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Populism and the Economics of Globalization [pdf] (scholar.harvard.edu)
129 points by sukruh on June 21, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 208 comments



It is too easy to forget that when a person is employed at $100k-$200k per year in the Bay Area, you want things like stopping climate change, more parks, more air, fair treatment, and above all, peace and prosperity.

When making $30k with absolutely zero hope of real increases in Atlanta being a warehouse worker for an industry that's disappearing, the same person would burn all those things down, I would have said to get $10k more per year. Today I would say, getting an extra year at $30k is enough to justify the burnings.

We should think a bit more about Maslow's hierarchy. If you can't give people a decent living first, they will revolt if you try to "make them matter" or try to reach these lofty goals. You might think that wage improvements don't matter if we don't fix the climate, but the exact opposite is true.

I'm not making the point that the climate isn't worth saving, racism doesn't need solving if we can't fix poverty and "underemployment". I'm saying that we won't succeed unless we fix that ... first.

Globalism produces beautiful iPads. But global average wage is $2k ... not per month. Per year. If you're average, working in a non-booming industry, and of course most people are exactly that, that is a terrifying prospect. The sad part is ... yes killing globalization will make us all worse off, in terms of the country's GDP. But it will lessen the gap between the 1% and the 99% (note that 2% is $97k per year, and as such anyone working in the Bay Area in IT is likely at least in the top 2%). Of course, mostly by making the 0.1% - 50% a LOT worse off (that's anyone making less than about 2.6 million per year and more than $56k. Even in the Bay Area, that's probably C-level wages).


For me the real story here is that despite the ascendance of right wing populism the GOP in D.C. is doing the exact same thing it has always done : tax cuts for the rich while shrinking services for the rest. That and deregulating wall street.

Sure, the GOP in D.C. doesn't give two pennies about climate change, more parks, more air, fair treatment, or the rest, but they also are doing nothing different that will substantially help the Atlanta warehouse worker either.


That's because the GOP won the culture war. Sure the dems have civil rights, gay rights, transgender rights, etc. but the GOP has managed to convince most of the US population that success is achieved through wealth, that people with lots of money are good people who deserve what they have, that government is inherently less efficient than business, that markets are good and they get better the less regulation, that liberty = economic freedom, that unions are bad for workers and so on. They've done this so effectively that dems now feel they have to play into it. It's a sad indictment of the lack of any real leftist movement here.


That's the genius of the GOP. They can motivate the working class while pretty much every policy they make is against the working class.


> That's the genius of the GOP. They can motivate the working class while pretty much every policy they make is against the working class.

That's kind of been easier since 1992, since Third Wayism means the Democrats at the Presidential level (which gets outsized media attention and often shapes perception of downballot races) and often (though less consistently) at lower levels aren't even trying to offer a credible alternative for the bulk of the working class on some of the most salient issues.

It's easier to get people to vote against their own interests when no one is offering the clear opportunity to vote for those interests.


I somewhat agree that let's not forget that third-wayism was a response by the Democrats to being locked out of executive power at the federal level for the previous 12 years, or all but 4 of the previous 24 years if you want to look back to the 1960s. When the choices were 'never get any power again' or 'accept the dominance of market economics and try to operate within that framework' it's hard to blame them for choosing the latter. Socialism and communism as political/economic philosophies are not an easy sell in the USA.

My memory of the 1992 election is that Clinton managed to exploit general dissatisfaction with a relatively minor recession and conservative disenchantment (and consequent core voter apathy) with Bush's pragmatic decision to hike taxes, along with the split vote on the right created by Ross Perot's candidacy. Out of pragmatism, Clinton tacitly endorsed the dominant tropes of an authoritarian approach to criminal justice and the unwavering commitment to military supremacy that had culminated in the collapse of the USSR, end of the Cold War, and a quick and decisive victory in Iraq that was thought to be end of the Vietnam Syndrome.

Normally you would think that having the USSR collapse and the Berlin Wall be torn down would have propelled Bush into an easy second victory and had him and/or Reagan added to Mount Rushmore as the triumphant receivers of the Communist surrender. I absolutely understand why the progressive left felt betrayed by the Clinton-Carville machine, but as an outside observer I think the notion that the Democrats would have got anywhere with a Eugene Debs style democratic socialist in 1992 (or any of many similar pipe dreams) is delusional. Delusional. Clinton only got in because of the ideological hubris that brought Ross Perot into the race.

Please understand that I'm not casting aspersions on the ideological alternatives to the dominant economic paradigms of the time. I'm saying that there could not have been a credible alternative democratic candidate promoting sensible sustainable policies that supported working-class and other interests because most people are not rational voters. Stupidity and pervisity are facts of sociopolitical life and this isn't something that can be overcome in any single electoral campaign.


> I somewhat agree that let's not forget that third-wayism was a response by the Democrats to being locked out of executive power at the federal level for the previous 12 years,

Sure, it made some sense in “I want my party to have this office today” terms, it just was tremendously destructive to the long-term prospects of the party and it's relationship to the grassroots base, and to the key policy interest that distinguished the party from the other major party.

> My memory of the 1992 election is that Clinton managed to exploit general dissatisfaction with a relatively minor recession and conservative disenchantment (and consequent core voter apathy) with Bush's pragmatic decision to hike taxes, along with the split vote on the right created by Ross Perot's candidacy.

Perot's candidacy was almost entirely anti-NAFTA, split the anti-Bush vote, and was fueled by the major-party candidate consensus on NAFTA. With an anti-globalist Democratic candidate, there would have been be no substantial Perot support. Clinton didn't leverage Perot splitting conservative votes, he fueled Perot taking anti-NAFTA votes that had no major party candidate to go to.

> I absolutely understand why the progressive left felt betrayed by the Clinton-Carville machine, but as an outside observer I think the notion that the Democrats would have got anywhere with a Eugene Debs style democratic socialist in 1992 (or any of many similar pipe dreams) is delusional.

The alternatives to Clinton in 1992 weren't Debs-style socialist, they were pre-Third Way pro-labor welfare state Democrats like the vast majority of the party's then-current Congressional delegation.


With an anti-globalist Democratic candidate, there would have been be no substantial Perot support.

Maybe so, but then the Bush argument would have been 'did I not just defeat Communism and win a great victory in Iraq? Your labor provincialism would snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.'

Being a resident of California I think the country would have been better off with Jerry Brown, but his expression of support for Jesse Jackson at the wrong time put paid to that.

I've got to say as a Euro that while I support that sort of pro-labor welfare state agenda on a policy level, I feel Democrats in the have a bad habit of overestimating its popularity at the strategic level where elections are won. There large currents of irrationality and historical animus at play in the American electorate that the Republicans have been better at leveraging into electoral results even though those same factors are a disadvantage in governance.

This discussion is sort of getting into the weeds and I have other stuff I want to do today, but I'd be delighted to follow up if you wanted to drop me a note via gmail.


> Being a resident of California I think the country would have been better off with Jerry Brown, but his expression of support for Jesse Jackson at the wrong time put paid to that.

I don't disagree with either part of that (heck, I voted for Brown in the primary), but really the Democratic candidate pool was really weak in 1992 because Bush seemed strong until too late for anyone to credibly enter the primary race; Clinton managed not to lose while fumbling on Bush's biggest weakness, but he crippled the Democratic Party nationally for at least a generation in the process.

> I've got to say as a Euro that while I support that sort of pro-labor welfare state agenda on a policy level, I feel Democrats in the have a bad habit of overestimating its popularity at the strategic level where elections are won.

I don't think they are; quite the opposite, they usually fail to campaign on it, and when they push it in policy they fatally compromise it out of the gate (not as part of a negotiation to win votes from the other side) to serve corporate and moneyed interests, both of which are signs that they don't trust it electorally. This is even the case for things like public-paid universal healthcare, which had majority support in polling for years before Clinton was elected (and much of the time after, including through the passage of the ACA, though not always recently), where both Clinton and Obama pushed for complex, private-insurer-dependent programs that were harder for people to understand and much easier political targets for opponents.

The Third Way has been bad for Democrats as a party in government (whatever short term electoral benefit it can be argued, IMO unconvincingly, to have had in 1992 specifically) and worse for the policy interests Democrats (before and after it) claim to support, because it radically shifted the Overton window to the right.


And when the hoi polloi start to catch on they just dangle some more red meat identity politics at them.

"No, it isn't us, it is all the other people who are taking your American Dream away!"

When you think about it, isn't it remarkable how well this works that a rich billionaire blowhard from New York City convinces the hoi polloi that he is one of them?


This is much easier to accomplish - perhaps only even possible to accomplish - when the hoi polloi don't see any meaningful prospect of worthwhile change from the only other party that can get a candidate elected.

As I find myself reiterating every time the subject arises here - it's not possible accurately to understand Trump's electoral victory without reference to the DNC's own internal politics and their gravely suboptimal effect on the party's 2016 nomination. Sanders vs. Trump would've been a much more interesting election, and its outcome much more in doubt, than what we actually got; as things were, the choice came down to more of the neoliberal, globalist, job-exporting same on the one hand, and a wild card who at least gave lip service to working-class folks' problems on the other. Granted, it's becoming increasingly clear that lip service is about all that candidate was prepared to give - but that still puts him ahead of his erstwhile opponent, who couldn't be bothered even with that much, not even when it became obvious that to do so would be tactically wise.

You can blame people, if you like, for going with the sole candidate who at least pretended to give a shit about their problems. But what do you imagine it helps, to do so? Regardless of whether or not any individual finds it personally satisfying to despise people who voted in a way that individual does not like, those people did so vote, and here we all are as a result. Does recrimination really offer the most realistic prospect of a way forward that doesn't continue to steer our country along a course toward disaster?


This is the argument that Trump voters knew he was likely a con, but at least he was paying lip service. This is belied by the continued support since when he has done the exact opposite of what he said. He's revealed himself to be that con and yet his voters still enthusiastically support him.

