American populists are ascendant … and I’m worried.
The Wall Street Journal recently reporter that Republicans are now opposed to free trade by a 2-1 margin. On the question “Is foreign trade good or bad for the U.S. economy?,” 59% of Republicans said it was bad while only 32% said it was good. When Republicans are jumping ship on free trade, this means that probably 3/4 of the country thinks it is bad. I recently saw a poll that said that for the first time in history, the majority of Americans that make over $100k/year are against free trade.
I agree – as a more left-leaning person (esp. on social issues), I’m heavily in favor of free trade, outsourcing, etc. It seems like the it’s the only way to make the world safer, more educated, and more evenly distributed in terms of wealth. Seems like most Democrats who are against free trade do so simply because that’s what the old Democrats did (unions, etc).
Free trade will save the world ultimately.
At the moment, though, businesses focus on citizens of wealthy countries. As trade expands, and more countries become wealthy, billions of new customers will be created. A feedback loop.
Population management will be enforced on all countries, and tariffs and sanctions for breaking future international agreements will result in isolation. People in poorer countries are not so materialistic. Therefore, they don’t necessarily want or care about big houses, etc. But… when people already have a big house, they will do anything to stop you from taking it.
Therefore, wealth is a one way street. Once a country becomes ‘first world’, then will not want to go backwards. Therefore, costs will eventually rise, and jobs will flow from those countries to the next set of low income territories. It’s already happening with Asian companies buying up chunks of Africa.
Countries will be forced to adopt principles both left and right. If communism takes over, the area will be left educated and with an infrastructure once the government falls, and consumerism begins – but from a more socialistic perspective.
If anarchy prevails, then cowboy companies will exploit resources, trample on human rights, and either communist revolution begins – or more often a rightist government takes power, controlled by industry. Through long term international pressure, (and especially now with globalisation – e.g. Hasbro problems in China) the rightist government will be forced to enact more and more socially responsible laws, until it has reached a reasonable balance. Once the culture begins to balance, the bean counters will enforce tighter regulation of everything. This will expose huge corruption, and this is a correction in politics that puts that country firmly on it’s way to the so called first world.
Whether you’re left or right wing has no bearing on the future. Future leftism and rightism will be modified significantly, especially since countries gravitate toward forming superstates, e.g. South America, EU, etc… – thereby giving higher standards from outside to leverage policy inside a country, i.e. ‘play nice or get out’.
That’s not to say it’s not scary. I imagine there will be recessions.
It will be interesting.