketed the nation’s ability to grow its GDP making it forever more subservient to the whims of bureaucrats of the European Union.
The Troika compelled Greece to implement suffocating capital controls which hampered local investment; adopt austerity programs that have hit every pensioner and worker; and institute budget cutbacks in infrastructure, technology, education, and job training. I have witnessed the upshot of all of these “reforms” first hand. Many citizens now eat only sparingly, survive the winter months without heat, forces hospital patients to sleep in hallways and to rely on friends and family to supply clean linen and blankets; or for the best and brightest to emigrate. It is no surprise that the population of Greece has declined approximately 2% since the onset of the financial meltdown.
SOVEREIGN NATIONS IN THE HANDS OF GLOBALISTS
The Greek experience transpired, in large measure, against the backdrop of a succession of socialist government regimes. It all came to a head, however, after Marxist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras came to power. The self-avowed globalist who got elected on an anti-austerity platform, soon thereafter submitted before the Troika’s confiscatory demands. Mr. Tsipras has also gained notoriety for squandering his nation’s meager funds to fly an entourage to attend the funeral of Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro in November of 2016. Mr. Tsipras also attended the funeral of that other communist dictator Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez in 2013.
If the Eurozone has been an unmitigated disaster for a poor nation like Greece how has the most muscular economy in Europe fared? It seems, not as advertised. The German economy has grown at an anemic average of .8% for the last decade. And, when looked at from the point of view of GDP growth per capita of working age, the non-Eurozone countries of Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and Norway have outperformed their Eurozone counterparts by a factor of close to seven times.
GLOBALIZATION’S END GAME
As the world moves through ever-quickening stages of globalization, with potentially conflicting value systems among individuals and nations, the stage is set for more and more complex dilemmas to emerge. The indigenization being experienced across cultures around the world, especially in Muslim countries, is a clear retort to the unwelcome entreaties of a more interconnected and globalized world. As Professor Samuel P. Huntington states in his provocative book, The Clash of Civilizations, “ Little or no evidence exists to support the assumption that the emergence of pervasive global communications is producing a convergence in attitudes and beliefs.” The opposite might be closer to the truth: a more globalized world might become a more conflicted world.