No, Occam's razor: this is just tribalism. He's convinced them that he is on their side reality be damned. It is too painful and hopeless to countenance the other.


> This is the argument that Trump voters knew he was likely a con, but at least he was paying lip service. This is belied by the continued support since when he has done the exact opposite of what he said.

“Continued support”? No, Trump's seen a significant decline in support since taking office.

> He's revealed himself to be that con and yet his voters still enthusiastically support him.

No, again, in fact, the decline in his strong support in polling has been more rapid than the decline in his overall support.


A lot of it, too, is that regardless of one's private doubts, it's considered preferable to present a united front to a potentially hostile interlocutor. I tend to think that the Republican base is better at this, at least in the last decade or two, than the Democratic; for all the infighting one observes among the GOP establishment, GOP voters tend to back their man pretty firmly, at least in public.


> He's convinced them that he is on their side reality be damned. It is too painful and hopeless to countenance the other.

That sounds less like tribalism than like desperation to me. And in any case, what difference does it make? Either way, it boils down to a stark choice: on the one hand, the Democratic Party may work out how to offer a credible alternative to Trump - more accurately, to whoever comes after Trump, and will no doubt be to Trump as Trump to Bush - and on the other hand, the Democratic Party may watch impotently as events continue more or less as they have done.


Sanders vs. Trump would've been a much more interesting election

I agree, and it continues to perplex me that the Sanders campaign didn't put int he effort to develop a detailed policy agenda in parallel with the noble principles it was articulating.

You can blame people, if you like, for going with the sole candidate who at least pretended to give a shit about their problems

Oh please. I did not find Hillary Clinton a charismatic or especially empathic candidate, and her cautious incrementalism was a timid and unimaginative alternative to Trump's bold and dramatic (albeit shallow and stupid) vision. Clinton would have done far better to announce that her plan was to end poverty in America and establish a colony on Mars by 2030. People would have challenged that as ridiculous and impossible, of course, but it's no more absurd than the idea that we'd build a 20000 mile long wall along one border and get Mexico to pay for it.

What I'm disagreeing with is your suggestion that Clinton did not give a shit. She had a really detailed and well-rounded policy agenda whose primary fault was that it was too pragmatic and boring and cautious. It was not the right agenda for the times, but it's unjust to equate lack of vision with callous indifference. To say that is to accuse Mom of wanting you to starve because she insists you eat your vegetables. Sorry for the crude metaphor but the last election was in many ways a choice between Mom and Dad, and I think it's foolish to ignore the psychological dynamics that were in play.

I think we should also recall that she did manage to get 3 million more votes, but the GOP proved themselves to be superior electoral tacticians, possibly with help from some friends.


Perceived as at least pretending to give a shit, then. Her policy agenda might have offered some real solutions for working-class problems - and it might not have; I no longer recall in enough detail to speak confidently without a refresher, but neoliberals have not traditionally been effective in this regard - but what played was "deplorables".


I wholeheartedly agree on this - it was very much a matter of perception. What I was saying in a very long-winded way was that if you ignored all the personality factors and just scored candidates on the policy agenda, the Clinton one was both good (in terms of being thought out in detail) and popular with voters.

Like, the exact same set of policies would have won handily if they had just been offered by somebody else. Martha Stewart for example XD


Or Bernie Sanders. But it was "Hillary's turn", and here we are.


Not to let Hillary Clinton off the hook, much of her appeal was about defending & protecting minorities (and women) from continued discrimination. And from what we've been shown during the campaign and since then, discrimination is alive and well - even if it doesn't affect you personally.

But yeah, I doubt Hillary would have helped labor to generate the kind of pricing power they need to keep the society from caving in.


"much of her appeal was about defending & protecting minorities (and women) from continued discrimination."

Making this your main platform is just a losing strategy.


Rabbiting this line is pointless. Its too easy to fact check. 2 mins on google, can show you this was not her main platform at all. She had an entire economic plan, health plan, etc.

And I was brought up to think that there is nothing wrong with showing ALL people respect. Women (and minorities included)

Im assuming you may think, or have been brought up different.


No one can. The difference is Clinton Dems know this. Trump told his voters differently, and they believed him. The reality is not going to change, and he cannot change it. Even if his supporters believe he can.

Discrimination is alive and well, and thats exactly why people feel strongly about thwarting it. Im not sure if I was looking at a different campaign, but there were many more primary points to her Campaign than "protecting and defending Minorities" as you casually put it. Its easily seen on Google.


It really is impressive. I remember having a discussion with my neighbor about how Clinton was a rich elitist and Trump is a down to earth regular person. I told him they are probably both rich elitists that would never to talk to either of us but he totally hung on to the idea that Trump is a regular guy. I don't know how they pull this off. It was the same with Bush.


Not Genius, but kind of a cool but disgusting trick. And Karma is natures greatest boomerang.


Excellent analysis, but I think you've missed one key point, relative income effect. It isn't just a willingness to burn things down in the face of stagnating wages in order to increase wages at the bottom, but is also latent knowledge that by burning things down that the wealthy need, the income gap may shrink, which would make lower income earners happier [0] due to relative income effect.

[0]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4041613/

"We can now answer the question posed by the article’s title: Yes, your neighbor’s income does affect your happiness, but the income of your proximate neighbor has a different effect on your happiness than the income of your more distant neighbor does. Americans tend to be happiest when they live in a high-income neighborhood in a low-income region. In other words, the effect of residential income on individual happiness reverses from positive to negative with increasing geographic scale—a phenomenon we might call the geographic scale principle of income effects (Lee et al. [2008] argue, along the same vein, that the effect of residential segregation can vary by geographic scale)."

Edit: a more recent source (https://hbr.org/2016/04/when-economic-growth-doesnt-make-cou...)


>> When making $30k with absolutely zero hope of real increases in Atlanta being a warehouse worker for an industry that's disappearing, the same person would burn all those things down, I would have said to get $10k more per year. Today I would say, getting an extra year at $30k is enough.

As someone who works in the bay area, I can throw a rock and probably hit someone who will give me a job in software engineering. For all of our collective complaints about how bad the interview process is, the reality is that we have choice and mobility.

This is a big deal and your take on this is spot on!


A decrease or outright stoppage of opportunistic immigration would help at lessening the gap within the country. This seems like an outright heretical thing to suggest. The GDP would suffer, but workers don't benefit the way they ought to anyway; wages aren't rising with inflation, the 0.1% keep the profits. All the while, worker supply increases just as automation is casting careers into obsolescence. We produce more than enough homegrown talent that struggles to find work - that should be priority number 1.

Japan and the other Asian Tigers will be better off with a declining population, which they're well aware of, despite the fears about supporting a large centennial population. We should be doing the same rather than gouging ourselves, racing to the bottom.

Now, this isn't an assertion I find 100% confidence in, but I'm leaning that way. I'm not sure it's realistically possible to mitigate immigration given the political will it would entail. But if I'm entirely wrong about the promised effects of immigration (as in, in the West TODAY), then I'd like to hear a good retort.


I've started thinking of it this way:

"It's better to reign in hell."

Poverty is worse than most natural disasters and worse than most of the predicted consequences of climate change. I'm willing to bet that the infant mortality rate in Miami is lower during a category five hurricane than it is in a crushingly poor society in perfect weather.

People will burn the world to escape poverty. It's better to reign in hell.

Poverty is also relative due not only to the hedonic treadmill effect but to relative differences in cost of living. An American cannot even eat on $2k/year and in many places you need a minimum of $40k+ per year to afford basic housing. We have an inflationary economy, which means that anything not increasing is decreasing. You can plunge a first world person into poverty by just not inflating their wages for a while. Now add a ridiculous debt load and high unemployment.

This is why we need to drop what I call "abstinence based environmentalism." The only hope that we have of evading a global environmental catastrophe is paradoxically to increase wealth and standard of living as much as possible. Not only does this make people open to conservation but it also reduces birth rates. Trying to deny wealth to conserve resources will have the paradoxical effect of promoting short term greed and increasing birth rates. It will also lead to conflict and destabilize the international political order, making large scale cooperation on global environmental challenges impossible.

First world morons who romanticize poverty drive me nuts. These folks are either hopelessly naive, delusional, or crypto-elitist. I heard it put this way once: "Rap music comes mostly from poor inner city neighborhoods. That's why it's full of references to money and getting rich. Poor people know that money actually does matter. Only rich people can afford the luxury of not caring about money." I forget where I read that (years ago) but it's spot on.


I'm not sure if it's not understanding poverty or actively not caring. The US is do divided that I think the sympathy level between the "elites" and "real America" might be so low that many actually care more about Manta Rays going extinct than people in there middle of the country having a life worth living. Who doesn't prefer seeing a Manta Ray over losing an election?

I feel this might be the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. We need to address this very badly.


> An American cannot even eat on $2k/year

Baloney. It is easy to stay under $1.5K/year per person and that includes a pound of fresh fruit/veg each day. I've never even tried to save money either; no coupon clipping, no buying in bulk. Learn to cook. With a small amount of practice you'll be "fast enough" too, where it'll take less time for you to cook/clean than to eat out.


Where do you live? Even in little towns and with shared housing the rent is going to be >$10k/year. In larger cities you can forget about it. Detroit is probably the best real estate bargain in America, and you can't live there on $2k/year.


Um what? We are talking about eating. You know, just food expenses. No one eats real estate unless you are Godzilla.


Increasing wealth and standard of living means more consumers, more people not living off of the land. More people taking deals from the US or China, losing their sovereignty and self determination, becoming more politically unstable due to outside intervention, leading to wars, disputes, etc. Poverty is all relative, I seriously consider if our intervention due to naive altruism really helps or hurts the people there.


> Poverty is worse than most natural disasters and worse than most of the predicted consequences of climate change.

Exacerbation of poverty, both absolutely and relative, is among the predicted consequences of climate change.


I am discussing perception and social behavior, not reality per se. That may be the case but that's not how people see it when their jobs are being destroyed.

