We can ignore it no longer. We are now at a fundamental inflexion point with regard to global free trade, according to Nick Timothy in today’s Telegraph.
Geo-politics have turned our lazy assumptions on their head as Russia and China bear their teeth and pick their moment. The days of cheap oil and even cheaper imports are over: It’s pay-back time.
Or it would be if the West were not drowning in debt. Its combined trade deficit with China alone now stands at more than $600bn. And that’s before we factor in the cost of the Pandemic and the tail-end of the 2008 financial crash.
It’s not just the headline figures that are alarming. Thirty years of globalisation have been felt in other ways too:
“Mid-skilled work disappeared. Pay stagnated. As productivity increased, returns for workers failed to keep up with those for investors. As factories closed and manufacturing moved to Asia, the link between the success of British companies and the prosperity of British people ruptured: while once executives might have shared some gains with low and mid-skilled workers, these days such workers are employed in other countries.
Even some of the fruits of globalisation are turning to rot. While the limited development of the Chinese economy once kept inflation low, now it drives it up as we compete for scarce resources like oil and gas. While the abandonment of manufacturing was seen as the height of modernisation, during the pandemic we found we were exposed without it. While openness to foreign investment was once our leitmotif, now we understand it is exploited by hostile states to launder dirty money and gain leverage against us.”
Each and every assurance from Clinton and Blair onwards appears to be misplaced:
“That our values are universal, that the rest of the world wants to become like us, that interconnectedness makes war impossible, that the liberalisation of trade inevitably leads to open societies and democratic politics – and hope that events might still swing their way.”
It’s not just our values which the rest of the world doesn’t share. They won't abide by the rules either:
“Through naivety and neglect, the United States invited China into the global trading system and watched as Beijing broke all the rules, dumped cheap products on the West, pilfered economic and military secrets, and caused deindustrialisation and social decay across the Rust Belt. American political instability, repeated elsewhere in the West, is directly linked to the economic and social anxiety fuelled in part by globalisation.”
If the West is ever to recover its position in the world, it needs to recognise
“that economic might matters, and so the pursuit of growth is not optional. It requires us to prioritise national resilience over the notional efficiency of stretched supply chains. It requires economic nationalism, strategic planning and the maintenance of domestic production and core capabilities.”
The full article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it: