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Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Post-globalist Capitalist revolution is coming

Back in 1910, I'm quite sure, the equivalent of the political adviser was penning essays on the ways in which London could deal with the disposal of horse-dung; no doubt special rail sidings, dung-trains and dung-mountains beyond the suburbs were involved in options to clear the stables and streets of horseapples, designed so that by 1940 London would remain clear of millions of tons of equine product. So mired were they in a world of exponentially increasing horse-traffic in London they became deaf to the noise of the motor-car, blind to the cinema and the early aircraft in the skies. 

I was reminded of these early dung-managers when reading a piece on Conservative Home by Nick Hargrave, former Number 10 SPAD who made policy for both David Cameron and Theresa May. More State, more Spending, more Spin and more Tax are Hargrave's recommendations - thus exhibiting an almost wilful blindness to the reality of the world today, taking refuge in the comfortable horse-dung of an imagination limited to the past. Hargrave is unaware that without radical change there will be by 2040 neither a Welfare State nor an NHS in the UK.

From 1971 onwards, when the effects of Bretton Woods in managing national competitive advantage by regulating national capital flows were removed, globalism in place of international trade became possible. During the past twenty years globalism has been in the ascendant, as Daly wrote in 1999
The classical economists like Ricardo, were nationalists, and that is why they were so devoted to comparative advantage. We are presumably beyond that now. We are cosmopolitan individualists on a global scale, interested in maximizing global product. Comparative advantage, because of its premised constraint on capital mobility, does not maximize global product. But absolute advantage, by relaxing that constraint, does. We are simply not interested in the national distribution of gains and losses from global trade.
That neglect of the distributional effects has given us the Elephant - global gainers including the people of India, Vietnam and particularly China, and global losers including a vast mass of middle and working class citizens in the developed world, who have lost income, status and job security in a period of rapid change in which the balance towards fairness and social cohesion built by a century or more of painfully-wrought agreements on the relationship between Labour and Capital have been junked, skipped and disregarded. The real gainers are the global 1%, whose wealth and income has increased exponentially.

The biggest myth is perhaps that global markets are free markets. They are not. The global corporates use market power, intellectual property and trademark rights, data power and the de facto granting of 'knowledge' monopolies by state actors. Supranational authority that imposes systems of regulation and over-regulation that favour the oligopolistic globals - whether the EU or the UN - at the expense of non-global competition is an ally of globalistic advantage.

The harmonisation of standards through bodies such as the EU and UN is also paradoxically of national disbenefit to the developed world, as Daly explains
When different national markets with different rules for the internalization of external costs merge into a single market, then the different rules of cost accounting present a big problem. Under globalization the market left to itself will resolve the difficulty by standards-lowering competition -- the way of counting costs that results in the cheapest product will prevail......

Under the traditional comparative advantage (internationalist as opposed to globalist) regime, each country could indeed adopt its own separate rules of cost-accounting, reflecting its own values and traditions, and not worry about harmonization. As long as capital must stay at home countries are not forced into a standards-lowering competition to attract and keep capital. Goods and services can be produced and freely traded according to comparative advantage even when trading partners have totally different ways of measuring costs.
I don't want to get mired in theory about globalism. The reality is that if we have not as yet reached Peak Globalism then we are fast approaching it; Trump, Brexit, the Gilets jaunes, Italy and the fast-approaching Eurozone recession are already with us. The reactions and anticipation of outcomes will increasingly define political alignments - I can detect a coalescing of opinion around several divergent standards

Those looking to help design the successor to globalism; Internationalists, Localists, committed to democratic outcomes and social equity. Radical reform of tax and welfare systems, renewal of political identities, utilising capitalism to generate wealth but in control of its effects, recognition of the deep and fundamental changes that AI and technology will bring, committed to achieving a Durkheimian social integrity and coherence in contrast to a globalist anomie

Those committed to global government, a world-wide constitution and harmonisation of everything, open borders, unrestricted global economic activity, worldwide legal, judicial and justice systems, abrogation of personal freedoms to a class of benign appointed experts who will act in the general good, the growth of the 'citizen of everywhere', the rule of benign technocracy over 'old fashioned' democracy, the supremacy of supranational State authority.