Wealth also brings the luxury of long-sighted thinking. When you're poor the only concern you have is getting out of poverty right now.


>> When making $30k with absolutely zero hope of real increases in Atlanta being a warehouse worker for an industry that's disappearing, the same person would burn all those things down, I would have said to get $10k more per year. Today I would say, getting an extra year at $30k is enough to justify the burnings.

I wouldn't generalise like that. There are a lot of lower earners who can also think big picture and there are also a lot of higher earners who only care about themselves.


Since low income earners are 1-2 order of magnitude more than high income earners. There can be lot of both variety (peaceful vs angry mob) and it will still lead very troubled times ahead.


At that level, people also consume more than people at lower levels, using more water, releasing more Greenhouse gasses, etc. Your generalization assumes that people of lower classes has no consideration for the environment, which I think is extremely unfair. There are communities and cultures of people all over the US that really care about the environment passionately at every economic level, especially in Arizona, people are extremely concerned with not wasting water, keeping things clean, not using a lot of energy.

Coming to the Bay Area, I was extremely surprised by how much water the appliances use, how much garbage my neighbors produce, people cook a lot less in the Bay Area, leading to much much more takeout boxes, plastic forks, etc. There could be tons of high income earners that live on a block and yet their neighborhood is littered with trash.

The whole politics of environmentalism consumes much more than rich vs poor or who cares the most, all of our behaviors contribute to environment decline. The biggest issue is that we have a whole economy which defaults every transaction to with environmental decay, going to the mall, buying clothes, electronics. Our lifestyle is incredibly unsustainable and pushing Western way of life on other peoples around the world is not feasible.


The people against globalization aren't the poor making $30k/year. It's the middle-class making $80k-$100k/year doing routine work.

Globalization does disproportionately affects the poor the most, but the poor still end up voting for globalist neoliberal Democrats because they offer social services that solve much of the economic disparity problem that globalization creates, such as food stamps, universal health care, college loans, subsidized housing, and public transportation. Meanwhile, the middle-class that actually votes against globalization completely ignores the fact that government offers these social services.

Ultimately globalization is a must, as it just increases efficiency and cuts prices. Ain't no one going to pay $100 for a commodity shirt you buy at Wal-Mart.

And I'm OK with society where a 1% exists. The 1% is what causes skyscrapers and high art to happen. You don't want a society where everyone is equal. It's the differences that makes us great, and in fact may be the central meaning of life. Why would anyone want to be the same as everyone else? You become unnecessary if you're the same bland chunk of ordinary matter as everyone else.


> Ultimately globalization is a must, as it just increases efficiency and cuts prices.

Unless I'm misreading the paper, one of its points is that lowering trade barriers has sharply diminishing returns-relative-to-harm, i.e. cutting a 10% tariff to 5% has a much better benefit-to-harm ratio than cutting a 5% tariff to 0%, and the effect is strong enough that at some point and by some accountings it may be more costly than it is enriching, to the state as a whole. So commitment to total destruction of trade barriers may not be the best policy, absent serious global-political-system shakeups (say, the dreaded one-world-government) to accompany it.


There are degrees to things, and wealth inequality in the US is the worst it's been since right before the Great Depression. The idea that wealth inequality on this level is 'no big deal' is as stupid as it gets.


OP sets up the straw man of "anybody against any inequality must be advocating perfect equality" - which is hogwash. By OP's logic, feudalism is perfectly fine because it accentuates the differences between serfs and kings. Or hell, even slavery is Ok. What reasonable people have to start to appreciate is that everything isn't black and white, there are shades of gray and we can have meaningful disagreements about where the lines are drawn.


So then define exactly what's good and bad, and let me know why.

I get that inequality has gotten worse, but has it put us in a unstable situation? Has society collapsed? Are the roads destroyed? Is average lifespan now 0?

We have more billionaires, but we also have 22 million more people with health care due to Obamacare now.

What metrics are you using, and why are those metrics more important than other metrics people might use.

Until you can clearly define that, we might as well say the anti-globalists are trying to turn everyone into ordinary chunks of common matter.


Well I guess that's my point, let's have a conversation about inequality and discuss how much is too much. It's a reasonable thing to debate. Your post seemed to imply that railing against the 1% was inappropriate in some way


I would argue, based on chatting to some of the artists I have met over the years, that Artists will create Art regardless of wealthy patronage. Wealthy patronage is nice of course, but the will, the need and the want to create art is primary motivator for Artists. In the same way, that those who have an urge to start businesses, are not prevented to start business in countries with high taxation.

Skyscrapers are a cool engineering feat. But, have you been to Europe? where there are not many skyscrapers, but amazing cities...

I take issue however, with the term "globalist neoliberal Democrats" as if the Democrats are the only people who favor global trade? And if people pay taxes collectively, why should there not be returns? (Such as food stamps, etc)

Otherwise, there wold be zero need for any tax over 5% for anybody, right?


I for one support globalization because it's how me and all my friends escaped the fate of our parents. Working all your life for $20k/year in a tiny little country in Europe. Without globalization we'd all be fucked.

If we could get skills and jobs that rival Bay Area or are in Bay Area from half the world away, why can't someone from Atlanta? What's stopping them? What, realistically, are the missinh opportunities for them compared to someone who couldn't even practically communicate in English until high school or so?

Like, I'm sorry person from Atlanta, you were born in the land of opportunity. I had to not only get here first, but also realize that such a thing is even possible.


Globalization unlocks the potential of top 5% types stuck in underdeveloped countries. At the same time, it often undermines the prosperity of bottom 2/3 types born in wealthy countries. As a matter of democratic theory, however, the political establishment's duty is to the majority of the populace in their own country, not to untapped potential in other countries.


Given the massive increases in living standards in Asia we have seen in the last 20-30 years I think that globalization has unlocked the potential of far more than 5% of the population of underdeveloped countries.


That's certainly true. I was thinking more in terms of globalization/immigration (in light of OP's anecdote).


What is that really compared to? More people have cars and couches? More concrete and trash men cleaning up the streets Were the past lives of people so destitute that we needed to deliver an economic and social epiphany?


Were the past lives of people so destitute that we needed to deliver an economic and social epiphany

Yes.

Billions of people that were without shelter & adequate food (not to mention health care or any sort of shot at a good education) now have access to such things. That is progress.


So you're saying thousands of years of societies all over the world, uninterrupted by Western intervention, were all useless until their coming payday by benevolent overlords?


This. There is no maxim that this is the only way to increase living standards, or a good way, or a just or moral way. It benefits large corporations in the US, though, and consumers through the availability of underpriced goods, all on the backs of some faceless brown people somewhere around the world, so its anointed as the best thing since sliced bread


I'm saying that the world is a better place when more people get to live indoors & have access to a healthy diet.


But what kind of indoors, up-to-code Western kinds of indoors, or simple grass or adobe huts that the existing people are more than happy to live in? Time and time again, we Westerners look at other cultures as savage and depraved for not having the same lifestyle as we. This is going to lead us to our doom, trying to be a total savior.

I firmly believe that we in the past did not have a responsibility to "educate" the various indigenous peoples of the planet, however due to past measures existing cultural structures were completely decimated, people are totally reliant on the West. We have interjected ourselves to every facet of the globe, continually introducing technologies and economic patterns that many cultures cannot afford or scale, that is these countries end up in massive poverty (measured by Western standards), because they are trying to adapt a complete economic and technological system that they had no part in developing.


I don't think you have a clear understanding what it's like to live in extreme poverty. It's not just a different way of living. It's awful.

Children routinely die due to easily preventable diseases or starvation. Simple infections are life threatening for adults. Hunger is constant. Exposure to extreme elements is common. Life expectancies are short. Individuals lack meaningful control over their own lives and have little or no ability to improve their situation in the world.


I have been on nearly every end of the economical scale, especially the lower end. I know what it can be like to have suffered, but one solution to a problem does not mean it is the best solution


At no point in this thread have I said it was the best possible solution.


Ethically and pragmatically, that is a fantastic idea. Maybe countries should all be walled up. Google should work only in the US and there should not be any exports or imports.

Of course, colonialism did not bring any advantages to the West or cause bad things in Asia or Africa.


It's not a matter of having more or less foreign intercourse. It's what is the guiding policy behind those policy decisions? In a democracy, the guiding policy typically should be "this policy will make the majority of Americans better off," not "this policy is dictated by economic theory," or "this policy is the right/compassionate thing to do."


The thing is if what is good for people in the short term is not what is good for people in the long term, politicians will do the former.

In a democracy, the guiding policy should be "this policy will make the majority of Americans better off in the long term"


You're both right. Long-term benefit certainly should be the guiding policy, but as Keynes observed 'in the long run we are all dead.' Because many people are selfish and because political systems are relatively easy to game, short-term self-serving strategies often prevail.

It's the same thing in dictatorships. Many dictators could use their highly concentrated authority to undertake large projects that would benefit their population significantly and leave a great legacy. But most of them don't because it's easier and more predictable to just maintain an iron grip on power and enjoy a life of luxury while suppressing any opposition.

Strategically, many people prefer to be a big fish in a small pond than the reverse.


So you were lucky (to be smart enough) to out-compete your peers and a bunch of Americans. By definition not everyone can achieve this success (as it's based on competition), so it does nothing to alleviate inequality on a scale that matters.


At what point do we reward human accomplishment instead of throwing it all away to "luck"? I hear this all too often nowadays that any kind of success can always be attributed to luck and therefor you have a moral obligation to those less "lucky" than you.

Don't get me wrong - I agree with the moral obligation to help those less lucky than you. I don't always agree with the looseness in which the word "luck" is applied these days. The problem is if you look at basically anyone's life, there's always SOMETHING you can point to that was "lucky" compared to their peer(s). Yes, some more than others. But perhaps we can begin to give people the benefit of the doubt when they say they learned a difficult craft, and a new language, to lift themselves out of a shitty situation. It discounts his hard work to say it all came down to lucky brain genetics.


