Globalism: Optimism, Pessimism, and Dystopian Visions. (Part One.)

[Author´s note: this is the first of a three-part set. Originally intended as a single post, what I originally had in mind got far too long for a single post. Thus it will appear in three parts starting with Part One today, with Part Two appearing Tuesday morning and Part Three appearing Thursday morning. This first part introduces the Main Statement, I will call it. The second part is one of the rare posts here whose bulk was written by someone else. In this case, my South Carolina friend and a longstanding GOP strategist, Dean Allen, who criticizes the Main Statement. In the third part, I reply to the criticism. All bibliographic references will be listed at the end on Thursday.]

What, precisely, is globalism (besides a word we aren’t supposed to use in polite company!)? Does it differ from globalization, and if so, how?

For my purposes I will turn these two around. Globalization is a complex tendency, economic at its core, perhaps, but often suggestive of more. It involves integrating economies or parts of them through cross-borders international trade. This has been going on for centuries, at least since the founding of Dutch East and British East at the start of the 1600s, and probably long before. Given that different nations and different regions have different goods and can satisfy different needs and wants, the tendency makes sense. David Ricardo believed that free trade making use of what he called comparative advantage of each nation benefitted both. Globalization can go beyond economics, as I suggested. There have always been a few folks who are curious about the different places and different cultures existing over the horizon. Some wish to explore what is going on over there, as it were. Others, to share artistic and other products of their own culture. Globalization in all these senses is healthy. It will bring a range of people goods that they want, and it need not affect those who do not want involvement with it; and it will enable cultural sharing and exchanges for mutual educational benefit and enjoyment.

Globalism I define as more political in nature (although in my opinion there is ultimately no fine line between the economic and the political). To a great extent globalism as an political-economic philosophy piggybacks on globalization in the above sense. It is the conscious and planned effort of a select few not just to integrate economies or share cultures but to bring them more and more under a single system of transnational governance, ostensibly to manage and regulate the global economy delivered under globalist efforts. The globalist ideal would include not just a governing structure, almost certainly backed financially by corporations who would expect to gain from it, but major media to promote its goals and values, directly or indirectly, and education aimed at producing a cooperative workforce. Ultimately it would gravitate towards establishing a global currency as far more efficient than the system of multiple fiat currencies we have now with their constantly fluctuating exchange rates. The digital realm would make transfers simple and more easily monitored, with security issues the biggest threat to the system and source of complications.

Globalization, meanwhile, has fallen under a skeptical microscope. In a classic article (Schumer & Roberts 2004) Paul Craig Roberts noted how advancing technology had increased the mobility of capital so that the proper relationship between nations was no longer comparative but the absolute advantage of nations with abundant cheap labor, no benefits, no environmental restrictions, etc., explaining further that “free trade” was now doing more harm than good by outsourcing middle class jobs and deindustrializing the First World. He did not consider, at least not directly, whether this was an accident of history or more directed by globalists atop global corporations who stood to profit immensely from all such developments.

So is either one a “good thing”? Does globalization still mean greater prosperity for all in the long run (it is hard to argue that it has not benefited the developing world)? Or is it now a cover for something fundamentally authoritarian, possibly even potentially totalitarian (de facto if not de jure), based on systems of controls over populations that are necessary given that many of the peoples brought under its umbrella either do not trust the ruling classes that would further such goals, or each other, or both? My view has gravitated towards the latter. Hence I am not a globalist. Nevertheless, the advances of globalism have been one of the primary political-economic realities of the past century. If we want a truthful perspective on what is happening in the world, we cannot avoid talking about them.

Movements such as Brexit, and at least a portion of those in the grassroots rebellion in the U.S. that supported Donald Trump, are fundamentally antiglobalist. I know, I know, many mainstream writers say it was racial resentment which Trump inflamed, that not all the white people who voted for him were struggling members of the working class, etc., etc. I do not deny that some had these motives, but neither do I see them as illustrating the fundamental conflict in the advanced world, which is not between whites and minorities, so called, but between a kleptocratic superelite and the general population of whatever race. There are enough who see themselves not only being hung out to dry as a result of forces they never took a vote on, but demonized as “deplorable.” The situation is actually worse. Writers such as Dmitry Orlov suggest that they could just as easily be labeled expendables!

Over a number of weeks I have crafted a concise statement for use on forums and comments sections that departs from philosophy per se to say something about where the world has been heading for at least the past 70 years, and will almost assuredly continue heading with only the most limited challenges if by some chance what Special Investigator Robert Mueller’s bloodhounds and all left-liberals want comes to pass, this being the end of the Trump administration by whatever means are necessary. The most likely outcome of such an event would be replacing Trump with the more controllable Mike Pence. I do not know the probability of this happening, as there are many factors not easily quantified. It may not even be that high, especially if Republicans retain control over Congress. This leaves aside the possibility (some would say likelihood) that Trump will not change anything. The present GOP tax reform bill making its way towards the president’s desk has been criticized as favoring the rich, which means: those who tend to favor a globalist perspective, whether Trump intends this or not.