Those of all political colours in denial that massive change is underway; the managers of horse-dung, political nostalgics, the patrician elite and the dags of globalism, neo-liberals, the political class and the old fourth estate, all those threatened by what they term 'populism', the 1% and the winners from globalism who just want everything to stay the same. Plus the naive zealots - those who believe that anthropogenicmorphic global warming / Moslem immigrants / 12 foot alien lizards / secret Zionist conspiracies / American hegemony and suchlike are actually responsible for what's happening.

Change is coming. We need people of vision and ability, not managers of yesterdays horse dung.


Anonymous said...

How on Earth are Trump, and the globalist billionaires such as Robert Mercer who back him, any kind of "reaction" against exactly what they themselves are?

Dave_G said...

I don't think that those that consider cAGW/immigration/conspiracy and Hegemony are responsible for what has happened but they are certainly as a result of what's happened.

They have either been used to progess Globalism or Globalism has been used to instigate them.

As time goes on it is quite disconcerting how many conspiracies have (or are) turning to be factual and I have little reason to disbelieve the greater the conspiracy the greater the chances there is something genuine behind them.

But even exposed consipracies are still left unreported (by the MSM) and the public at large have been so conditioned as to STILL say 'naaaaah, it can't be.....' even when the facts are presented to them. We are THAT conditioned/controlled by the media.


Supranational authority that imposes systems of regulation and over-regulation that favour the oligopolistic globals - whether the EU or the UN - at the expense of non-global competition is an ally of globalistic advantage.

is a 'killer' point for Anon to discredit and one of the major reasons why the EU will fail and people voted against it. Even if they didn't know why at the time......

Raedwald said...

Anon 10.46

Ah, our first 12-foot-lizards ;)

terence patrick hewett said...

The famous photographs of Fifth Avenue NY entitled:

"Spot the automobile - Fifth Avenue circa 1900"

"Spot the horse - Fifth Avenue circa 1913"

1900 all horses no cars - 1913 all cars no horses. And London, Paris and Berlin were the same.

Of course outside the big cites of the western world it was still horse-drawn but by 1955 the internal combustion engine (ICE) had taken over from horse/steam completely.

And the same will happen to the ICE: electric and driverless are starting to displace it - and displace railed transport.

The coming technological change will revolutionise travel: electric cars and driverless/connected data technology renders rail lines as a means to guide a vehicle to its destination no longer necessary. It renders HS2 obsolete before it has been built.

See: As the age of autonomous vehicles nears, why are policy wonks focused on the past?

“The delegates to the 1898 urban planning conference failed to recognize the developments that would transform their world. Today's transportation infrastructure discussions — about building a $10-billion bus terminal in New York, or a $70-billion high-speed rail system in California — may prove similarly short-sighted. These transportation mega-projects don't seem to take AVs into account. Yet by the time these initiatives are completed, AVs will be a major part of the transportation landscape.”

I have this vision of E H Shepard’s illustration in Wind in the Willows of Toad dressed up in motoring hat, greatcoat and gauntlets with Badger, Moly and Rat trying to take his Motor Car away from him: “I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!”

Don’t worry boys – we’re not taking your willies away!

terence patrick hewett said...

As regards the above the California Project has now been cancelled - sensible US. Will HS2 lunacy finally penetrate the thick skulls of UK politicians? I ha me doots.

Peter Wood said...

Raedwald - A truly excellent post, thank you. Yes, I believe we are at a similar social tipping point, maybe beyond. One can see the similarities to the world as it was in the 1900's, with their technological revolution, that moved millions from the countryside into the factories and the middle-class was established. We now see the elimination of that middling rank of society, they are no longer needed and yet we have the population for it... What is to follow, I am very concerned that the result may be that 1914-18 may well be repeated many times over.