> It discounts his hard work to say it all came down to lucky brain genetics.

How many people work hard their entire life only to not be rewarded? It's not like everyone who doesn't see success is lazy or doesn't work hard. Labourers work hard, tradesmen work hard, and yes, programmers work hard too.

I live in Alberta right now, which is in the midst of an economic recession/depression. In my city unemployment is at 10%, despite being probably the youngest, most educated city in the country. All of my peers have degrees (or better), and most don't have jobs in their fields. All have worked hard, all still work hard, most are underemployed.

> At what point do we reward human accomplishment instead of throwing it all away to "luck"? I hear this all too often nowadays that any kind of success can always be attributed to luck and therefor you have a moral obligation to those less "lucky" than you.

I personally hate the idea of a moral obligation to do anything. Shaming people into certain behaviours is shitty.

But we do live in a society amongst other people. Poverty begets crime and social unrest, and it's not in anyone's interest for this to happen. So we attempt to construct the best society we can for all our benefit. Having a highly-stratified society, even if we feel it's 'fair', isn't a good thing.


> In my city unemployment is at 10%

We can play that game.

In my country youth unemployment rate (those under 30) is 13.7%. That ignores everyone who is studying until 27 because "they're not in the labor force".

Overall unemployment rate is 9.8%. Again, discounting everyone who is "not in the labor force".

As far as I know, we've been in an economic recession for the past 10 years or so. Before that we were in a "Yeah we're growing but socialism fucked us" stage for some 15 years.

> Poverty begets crime and social unrest

We're one of the safest countries in Europe. I don't know why Americans love to lump crime together with poverty, but that's not how it works in Europe from what I can tell. Or at least in my part of Europe.

Social unrest, yes there's some of that. Demonstrations happen once in a while. Just like they do in the US all the time. That's just part of democracy.


Going from ~3% unemployment to ~10% overnight has caused a very noticeable change in the city. Yes, there are countries where this is the norm, just like it will probably be the norm here for the foreseeable future.

The point isn't that where I live is awful (it's really not), but that education and hard work doesn't guarantee success when there are macroeconomic forces working against you.

> We're one of the safest countries in Europe. I don't know why Americans love to lump crime together with poverty, but that's not how it works in Europe from what I can tell. Or at least in my part of Europe.

I'm willing to bet your country has a decent safety net, and that there's less 'poverty' than the US, even if your unemployment is higher.


I'm also European. Which group has it worst in your country, and why?


Good question!

Overall the Roma population probably has it worst. Followed closely by the immigrants.

I'm not a good judge of Why because I don't have good insight. The Roma seem to have your usual problems of being below the poverty line, a culture that heavily discourages improving your lot in life, and a strong culture of expecting govenment handouts. If you asked a Roma I'm sure their explanation would be different, this is what it looks like from the outside.

The immigrants, well, they're immigrants. New culture new life new jobs low prospects due to social standing and so on. Immigrants always seem to struggle.


That's fine, it was the shallow reaction I was after. I've had the benefits of being in the US >20 years to observe things from multiple perspectives.

Basically what inhibits a person from Atlanta is not their legal or technical disadvantages, but those perceptual ones - large parts of society, and often police in particular, holding prior assumptions of criminal disposition and unwillingness to better themselves.

I'm Irish and we have very few Roma people but we have a similar and related ethnosocial subgroup. Imagine how difficult it would be for a 'gypsy' person to attain significant political power in our home countries, and how even if elected/appointed to a position of responsibility everything they did would be undermined by attacks on their heritage, regardless of their legal or intellectual eligibility for the role.

I noticed very soon after arrival in the US that I was assumed to have much greater potential than members of disfavored ethnosocial minorities. I say ethnosocial because I'm thinking of a former roommate from Mauritius who felt that his French accent and foreign origin gave him substantial social advantages vs American blacks whose negative qualifiers were already assumed.


> It's not like everyone who doesn't see success is lazy or doesn't work hard.

Well, I never said that did I? In fact that's kind of the point of my original post. Don't discount everyone who's had success as having had it due to luck. And don't discount everyone who's had failure as having had it due to lack of luck.

> I personally hate the idea of a moral obligation to do anything. Shaming people into certain behaviours is shitty.

I agree. I should clarify that when I say "moral obligation" what I mean to say is "my own, personal, moral obligation". What you do with your life, and what conclusions you draw based on your experiences, are your own. Just don't hurt people.

> Having a highly-stratified society, even if we feel it's 'fair', isn't a good thing.

Fair point to which I don't disagree. Life is inherently not fair, nor is it kind and forgiving. To your point, that doesn't mean we should give up our ideals of peace and happiness for everyone. My only concern is that we don't write off our fellow man as having achieved all of their success because they were born in the right place, time, skin color, gender, genetics, etc. In my opinion that's a way of looking at life that is detrimental. Instead, accept that luck plays a significant role in all aspects of life, but with hard work you can change your life.


At what point do we reward human accomplishment

At the point where you start finding lots of nice houses and comfortable-looking cars. Lot so fo people already enjoy substantial rewards for accomplishment. That's great. The problem is that sometimes all the benefits are ascribed to accomplishment and luck is completely discounted.

Look, you've played Monopoly, right? You take a bunch of players of about equal skill level, put them into a game, and who is doing well after 10 rounds of the board is a matter of both skill and luck. Eventually one player will end up with all the money and the others will go bankrupt, because that's the outcome the game is structured to produce.

Now, Monopoly is just a game and so players could in a tournament play multiple games to minimize the luck factor and figure out which players have the greatest skill. But in the real world you don't get to try out a different life strategy every year and then reset on January 1 for a fresh round. If you start out with poor luck, then your disadvantages can accumulate just as your advantages can.

Further, people don't all start out with the same beginning conditions as they do in a game of Monopoly. Nobody wants to come in and join a game of Monopoly already in progress because many of the strategic options have already become unavailable. Likewise it would be a less fun game to play if initial cash allocations were random and some players started out with much more or less than others.


Why do we need to reward people just for being the winners of the cosmic lottery? If you outperform what would be expected given your parental income, early education, intellect, and various other factors that are the result of mere chance, then maybe you should get a cookie. Otherwise, why celebrate the predictable outputs of predictable inputs?


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In modern American society birth rate is negatively correlated with household income[1]. By your standards we should be taking away money from those with desirable traits to encourage them to have more kids.

1. https://www.statista.com/statistics/241530/birth-rate-by-fam...


To clarify, by 'options for sexual reproduction' I meant a better selection of mates, not the amount of children.


That's clearly not the reason, because birth rates go down with income: https://www.statista.com/statistics/241530/birth-rate-by-fam....


Jinx!


Not sure what you're responding to.

How are you arguing that people who are beautiful don't have more options for mate selection, or that intelligent people aren't more likely to accumulate wealth?

I understand the difference between r vs K selection, but that seems like a non sequitur in response to my previous post.


Birth rates go down with income. You don't have to reason you way to that from first principles, because it's an empirically observable fact.


Right... I'm not disputing that. But it does not relate to my point.


I think it refutes your point. You claimed that the ability to accumulate wealth is rewarded because those people have the best chance of improving the fitness of the species. But those people are the least likely to do anything to perpetuate the species.


I see now. I suppose fitness is an overloaded term, but in terms of survival of a species, I think it'd be difficult to argue that an r-selected reproduction strategy is better than a K-selected reproduction strategy in terms of improving fitness.

That'd be like saying antelope are more adapted to their environment than lions.

In human terms, I'd argue that K-selected children are much more likely to make the types of breakthroughs that will advance the human species e.g. curing disease, scientific discovery, space travel, etc.


> So you were lucky (to be smart enough)

Sure didn't feel lucky when I was a troubled youth who failed most of his classes in high school and floundered around in college, ultimately not graduating.

I guess one thing I did have that my American peers do not, is access to high quality free education and a cultural expectation that it's okay to be a student into your late 20s. I really lucked out on that one. That is true.


For the record, I have no doubt you worked very hard and that you deserve all the success you have.

I was only stating that it's impossible for all 7 billion people in the world to do what you did. The 'system' has its limits.

There's a reason why in statistics you throw away outliers...


> There's a reason why in statistics you throw away outliers...

That's the thing. I'm not an outlier. It could be an effect of my social circle back home, but basically everyone has either moved out of the country, freelances for foreign companies, or works for foreign markets by proxy through a faux local startup/company whose investors and customers are abroad.

It's very much a "The whole generation is doing it because it's the only thing you can do"


You're not an outlier amongst your group of friends and acquaintances, but I'm willing to bet than even your circle, all combined, aren't statistically important.


I spent quite some time in my younger years thinking about the logic you've presented here. But the fallacy is presenting that intelligence is wholly dependent on luck. Sure, luck is a factor, but the winners are never going to accept the argument that they won by luck. Further, they are correct. In the general case, life's result depends on decisions. No matter where you start, you have decisions to make. Those decisions decide your outcome. Decisions are a function of ideas, action, and luck. Outcome = Decisions(ideas, action, luck). If you try to ignore the ideas and action inputs, no winners will ever accept your argument.


Disagree. There certainly are large genetic and huge environmental factors in raw intelligence, and then a whole raft of environmental and cultural factors in how a person with that intelligence is able to use it. I'm a privileged, intelligent, educated white guy but I have an intellectual appreciation for what it must be like to be born to a poor minority family in a poor area. You will point to some example of some guy who made it out of the third world or the ghetto, but the reason that dude is a story is because he's an extreme outlier. Empathy man.


I think this kind of speaks to the point made in this thread. Human progress is not a zero sum game. People constantly make it seem like you need to be "lucky" or just overall somehow smarter than other people to be able to make a proper living. But if we give everyone opportunity, in the forms of a reasonable standard of living and access to information, that doesn't have to displace others. There are so many directions for us to continue improving that grow the pie for everyone, and the more people we can set out in those directions, the more opportunities we can provide to more people to exponentially improve the standard of living for everyone. Globalism has already been doing this at the macro level: https://ourworldindata.org/a-history-of-global-living-condit...