My Main Statement tries to avoid as much as possible the usual unhelpful “left” versus “right” bromides as well as other dichotomies that are probably useless (e.g., Republican versus Democrat as there are several types of each with globalists at the “center” of both). Do note that by corporatism, a concept crying out for far more attention than it has received (although there is a good statement here), I mean systems of political economy in which corporations and governments work closely together to create and impose policy. Where this differs from fascism is that with fascism properly understood, government is in the driver’s seat. With corporatism, global corporations are in the driver’s seat. How can this be? Very simple. They have the money and so control the purse strings. The term corporatocracy, finally, is looser and refers to transnational systems of informal controls that have the same fundamental effects as global-spanning governance directed by corporations as well as transnational organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank.

Here, in any event, is the Main Statement:

“ (1) We have seen, for a very long time now and going into high gear after the Soviet Union collapsed, an increasing consolidation of wealth and power in the hands of a few corporatists / global elites who answer only to each other, at the helm of a global corporatocracy answering to no one. Democracy in the U.S., meanwhile, has been quantitatively shown to be fundamentally fraudulent: the policies furthered by political elites seldom if ever reflect the will and concerns of the informed public (Gilens & Page 2014). What major policies reflect is the collective will of moneyed interests. This is hardly a new insight, it is true, but the situation clearly worsened beginning at the time of the so-called “end of history” (Fukuyama 1992), and worsened magnitudes more with the financial crisis of 2008-09.

“ (2) Since those with economic power are hardly Misesian or Austrian “free marketers” who truly believe the global economy either can or should be run without top-down regulations built into “free trade” agreements (too many of the players from different cultures not trusting one another), the global elite will gradually instill world government at the center of a global regulatory scheme, just as such agreements between European nations eventually gave us the corrupt and authoritarian EU. For decades the United Nations clearly saw itself as an emerging world government. What we see now, in what some call the “Davos culture,” is far more advanced than what the bureaucratic and dysfunctional UN has been capable of.

“ (3) We will see, in the near future, moves against the U.S. dollar and towards a global currency; that currency will almost certainly be digital and will almost certainly employ blockchain technology and look an awful lot like Bitcoin minus the supposed anonymity of present-day cryptocurrencies. This is in accordance with the ongoing cold war against cash transactions which cannot be monitored. (This latter, incidentally, includes civil forfeiture laws in the U.S. which allow police to literally steal cash from any citizens foolhardy enough to keep large amounts of cash on their persons or in their vehicles. Police have confiscated hundreds of thousands of dollars from citizens not accused of any crime using such laws. Only drug dealers, terrorists, and other criminals need to use or are likely to have large amounts of cash, goes the social sanction argument which has fallen into place, and which will eventually be used to demonize and then criminalize unmonitored cash transactions.)

“ (4) The U.S. middle class will continue to disappear, except for hierarchies of functionaries who have decided that their best options are to serve the elites by administering their policies and using mainstream corporate media to sell them to the masses with whatever sugarcoating is necessary; this, too, has been going on for decades. Growing middle classes elsewhere, e.g., in Latin America, will remain relatively small, and successfully walled off from the elite ownership class in the corporatocracy (e.g., Chile’s run-off election just a couple of days away as of this writing is between a center-left globalist and a center-right globalist; those of us living on investments are supporting the center-right globalist because center-right globalism is investor-friendly and it isn’t like we have much of a choice). What emerges as a reasonable inference from any examination of recent history: globalists do not want a financially independent middle class able to extricate itself from their systems and, conceivably, challenge them.

“ (5) The world as a whole will move towards a technologically-advanced form of feudalism, with most developed-nation workers (over 70% for sure) consigned to the precarity of the “gig economy”; it will be financially and logistically impossible for these workers to establish power bases of their own. This will continue for as long as the elites can maintain this system’s stability (or until God Himself intervenes!). A few theatrical “wars and rumors of wars” will make for good distractions while killing a lot of people and destroying a lot of lives for no good reason, alongside dramatic mass murders such as those of Las Vegas and Sutherland Springs, Texas. As long as Joe Six-Pack can keep watching sports and the Kardashians on television, however, he is satisfied.

“ (6) Education will continue its collapse into the vocationalism of STEM subjects, both because the cost of higher education has gotten so astronomical that students are understandably thinking “jobs, jobs, jobs,” to pay off their student loan debts, and because the disciplines necessary for “big picture” critical thinking, enabling a person to see and put together for himself or herself precisely what is going on have already been neutered or destroyed. These are the much-maligned traditional liberal arts, and when one looks at academic liberal arts today, aside from very highly specialized areas of academic analytic philosophy, what one sees is mostly identity politics, the politics of division according to collective grievance, the only unity of which is found in its seething hatred of the Straight White Christian Male, whose historical achievements are being slowly but steadily demoted, deemed “racist, sexist or misogynist, homophobic, transphobic,” or whatever the newest “phobia-of-the-week” might be.