Budgie said...

Raedwald, A tour de force. Well done. "The biggest myth is perhaps that global markets are free markets. They are not." Absolutely agree with that, and I have tried to say so before and elsewhere but without your eloquent explanations.

Ideologies (and the EU is merely an ideology) - particularly technocratic ideologies - are not enough. They are sterile and rootless. Unfortunately they have the power to transfix in the moment: whether Marxism, Nazism, or EU-ism. But when the glasses of gullibility and fashion are removed the EU ideology will shrivel away. But how quickly?

The biggest problem may be the developing EU military capability. The EU may try to save itself in the time honoured fashion of fomenting a foreign war to divert people's eyes from its manifest shortcomings and failures.

mongoose said...

The need for travel has changed. It's not that driverless cars will become the norm but more that most people won't need a car. BTW a bus, a tram, and a tube train are all driverless cars. Some of them are even driverless already.

When I was a lad - one of three - in the countryside, our family of five had a car each. (Well, two cars and three jalopies.) Now I have three kids and between us we have one tiny Fiat 500. We don't go to the shops, the shops come to us. We don't go to work, we sit here and Skype or Zoom or Dropbox our work.

BTW2 the managerial middle class is dying - probably dead already or turned into a civil servant - but that species can still prosper by smartness and agility.

OTOH I silently stood cooking the other day while three perfectly lovely 17-y-o girls discussed finding the man of their dreams via Tinder because they never met anyone any other way. Taking into account even the silliness of youth, this was a depressing spectacle.

DiscoveredJoys said...

Quite so Raedwald.

Generals fight the previous war.
Economists model the previous recession.
Politicians prettify the previous ideology.

But the world is messy and always changing; empires always fall.

So yes, I believe that Trump, Brexit, the Gilets jaunes, Italy and the fast-approaching Eurozone recession are merely(!) symptoms of the collapse of global neoliberalism as an ideology, just as Socialism has failed, just as feudalism has failed.

But trade between ordinary people will continue... I have great faith the 'trade' will ease the birthing pains of Brexit far more than any set of bureaucratic rules.

Dave_G said...

I do favour peoples choice being directed by technological improvements i.e. AVs but I abhor the enforced politically-created direction re EV's.

There is no reasonable argument to move from fossil fuels (and I include LPG in this mix too) as their abundance is a fact yet the infrastructure and technology to convert to all-EV is still decades away and currently only encouraged by subsidy, taxation and unfounded/baseless scaremongering. I'd go further and claim that it is a Globalisst agenda to force new manufacturing (and thus debts) onto people that can ill-afford it. The technology markets are dominated by companies that have more resources spent on convincing the gullible they NEED their product than on the product development itself.

Maybe there will be a split again, as per the horses i.e. big city conversion to EV's with a slow-but-gradual change from fossil fuel vehicles used in the countryside... but this all prevails on joined-up-thinking which our political leadership have yet to master.

Anonymous said...

It's a typical pseudo-intellectual ramble, to dress up something quite simple as a complexity.

It's the same, ancient, story.

The powerful and the evil will do all that they can to crush everyone else.

The writer, for all his claims to oppose them, seems to me to be hell-bent on doing all that he can to assist them, by his preposterous misdirections at imaginary bogeymen.

Yet again.

Anonymous said...

The Leave voters were in large number utter suckers for all this "anti-elite" baloney.

It was a project that began on the right-wing extremes of the Tory party, then helped by those too right-wing even for that, such as multimillionaire Jimmy Goldsmith, whose Referendum Party made much noise on the subject in the 1990s, and Ukip, for which Dulwich College-educated City trader Nigel Farage would deploy a beer-swilling, fag-chomping faux man-of-the-people shtick to broaden the appeal.