But every culture lives differently, some people see the world that isn't represented in Western society or technologies. Just by introducing our technologies and economy, we bend these people towards our ideals and history, we erase whole languages and people, leaving a shell of economic contributors. These nations may be able to contribute from time to time, but with new immigration policies forming, we will suck up the best and brightest, leaving societies totally reliant on the Western powers for technology and economy.


I agree in a sense, but if this way of living is so attractive to the best and brightest that it takes them away from their own languages, cultures, home lands, families, etc. who can really say what is best for those people on an individual level. Are we supposed to keep these countries in the dark, and hide this way of living to essentially trick their top people into staying in the old ways for the sake of preserving the past? One solution that can help everybody is to remove some of the competitive nature and make sure that this system can actually support all the people involved in the spreading global system rather than funneling all the benefits to the best and brightest, another is to make it possible to participate in the global economy while preserving more of the old cultures, but at the end of the day the only constant is change, and these other cultures will continue evolve one way or another.


This is one thing that I don't like about HN. When a person from a different background shares his/her differing opinions on a certain issue, there are people who downvotes it for whatever reasons that they might have. Is it uncivil or unsubstantial to offer differing perspective?

I really think the moderators should add "Downvoting are not meant for expressing disagreement." in the HN guidelines.


I'm against increased globalization because it erodes national sovereignty and undermines republican governments.


Precisely why I'm for it. I'm not in favor of replacing national with corporate sovereignty, though, or rather I'm in favor of putting limits on concentrations of sovereignty. Nationalism is a Bad Thing in my view.


> Nationalism is a Bad Thing in my view.

First of all, nationalism is not national sovereignty.

The former is a social construct which an individual embraces while the latter is a principal of law which a group embraces.

The former is hardly useful, but the latter is vital to all existing nations. No nation is going to willingly give up its right to self governance.

> I'm in favor of putting limits on concentrations of sovereignty.

So, essentially, you wish to live in a world without borders where one or more unions govern many places regardless of geographical separation?

Because that worked out so well in the past...


Essentially, yes I do and I'm fully aware of the operational and philosophical difficulties of such an undertaking. I have ideas about how to implement a distributed governance approach without falling back into patterns of autocratic central control, but am still working on how to make those robust against attempts at hijacking and so forth.


Reducing globalization reduces the size of the pie. The issue seems to be that we are distributing the pie too unevenly. Maybe we can fix that without shrinking the pie? It's true to many the economy feels like a zero sum have and that's how we get protectionism and xenophobia. Can we make everyone feel like they were benefiting from the pie growing without destroying the pie?


The problem is that to redistribute the pie, you need a strong state that is able to fairly tax the rich. Right now it is trivial for the rich to avoid taxation by shifting their liquid wealth from place to place, and putting states in a race to the bottom on taxes for their more productive assets. That's why in order to build a factory, localities fall over one another to offer the most tax credits, and the owner ends up with zero taxes for a decade.

Ironically, the cure to one of globalization's ills is a strong centralized world government. Good luck ever getting that taken seriously though.

Europe's experience during the crisis shows that economic integration (mobility of capital, labor, and goods) without political integration is a recipe for disaster. Guess what? That describes the current world economy very well.


> global average wage is $2k ... not per month. Per year

How much was it before Globalization ?


I think the point is, who cares? Globalization is trying to reach an equilibrium where our first world workers and those third world workers will earn the same wage. That's a terrifying proposition to anyone in the bottom three quarters of the US economy.


Why are you trying to create a false dichotomy?


It's a fair question. In China most people were peasant farmers with no opportunities. Now if we had fair trade between the countries, that might be better...


No, it's a loaded question. But if you want to play, let us discuss the health of Chinese peasant farmers before and after globalization as well.


Good news is that outside of countries like USA and UK, there is a lot of improvement. Global average income is rising, more people are going to schools, and people are being connected to the internet. I wouldn't be surprised if there will be a huge rise in the amount of African software developers. They could compete with USA software companies in the global internet industry.


That's not good news for anyone in the USA or UK.


If your plan for ensuring the continued wealth and competitiveness of your country and population relies on other countries not to develop, than possibly it's not a great plan.


My plan relies on politicians in the USA/UK considering the wellbeing of the workers in their country a priority over the wellbeing of workers in other countries and a priority over a small group of elite capital-holders. It's failing because they don't but that's a pretty sad statement about where we find ourselves politically.


Not to mention a new population of knowledge workers will produce their own demand, so it's not a zero sum game by any means.


More people that are educated buying more products for their bigger homes use more gasoline for their bigger cars going to bigger parties doing more things advertised to them. It's all set up to thrive from these destructive economics and we're exporting it one by one to nations around the globe.


Talking about average is again big problem. Because by average measure US GDP is growing, education/healthcare infrastructure is getting better. But the benefits of it are only accruing to top 10% or so.

I see in India income gains are only for top 5-10% of population but those beneficiaries have caused heavy air pollution, traffic woes with their cars, ACs etc. Excessive water shortages and increasing travel times and so on which has caused much more suffering to poor in comparison to benefits which were hogged by IT/ITES and other few sectors.


There are two options: protectionism or implement policies to help/retrain everyone to give them a decent living. I'm not sure which you'd support, but I'd argue US Democrats, at a national level, have been pursing policies to help and retrain those workers.

* American Jobs Act (2011) a 5.6-percent tax on all income over $1 million to pay for new “stimulus” spending by the government. failed 50-49

* Buffett Rule (2012) levy a minimum 30% tax on wealthier Americans. 45 Republicans voted not to end debate preventing it from being voted on.

* Card Check (2009) would have made it easier for labor unions to organize and stay in power by making union elections by secret ballot obsolete. Instead, employers would be forced to recognize a union once organizers collected a majority of employee signatures. Scrapped by Democrats after the Republican minority threatened to filibuster.

* Emergency Senior Citizens Relief Act (2010) older Americans would have collected an extra $250 in tax credits under the cost of living adjustment in Social Security, or COLA. Failed 53-45.

* Minimum Wage (2014) federal minimum wage of $10.10. Democratic proposal filibustered by Republicans.

* The “Public Option” (2009) Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., joined Republicans threatening to filibuster the health care bill.

* Prolonging Bush Tax Cuts (2010) Senate Democrats tried twice to extend George W. Bush’s tax cuts only to middle-class Americans. Higher tax brackets would have returned to Clinton-era rates under their plan. Republican filibusters anything short of across-the-board cuts.

(adapted from https://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/636t5o/mitch_mcco... because I dog-eared the post)

To your Bay area worker, local politics vary greatly. Maybe the rhetoric and campaigning of the national party has pandered too much to this Bay area worker, but proposed policies aren't ignoring the rest of America. Maybe it's done because of fund raising?


> If you can't give people a decent living first, they will revolt

Nobody is supposed to "give them" anything. They are supposed to be responsible adults, and as such they are supposed to earn their living themselves.

If for some reason they can not be satisfied with what they earn, and if they react by "revolting", that is with violence, then unfortunately the only sensible thing to do is to defend the rest of society against them. Poverty is not an excuse for crime, is it?


> Nobody is supposed to "give them" anything. They are supposed to be responsible adults, and as such they are supposed to earn their living themselves.

The point is that the system shifted to "give" some people more, and "give" others less. The winners in these cases were, by and large, already better off than the losers, with the result that political power also shifted (further) in the winners' favor (this is all covered in the linked paper).

The economic system we collectively create absolutely "gives" and "takes" from different groups, all the time. The notion that it's fine for one group to shift the rules to help themselves and harm others, but it's not fine for the harmed to try to retaliate (even via a voting-driven "revolt") is silly.

Letting this go on will, right or wrong, definitely create more crime and, taken far enough and especially coupled by political power shifting toward economic beneficiaries, reliably create political violence (see: relative deprivation). You can be personally offended over how these people aren't "responsible adults" and take an expensive, weakly effective law-and-order approach, or you can try to do effective (even just from a not-unreasonable point of view!) things like redistribute part of the gains that some people receive from changing economic policy to those who are harmed by the same policy, through direct transfers or e.g. retraining programs, even if it offends your derived-from-first-principles sense of right and wrong that labels this as theft or something.

Of course, if (taking a shot in the dark here) your view is that most of what's complex about economic policy (as e.g. the topics essential to the analysis in the linked paper) is accidental ("artificial", perhaps?) rather than essential ("natural"...) this will all come off as nonsense, I suppose.

> If for some reason they can not be satisfied with what they earn, and if they react by "revolting", that is with violence, then unfortunately the only sensible thing to do is to defend the rest of society against them. Poverty is not an excuse for crime, is it?

So no. That's not remotely the only sensible thing to do.

[EDIT] punctuation


> The economic system we collectively create absolutely "gives" and "takes" from different groups, all the time. The notion that it's fine for one group to shift the rules to help themselves and harm others, but it's not fine for the harmed to try to retaliate (even via a voting-driven "revolt") is silly.

That's a very "class conflict" approach in the Marxist sense. It's not clear this was what was argued in the post I was answering to.

In any case, that analysis is obviously highly political, and the least that can be said is that not everybody agrees with it.


> That's a very "class conflict" approach in the Marxist sense. It's not clear this was what was argued in the post I was answering to.

The topic under discussion is the changing of economic rules to benefit some at the expense of others. It's the heart of the linked paper (TFA), and may be assumed as context for a root-level comment's assertions.

> In any case, that analysis is obviously highly political, and the least that can be said is that not everybody agrees with it.

That certain economic rules benefit some and harm others seems pretty uncontroversial. That those who are harmed by changes to said rules should quit expecting to be "given" things and just work harder seems like an obvious double-standard. That coupling of economic power to political power makes ethical reasoning on this topic in particular a bit muddy also seems uncontroversial.


No more than easy contempt is an excuse for refusing honest and charitable engagement.