“ (7) Massive propaganda efforts by mainstream “economists” proclaiming TINA (There Is No Alternative … to “globalization”) will continue. This last is what the elites care about, of course. I doubt very much that the .0001% at the very top cares about whether black lives matter, how many women are in their midst, whether gays can marry or which restrooms “transgenders” can use.

A dystopian vision? I do not deny that it is! But this is where we were as the Obama years drew to a close. Barack Obama may have been the First Black President but he was also a globalist who did as much as anyone had to further the above causes, which included furthering the war machine and destroying nations like Libya under the watch of his then Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Trumpism” to the extent it exists as a kind of gut-level way of thinking at the grassroots of those who voted for Donald Trump was an attempt at a rebellion against this, as well as its manifestations such as illegal immigration and open borders policies, informed by Internet alternative media. Some of the latter had exposed the agenda and tried to offer alternatives to globalist economics and identity politics. These alternatives, some going back several years, have had both “left” incarnations (e.g., the now-neutered Syriza Party in Greece) and “right” ones: Brexit, Marine Le Pen’s failed candidacy in France, the present administrations in Poland and Hungary, etc.

There are also “localization” movements that are difficult to pigeonhole and at present have to be found by searching the Internet as they do not get huge government grants and cannot afford massive self-promotion / publicity campaigns (for one important statement see Norberg-Hodge 2009). As long as so-called progressives continued to be hobbled by identity-politics (which includes last year’s fixation among Democrats extending to the corrupt DNC with electing Hillary as the First Woman President) they will fail to do anything except cause conflict and misery. They will not identify the real enemy. The real enemy is not the Straight White Christian Male. The real enemy is the globalist corporatocracy whose loyalties are to money and power, not to any nation, any political party or specific program other than the one outlined here, nor to a race or ethnicity (white people as such), nor any cultural identity. Their wealth buys governments and transnational entities (e.g., the UN & the WTO).

And as long as the majority of pundits and pseudo-intellectuals dismiss this sort of claim as a “conspiracy theory,” the brilliant meme concocted by the CIA back in 1967 to circumvent criticism of the Warren Commission Report’s whitewash of the JFK assassination, and which continues to this day to be applied to any question of official narratives, and are believed, nothing substantive will change … even as those who profess great learning scratch their heads at Trump’s continued successes maintaining the loyalty of his base….”

[Part Two in two days….]

About Steven Yates

I have a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Georgia and teach Critical Thinking (mostly in English) at Universidad Nacionale Andrés Bello in Santiago, Chile. I moved here in 2012 from South Carolina. My most recent book is entitled Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic (2011). I am the author of an earlier book, around two dozen articles & reviews, & still more articles on commentary sites on the Web. I live in Santiago with my wife Gisela & two spoiled cats, Bo & Princesa.
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3 Responses to Globalism: Optimism, Pessimism, and Dystopian Visions. (Part One.)

  1. Dean Allen says:

    In the five years you have been gone, the pendulum has swung in the opposite direction. President Trump uttered four words in 2016 that won him the nomination and the presidency. Those four words are “I will fix that!” He has been working hard to do just that for the last eleven months and has made great strides.

  2. oops britney says:

    I wonder whether the blog owner has read Sam Francis Leviathan and its Enemies.
    He says the same things as are said here, in a way that I think I prefer, because he lays the stress more on mind control and what he names as the Verbalist class.

    In my simple terms, I think that intellectuals — the earthly mundane ambition driven, the same who are best at informing people of all social and intellectual strata in the etymologic sense of “in-forming” — started to have a change at grabbing much more power and food for their vanity in the 20h century, with technology-brought-about systems of mass communication, and the popularisation of university studies.
    In a first stage, the forces traditionally holding all the power overlooked these Verbalists; what ensued was the Verbalist turned all “revolutionaries”: in the etymologic sense of “revolution”, they want to turn around the old system where there was no place for them.
    Then in the last 20th century, and more so in the 21th, they finally struck an allegiance with the other powers becoming one of them. The allegiange is symbiotic; all roll each other’s logs.
    And now there is nobody, among the types adept to rear the masses, who doesn’t “work for” the interests opposes to the masses. Where “masses” comprehends those this blog calls the educated and informed.
    Indoctrination is crafted and packaged in different formats… for each level of education, intelligence, and participation that there is.

    Unlike Francis, I don’t see attention-worthy enemies of the Leviathan. Power has never been so cohesive, shaking it never so unlikely. If the high-up don’t squabble among them, nothing from below is going to pose a threat to their control.
    I can remember a column in the Financial Times were they said, at the time of Brexit and Trump: losers are getting angry — we recommend our globalist friends to be a tad more prodigal in throwing crumbles to the losers, it’s all that is needed for everything to run smoothly.
    However, greed is more often a controller, than a controlled drive, and it is its ease of becoming an addiction what may lead to change, certainly not “localists”.

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