This was sufficiently effective among Tory rebels to spook Old Etonian David Cameron into calling a referendum; this in turn would provide a platform for Old Etonian Boris Johnson, with the help of the Old Etonian head of crooked Cambridge Analytica, to destroy his old mate from the Bullingdon Club, and amid the fallout pave the way for Old Etonian Jacob Rees-Mogg to become more powerful inside the Tory party than virtually every cabinet minister.

You don't do irony too well, do you, Raed?

Raedwald said...

Perfect! Two Philistines deeply in denial

Many thanks, anon and anon

Anonymous said...

I don't think that anyone need take lessons in denial, from someone who claims that one's personal safety is better in Trump's 30,000-gun-deaths-a-year US, than it is in the just-one-sixth-of-the-US-murder-rate EU.

Raedwald said...

Anon - please do tell who is this "someone who claims that one's personal safety is better in Trump's 30,000-gun-deaths-a-year US, than it is in the just-one-sixth-of-the-US-murder-rate EU."

If you can't, we must assume i's just another of your clumsy, inept lies.

It's a shame your case is so bad you cannot think of ONE truth with which to defend it, but resort to silly, clumsy lies at every turn. You epitomise the EU. well done!

Raedwald said...

Anon - I assume you're admitting to fantasising again?

You're really not much cop as a troll, are you? have you ever thought about sitting on a pile of rags on a street corner with a dog on a string, drinking cider and swearing at random passers-by?

Anonymous said...

You can't let my claimed "ineptitude" speak for itself though, can you?

The truth seems to rattle you.

Raedwald said...

No, never the truth - just your sully jejune lies. Post something that contributes to the post, that isn't a childish insult, a bare lie or a slander and it will stay up. Easy.

Graeme said...

"I don't think that anyone need take lessons in denial, from someone who claims that one's personal safety is better in Trump's 30,000-gun-deaths-a-year US, than it is in the just-one-sixth-of-the-US-murder-rate EU."

I have walked around Los Angeles, Dallas, San Francisco, Portland and Seattle late at night and felt just as safe as in London, Brussels, Amsterdam, Seville. What is the point you think you are making?

Anonymous said...

How about perfectly valid, polite questions?

Raedwald said...

Comments on the post are welcome. Such as this letter from the Guardian's letters page, in reaction to a piece by Larry Elliot on the problems with globalism;

"It seems to me that much the biggest problem with the various “free movements” that Larry Elliott talks about is free movement of capital. Even David Ricardo, an early proponent of countries sticking to the sectors they did best while happily importing other things, was wary about capital sloshing unhindered around the world and made a connection between its tendency to enrich the few while causing others to be impoverished and seek work abroad. He must have foreseen the social tensions that have arisen today over immigration."

Ah, great minds ....

terence patrick hewett said...

People of Earth, your attention, please. This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system. And regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you.

There’s no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for 50 of your Earth years, so you’ve had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it’s far too late to start making a fuss about it now. … What do you mean you’ve never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven’s sake, mankind, it’s only four light years away, you know. I’m sorry, but if you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that’s your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams.

I don’t know, apathetic bloody planet, I’ve no sympathy at all.


Anonymous said...

So, my question again is this, Raed.

You clearly believe in a World Of Nations, unrestrained by international laws. Naturally, there would inevitably be a hierarchy amongst them.

Which nation then, do you think should dominate the planet?

From all that I've read here, it seems plain, that you think that it should be the US, indeed you appear vehement on the point.

So it would be you, who seeks to preserve, nay to reinforce, the old order of the 1950s. You have nothing new to offer, rather a return to the worst of the past.

formertory said...

Surely "anthropogenic" gorbal worming, Raedders, not "anthropomorphic"?

Good post, though. It does seem to have some lizards oot'n'aboot.

Raedwald said...

formertory - arghh! yes, you're quite right. daft slip.

Raedwald said...


"Naturally, there would inevitably be a hierarchy amongst them."

A hierarchy based on what?