The argument isn't that the world, or the government, owes working-class people a living. The argument is that a government whose policies increasingly preclude the working class even a fair shot at earning a living is a government which fails its responsibility to those whom it rules - and, moreover, sows the seeds of its own downfall in so doing, which latter contention I should think no one with even a cursory grasp of history can find controversial.


"Globalism produces beautiful iPads."

That should read something more like "Our implementation of globalism, heavily curated to favor elite special interests, produces beautiful iPads."

There's nothing inherent to globalism that requires it produce beautiful iPads.

Beautiful iPads are more the result of purposefully crafted laws and policies, at the behest of special interests, for the purpose of growing their pile of coconuts faster than the rest of us can.


Such as?


Which laws and policies? Assuming that's what you mean, it basically starts, in America, with the Constitution, which originally only allowed white male landowners a vote.

Humans got together in a room and decided, based upon their knowledge and experience and opinions, who should be allowed to vote and who shouldn't. The Senate is basically doing that right now with healthcare; deciding in private who should have a say in what healthcare looks like. There's no subterfuge to any of it. It's all right there in our faces.

Read the letters and writings of the Founder Fathers. James Madison in particular made it clear he felt that the new government should protect the rich from the poor.

It leads directly into what we're seeing today. The poor shouldn't have healthcare or a living wage if the rich have to pay for it.

Humans with certain ideas placed in their minds go into a room and craft policy with those ideas in mind.


Racism and poverty are related.


Agreed. If we address poverty it will remove most racism. Most racism is classism in disguise. Heck, most people confuse the two when they are being discussed.

//edited to remove an extra 'in'.


Asian Americans have a higher per capita income than whites. Does that mean Asians are no longer discriminated against?


Probably all the more reasons to get discriminated. Racisms comes as different forms some are due to insecurity and some are due to false beliefs.


It means Asian Americans aren't being discriminated against in social and professional circles with comparable income levels.


Is this under the assumption that whites aren't discriminated against? Because ooooooweeee is that a invalid assumption. Especially in this day and age. I feel as if I'm not allowed to talk anymore because my white male view is suppressing the minorities. And I'm not joking or being snarky, I've been made to feel this way through several racist (towards white people GASP!) remarks.


I feel as if I'm not allowed to talk anymore

I understand that. But have you considered the possibility that people in other categories have felt that way the whole time, and have only recently reached a level of confidence and/or frustration that they're willing to be openly dismissive of your viewpoint? Put another way, this not-so-great but relatively new reality for you has been the norm for many other groups of people and they're sick of it and have stopped playing along with it. That's not your fault, and indeed it is frustrating to be treated as a category member instead of an individual, but the discrimination those people previously experienced wasn't their fault either.


'Remarks' is not the same as 'discrimination', just saying.


The key word to note in the comment above is MOST. Finding a counter example doesn't invalidate the point


Yes, and you can fix it by fixing poverty. Not by calling poor people racists.


Poor people aren't racist (well, some are, racism knows no class boundaries), but many minorities are in poverty due to racist policies (or their families were pushed into poverty by said policies and the poverty cycle is incredibly hard to break out of, even if the policies have been largely removed or mitigated).


So fix it then. There's this cycle in American politics of simply regurgitating talking points and not fixing problems. And yes, minorities in the US often live in poor neighbourhoods. But there's also a large, poor white working class too.

Keep in mind that under Obama, the relative wealth (percent share of aggregate wealth) of minorities and the white working class actually decreased.

While I have no doubt racist policies have contributed to the misfortune of some, when you look at wealth distribution in the US the problem is far bigger than most people think, and spans all races.


Ultimately the question is whether US politics can break out of their current tribalism. Agreed that it is not fair to throw around the racism word casually, but it is absolutely worth noting that both parties in the United States have used tribal type tactics (including racial-based appeals) to obtain votes from various groups.

Regarding poverty, the GOP is currently (roughly speaking) an alliance between working class whites and business interests. Economically, the business interest side heavily dominates GOP policy at the moment. As far as poverty reduction goes, if you believe in either government oriented safety net solutions or other collective type structures (eg unions), this current political relationship sticks out like a sore thumb as being very counterproductive towards poverty reduction. Unfortunately, it appears that tribalism triumphs economic policy as a motivating factor at the moment.

I will say an additional thought: With the recent vote in France, I am wondering if the situation is somewhat more dynamic and fluid than this paper lets on. The Netherlands and France were only mentioned in passing, but it seems like the recent result in France actually produced an "anti-establishment" movement that also happened to be "pro-globalization" and "liberal" (in the classic economic sense). This sort of "populism" doesn't seem to be reflected in the paper.


Your parenthetical actually supports the point you're debating against: if the racist policies have been fixed and what's lingering is the effects of poverty caused by historic racism, wouldn't the solution be to address the poverty?


How would you characterize the response to such proposals?


Sure, care to elaborate or were you just doing a drive-by?


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Please don't post political flamebait here.


Sorry Dang.


Sorry for the snark but this observation is obvious. 'Look at all these poor/fed-up/frustrated/mis-trained' people that are left out by globalization and capitalism' Or 'look at rising inequality' blah blah.

What is the solution ?


I'm not making the point that the climate isn't worth saving, racism doesn't need solving if we can't fix poverty and "underemployment". I'm saying that we won't succeed unless we fix that ... first.

Look, it's a chicken and egg thing. Poverty and lack of opportunity is often the consequence of racism and indifference to environmental factors. Build a factory, make money, contaminate the hell out of the area around the factory, move onto some other opportunity, let the factory close, and guess what's left behind? Unemployment, kids growing up in polluted in environments who then perform less well in education and employment and are either a) blamed for some lack of moral fiber or b) told they need to accept inferior conditions as a precursor to economic growth.

Look, some problems in our world are natural and hard to overcome - volcanoes, earthquakes, diseases wwe don't understand, rocks that fall from the sky, bizarre and unpredictable weather events etc. etc.. But in the developed world we have got pretty good at measuring and mitigating such problems, overcoming basic existential insecurities, and turning our productive abilities to fun and exciting things like exploring space, creating immersive art, and so on - we know many ways to have Nice Things.

A great many of the problems int he world are not the result of natural constraints or insults, but arise out of the prior economic and strategic choices we've made.

The fault of globalism is not its aspirations to make the world a better place, which after all would directly improve living conditions for poor people by reducing the environmental and social stressors which make life difficult. The faults are twofold: a small number of parasitic capitalists who manipulate economic and political markets to enrich themselves to an extreme and obscene* degree at the known expense of those the least well-off, and the lack of a clear philosophical project beyond 'go shopping, buy more stuff, um, that's it.'

* 'obscene' in the sense of a producer surplus that is so large it exceeds the capacity of the actor efficiently allocate it

The conditions for perfect competition do not obtain in many markets, but pretending that they do allows for the inefficient concentration of wealth and it is collectively irrational to ignore this. Instead of a dogmatic market fundamentalism we should pursue equitable efficiency, seeking to maximize return on investment consistently across a distributed network (rather than merely considering the aggregate) while remaining cognizant of the limits of our observational capability. Instead of an empty consumerism which spends significant resources on the manufacture of desire in order to sustain demand we should instead be focusing on the reduction of barriers to supply.

People in grinding poverty are not there because they were distracted by champagne-sipping elites into worrying more about the global carbon budget than their own economic agenda, they're in grinding poverty because capitalism (qua the individual accumulation of capital as an end in itself, and I include here social, political, and strategic military capital as well as mere cash) doesn't place a high value on their lives or life experiences and so does not allocate sufficient material resources to transform their situation.


The trouble with economic globalization is that we assumed that markets work and work well all over the world. That there would be an inevitable stable middle class built from the sheer power of market forces.

It turns out that those in power around the world have every incentive to keep the gains to themselves and keep their population desperate -- desperate people have to weigh their economic decisions against their physical well-being and continued existence and play the game not to gain power but not to lose everything. And our answer in the US seemed to be that the market is always right; if parity can't be achieved by lifting the poor around the world up to a near-US level of middle class, then it must be reached by pushing the middle class in the US down to desperation level and reducing our overhead to compete on a world stage where other leaders in power can more easily ignore the negative externalities that they push on their population.

It was, in a word, stupid.

It is too easy for the wealthy of the greater world to ignore the problems they create at home by being 'citizens of the world'.

I don't agree with Trump on much but I do agree that relying upon the market to fix all ills hasn't worked. We need to flex the economic muscle we have and tie trade to political reforms or find a way to bypass the powers that be and pull up the people directly. Otherwise, we are stuck in a race to the bottom.


> I don't agree with Trump on much but I do agree that relying upon the market to fix all ills hasn't worked. We need to flex the economic muscle we have and tie trade to political reforms or find a way to bypass the powers that be and pull up the people directly. Otherwise, we are stuck in a race to the bottom.

Yes, you have to have some common standards which undercut a race to the bottom, otherwise countries will compete by undermining each others protection and welfare systems.

But you're implying that Trump believes this? Trump has always struck me as a 'cut regulation at all costs' candidate. And the real deal which must make this work will have to be international - perhaps to build these common standards into the trade deals. But Trump again stands directly opposed to that, he wants a 'my country first, beggar thy neighbour' solution, which cannot be sustained.


Fair points. I don't know what Trump's actual policy is when it comes to trade deals I was making (bad) assumptions on the fact that he backed out of or signaled backing out of some trade deals that relied too much on market forces doing the reform work for us.


Trump (err well, The Whitehouse and his staff) don't have a policy on trade deals at the moment officially.

But the GOP do. Some notables include:

"International trade is crucial for our economy." [1]

"Negotiate reductions in tariffs on U.S. industrial goods and the elimination of other trade barriers so that our autos, heavy machinery, textiles, and other products will no longer be shut out of foreign markets." [2]

"Advance a Free Trade Area of the Americas to take advantage of burgeoning new markets at our doorstep." [3]

Interesting to see how GOP ideals are forced to evolve at the helm of a madman president because the quoted text above around a decade old.

[1] http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Republican_Party_Free_Trade... [2][3] Ibid.


Even if those entrenched in power are more benevolent in economy and access, they still control the game, forming an addicted consumer dedicated to spreading their decadent cause around the world. In a game now where the most vociferous and powerful voices do everything to increase tribute to faceless gods, tearing down any dissenting man in their wake, does anyone ever think of the end game beyond new "enlighten", well-fed consumers?


The discussion on 4-9 is worth looking at. Among policymakers on both sides of the aisle, there is this reflexive recitation that trade increases economic efficiency. While that's true, that assumes the purpose of national policy is to increase economic efficiency. To the contrary, the mandate of politicians in a Democracy is to improve the welfare of the majority of voters.

Likewise, the discussion on 13-15 is important. People don't like the idea of valued social progress being undermined by unfair competition. There is an intuitive appeal to the idea that workers in America or Germany shouldn't have to compete with workers in countries where child labor is accepted and environmental standards are non-existent.

People wonder why boring trade policy becomes such an emotional thing, and the article does a great job of explaining why. The reason is not just scapegoating, as apologists of globalism assume. Rather, there is a deep-seated belief that citizens of the world types simply don't share our most basic values: that the government exists not to advance ideals, but the welfare of the polity; that social advances that are widely celebrated in the western world are worth more than economic efficiency, etc.[1]

[1] There is a reason even Trump campaigned on cleaning up the air and water. Even Americans who think the EPA or OSHA or DOL are out of control wouldn't tolerate the labor and environmental standards that exist in Bangladesh or China.


> There is a reason even Trump campaigned on cleaning up the air and water. Even Americans who think the EPA or OSHA or DOL are out of control wouldn't tolerate the labor and environmental standards that exist in Bangladesh or China.

Trump says anything and everything, and his words effectively have no meaning at this point. To name one example out of thousands, Trump also campaigned on making more people insured, which is clearly not something he has any interest in actually doing.

Rather than looking at Trump for an example of the rightmost side of the "Overton window" (much as I dislike that term) on environment, I would look at politicians like Ted Cruz. Cruz has effectively never said anything about cleaning up the air or water. I think that doing absolutely nothing about the environment is much more popular of a position than you imply. Anti-environmentalism is even a religious concern for many Americans.


I'm not talking about the Overton window, but what sorts of policies you can get significant support for among actual Americans. There are certain issues like climate change that have become lightning rods, but there is broad consensus on other issues. For example, 52% of Republicans polled stated that the country "should do whatever it takes to protect the environment." Pew: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/20/for-earth-da... (down from ~67-70% in 2005). A majority even of republicans want stricter air quality standards for many pollutants: http://grist.org/climate-policy/2011-02-16-public-trusts-epa....


It's also important to consider that reducing or eliminating tariffs is effectively a tax cut for large corporations. Whether trade increases economic efficiency is kind of beside the point, even if we were to agree that economic efficiency is something that national policy ought to attempt to increase.

Eliminating income tax would probably increase economic efficiency as well, but we don't do it because the money to pay for government operation and services needs to come from somewhere.


Why on corporations? Most of the burden is passed on to consumers in the form of more expensive goods.


That's an argument you could make about any corporate tax. For certain products (undifferentiated commodities with low profit margin) it's probably true. For some products, it's really up to the individual corporation how they deal with cost increases.

When the costs of producing/selling some goods go down, I don't expect most corporations to immediately lower prices, I expect them to use lower costs to increase their profits if they can get away with it. I imagine it goes the other way sometimes as well, especially if customers expect to pay no more than a certain price.


You mean exporting the middle class and then undercutting upward mobility was doomed to face a political backlash? What a surprise.


Agree 100%

No matter how many ways to justify, the wealth and power enjoyed by a few are simply irrational.

Edit: the wording is difficult, but all replies below have the same idea. Or I should rephrase it to: the absurdity of the wealth and power enjoyed by people grows exponentially with their rank in the social ladder. The ideal probably should quadratically.


You do realize that while the 1% doesn't include all IT workers in the bay area, the 2% does (I believe 1.6% is 100k per year before tax).

It's easy to complain about the 1%, but most people on this site ... are the 1%. Median household income in the US is $55,775. That means, about half of all US households have less than that. [1]

By and large, it's not the wealth enjoyed by the few. It's the comfortable, but probably not excessive wealth enjoyed by millions.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United...


What? Where are you getting that 100k/year puts you in the top 1.6%?

The page you linked says 100k/year (household income) puts you in the top 25% in the United States.

Globally, 32k/year puts you in the top 1%. http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/050615...

Top 1% of the United States is a bit harder to find consistent numbers for, but it looks like around 450k/year individual or 1,200k/year household. http://www.investopedia.com/news/how-much-income-puts-you-to...

Even if you were saying a household of two 100k/year incomes, that only puts you in the top 5-6%.


Exactly. I think the 0.1% or 0.01% are the ones who truly warp our political/economic system but it is the top 10% or 20% who lock in that warped system by engaging in forms of political NIMBYism to prevent any real change. (see the Democratic party's relationship with progressives and their funders: https://theintercept.com/2016/10/11/warren-goldman-dccc/)


It's not even the "1%", it's the "1% of the 1%", Zuckerberg is great no doubt, but does he really deserve 2000X as much as a high level machine learning researcher?

The issue is that ~6-8 people in the world own the same amount of wealth as the bottom 40% of the world, that's not because of eight software engineers making $100K.


> The issue is that ~6-8 people in the world own the same amount of wealth as the bottom 40% of the world,

Broadly speaking, isn't this because the bottom 40% of the world don't have savings? The statistic seems misleading. You could have 1 dollar, and you'd have greater wealth than more or less everyone in the world with a mortgage.


A mortgage generally comes with a house (an illiquid asset).

If you have a buck you do have more wealth than pretty much anyone with student loans, though.


Oh yes, you're right, so not a mortgage, but someone renting, with no savings, and a credit card debt or as you say, a student loan.

That is a problem - for a lot of people, that will mean little to no leeway when things go wrong - but that's not the point that most people are making when they use that statistic.


Is the data for that sort of thing available anywhere? It would be good to visualize it.


Well he was the capitalist in the situation. He owns the company.


I often complain about the inequality and the privileged treatment of the 1%, all while being part of that 1% myself.

My political viewpoints do not align with my own short term interests, but I believe they do align with the long term interests of society and the interests of my children.


Huh? According to your link, $100k barely puts you in the top 25%.

Even $250k is only 97th percentile.


"We promised them the American Dream, and then we forced them to compete with people who live on $1/day in third world countries. Where did we go wrong!?"


It probably is a surprise if you put a lot of faith in Ricardian equivalence, the theory of comparative advantage and read and nod your head to this sort of thing:

http://www.economist.com/node/605144


The problem with Ricardian equivalence is that people should not be treated like bikes and bushels of wheat. Yes, let's optimize production of useful things. But the moment you commoditize people, and global trade becomes more about cheap labor than cheap goods, we get massive unfairness and exploitation. This is true for free-markets in general.

We have gotten lost about what it is we are actually optimizing for.


For those who don't want to click, here's the abstract:

> Populism may seem like it has come out of nowhere, but it has been on the rise for a while. I argue that economic history and economic theory both provide ample grounds for anticipating that advanced stages of economic globalization would produce a political backlash. While the backlash may have been predictable, the specific form it took was less so. I distinguish between left-wing and right-wing variants of populism, which differ with respect to the societal cleavages that populist politicians highlight. The first has been predominant in Latin America, and the second in Europe. I argue that these different reactions are related to the relative salience of different types of globalization shocks.


Not sure why quote works like this, but it's very difficult to read on a phone.


This being Hacker News, the indented block quote is styled appropriately for code, which you want presented in a monospaced font without extra word wrapping. Quotes of prose are better off set in italics instead.


HN works like this, and it is a terrible misuse of UI


> Populism may seem like it has come out of nowhere...

Only if you haven't been paying attention or are living in a bubble...


It wasn't only predictable, but, in the US, its not even new; it's been a significant, powerful feature of the political landscape and since almost precisely the time the Democratic Party leadership was conquered by the neoliberal/DLC Third Way movement led by Bill Clinton. (Remember H. Ross Perot and the campaign that launched the party under whose banner Donald J. Trump would launch his first Presidential run in 2000?)

It's had limited policy impact because the electoral system limits the scope of viable alternatives and both major parties have leveraged other divisive issues to keep the wide opposition to neoliberal policies from being electorally decisive.

The only real question given the durable and strong opposition in the electorate (cutting across the usual left/right divide) to neoliberal globalization, was which major party would, rather than diverting from that, harness the opposition by nominaing a candidate willing to at least rhetorically reject the neoliberal globalist elite consensus first.


Bernie vs Trump would've been great.


And Bernie would have won. But the Dems shot themselves in the foot by basically ignoring Bernie's voters, and continuing with the status quo. The reason Trump won is because whether or not anyone actually believed he could fix their problems, he was the only candidate left who acknowledged the existence of their problems.


I don't like the use of the word "predictable".

I would qualify this populist uprising as a Black Swan[0], and as Taleb describes in his book, one of the common reactions to a black swan is to rationalize it's obvious predictability after the fact.

Were there logical reasons to believe this populist uprising would occur? Of course (and this paper does a good job exploring them). Was it predictable? I don't know. By and large most of us did not predict it, so I'm not so sure. Only with hindsight is this outcome "obviously" predictable.

0: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_swan_theory


I would argue quite the opposite. It's not a Black Swan at all. It's an entirely predictable outcome that is caused by the incentives of large groups of people.

E.g. when people say "software is eating the world", that really means software engineers, like most people reading this site, are taking away the means of existence of hundreds millions of people. In the US, but much more so outside of the US.

Can you really call it a black swan when

1) you see it coming

2) it is perfectly clear what can be done (e.g. killing globalization and stopping people movement around the globe, as is being advocated, yes it's racist, yes it's going to kill GDP and in that sense "make us all worse off", but it's hard to deny that it will help. Not in the way we want it, it'll kill our access to ipads, and force inferior alternatives in many ways. But it will help)

3) you will not cooperate with preventing the black swan, even yourself, because of incentives (you would lose your job)

4) ...

This "populist uprising" is a feedback loop that's just barely getting started. It is currently absolutely not worth the word "uprising". A few republicans got elected. Sorry to point this out but that won't be the end of it. It hasn't even begun.

We'll need to be very lucky to avoid another war.


You have made very relevant arguments. I have same opinion about happening in my country (India) where middle class by media is defined as top 5-8% of population. Anyone lower survive on most basic food and housing. But with onslaught on low end tech jobs even the sector which mostly benefited from globalization is going to get crushed there. We are indeed heading toward turbulent times in most of the world.


> By and large most of us did not predict it, so I'm not so sure.

Please, economists have been predicting this for awhile. Read someone like Piketty, he presents a plethora of evidence that inequality is reaching the levels of the gilded age, and that era wasn't exactly devoid of strife, political change, wars, etc...

The only people who are surprised are those who are too distracted by their own insular worlds to see what's happening around them.


Taleb addresses this too. Of course somebody DID predict it. I don't know if that means the event is, in general, "predictable." If you put 1 million people in a room and told them to randomly guess what events would occur next, someone would predict correctly. The question is, should WE (as a society) have predicted this? Did reasonable application of our knowledge permit us to know this? I don't know the answer to that question.


> The question is, should WE (as a society) have predicted this? Did reasonable application of our knowledge permit us to know this? I don't know the answer to that question.

Not everyone is an expert in all fields. This is the domain of economists, sociologists and political scientists. Certainly many of them did predict this, there's a ton of data to support their theories and predictions.

The problem is that if you're one of the people who are comfortable with the status quo, you're not going to be paying attention to these things, much like a labourer in the south likely doesn't care about the stock market or happenings in the venture capital markets in the Bay Area.

The truth is that it's the media and political class who let us all down, by ignoring the experts and working class.


> The truth is that it's the media and political class who let us all down, by ignoring the experts and working class.

I'd say they listened to experts who are ideologically like them e.g ivy league elites, the ones mostly benefitted by globalization.


The whole idea of a "black swan" is bullshit in my opinion. In his book, nearly all events were predictable if the right people were consulted, research was done, or if people even looked at data.

The problem, is the mainstream media, and even educated researchers miss the mark regularly. To me it appears most poeple assume they know better or listening to the wrong experts.

That's actually the whole reason I created my startup:

https://projectpiglet.com/

We basically filter out the noise, and listen to experts. It works amazingly well for investing, but also predicts things like Trump winning the election. It even creates an awesome (highly relevant) news feed.

I think most people just live in their bubbles and close their senses to what's right in front of them.


Sentiment analysis based on media is going to make you even more vulnerable to black swans. Black swans come from our collective blind spot -- if the media is reporting it (with a correct sentiment), it's by definition not on our blind spot.


Who said we were doing sentiment analysis on the media?

That's decidedly not what we're doing ;)


I agree that we should doubt that the populism was predictable. Ex-post many people claim things could have been predictable but I would argue against this political movement as a Black Swan. The main point in Taleb's book is that Black Swans are /critically/ a result of inductive reasoning. Black Swans events are called such because black swans used to be a mythic creature that people would refer to because they had never been seen.


Yeah, great point about the inductive reasoning. I haven't thought about that aspect too much, although I guess I would call this line of reasoning inductive:

"this globalization sure is impacting people's livelihoods, and causing major economic shifts. Maybe we should slow down."

"it will definitely raise GDP. Rising GDP has always led to rising standard of living. We'll be fine."


The incompleteness of inductive reasoning is exemplified with The Turkey Problem: All year, day after day, the farmer feeds the turkey. The turkey concludes that the farmer is benign. The day before Thanksgiving, the farmer kills the turkey.

The event that the turkey cares the most about, his death, is not in the set of evidence that he uses to make his conclusions about the state of the system. Therefore he is unprepared to handle the outcomes of the system he lives in.

The political establishment had the ability to sense the effect of policy. They chose to be ignorant to it or not address it. This is not an example of Turkey Problem or Black Swan, it's more of a Ostrich Problem.


It's a black swan if you take a 50% gray and round it up.


> Were there logical reasons to believe this populist uprising would occur? Of course (and this paper does a good job exploring them). Was it predictable?

Contradicting statements. Believe means somewhat possible. If you assign someone possibility then it's predicted.


To clarify, by "predict" I mean "to be reasonably sure of the outcome before it happens". I can assign logical reasons for Uber to declare bankruptcy tomorrow, but I would definitely not predict it.


Agreed.

The only things that could have been predicted are that globalization would have repercussions and that the losers in globalization would have interest in disrupting the winners. The same could be said of the next 20 years.


Agreed. It's predictable in the same way that the security services knew about 9-11 in advance. Yes, they had tip-offs, but they also had tip-offs about many other attacks that never happened.


1. Labor has no pricing power.

2. All the spigots for cheap labor & goods have been on full blast with no real sign of slowing - at all.

3. We can't have a mature conversation in this country about adjusting the pace of change in society. It's basically whatever capital wants, capital gets.

4. Since productivity gains were decoupled from labor's wage increases in the late 1970's, the notion of "getting ahead" by working & providing labor is ultimately an exercise in irony.

5. Ameliorating these concerns by replacing them with race antagonism is deeply stupid.

6. Fundamentalism of all religious stripes is a conservative reaction against encroaching modernity, globalization & cosmopolitanism - which upsets local power hierarchies & is a threat to the status quo.

7. We need labor power with continued, but this time measured international engagement. Isolationism won't work and is an over-reaction.


The biggest problem with Globalisation is that it doesn't contribute to global economic development. It merely outsources manual labour and less profitable/desirable work from rich countries to less-developed countries because of the price difference in labour.

Growing up I always imagined a world where the big cities of Africa could be just as developed as those in Europe, Asia or America. Instead we've been given a new form of colonialism where developed countries take the best minds from the developing world, and outsource all the work we don't want to poor countries.

This of course hurts our working class, as well as contributing nothing to the actual development of poor countries. So it's really no surprise that our working class is rebelling, as well as creating unrest in the developing world.


You sure that globalism has contributed nothing to the development of poor countries?

The number of people in poverty has decreased drastically over the past half century. Do you have any other candidates other than trade liberalization?

https://ourworldindata.org/extreme-poverty/


That's a terrible definition of extreme poverty. Also, inequality matters. It's nice that the crumbs poor people receive are getting bigger, but things like social unrest, wars, revolutions, crime, famine are due to inequality and unequal distribution of resources. Being poor isn't a problem by itself, it's the other things that come with it which are a problem.

Having cell phones and making more than $1.90 per day didn't prevent the revolutions in Libya and Syria, and subsequent deaths/displacement of millions. Actual development and reducing inequality is massively important.


How is that a terrible definition? What do you propose?

What metric do you want? Infant mortality? Life expectancy? Subjective happiness? Unrest? Hunger? Global inequality? All of them are drastically down globally.

Within country inequity? Flat.

https://ourworldindata.org/happiness-and-life-satisfaction/ https://ourworldindata.org/income-inequality/


just a minor gripe: was predictable is lame. you either predict the future or you dont. you dont say that you could have predicted it. i get the point of the article, but its lame when people try to act like the "could have predicted" something, because they are using the fact that it happened.


To be fair, the paper's author published a book titled "Has globalization gone too far?" in 1997.

Book description: "Globalization is exposing social fissures between those with the education, skills, and mobility to flourish in an unfettered world market—the apparent "winners"—and those without. These apparent "losers" are increasingly anxious about their standards of living and their precarious place in an integrated world economy. The result is severe tension between the market and broad sectors of society, with governments caught in the middle. Compounding the very real problems that need to be addressed..."

https://piie.com/bookstore/has-globalization-gone-too-far


One of the first names that comes to my mind regarding the prediction of the right-wing populism is Camille Paglia.

Now while I agree with the point you're trying to make, it seems to me that the main motivation behind the article is that there are political climates when the changes are inevitable; and the question this article is trying to answer is when should we listen to the individuals rather than take the larger picture of the opinion landscape?


Seconding this, the use of predictable actually makes me think the article isn't worth it.


The reason it was predictable can be explained by examining two concepts used in public policy theory:

Pareto Improvement: A change that is an improvement for at least one person and no worse for any other.

Kaldor-Hicks Improvement: A change such that those that are made better off could hypothetically compensate those that are made worse off and lead to a Pareto-improving outcome.

It turns out that people aren't particularly thrilled with hypothetical compensation. Who could ever have imagined that?


Hm... I guess I would have a lot more respect for this author's claim about the predictability of the rise of populism if she(?) has predicted it.

Perhaps she did, but this paper is dated this month.

Not to mention, prediction by itself isn't worth much. Seeing it coming isn't too useful if you can't do something to change course. And being able to change course isn't useful if you can't find a better alternative to change course to.

Globalization didn't arise out of policy decisions. It was a natural consequence of improvements in information technology and transportation technology (exponential in the case of IT). China isn't some distant land. It's our next door neighbor and has a view straight into our living room. Policy can guide or mitigate globalization, but it can't stop it. You would have to roll back the changes in information and transportation to roll globalization back and that might be worse than the cure.

IMO, we should be focusing on policy that will prevent the benefits of globalization accruing only to people at the top, and not on stopping globalization.


People need to realize there is not enough for everyone. Apple just hit 1 billion iphones. Facebook is close to 2 billion. There are 7.5 billion people on earth. They all want iphones, facebook, AC, food, clean water. You can see where this is going and it's not good.

I personally think its almost made worse by the internet and people being connected, they see and feel what they are missing. Most Africans, for example, would kill to be in Europe / USA.


> Most Africans, for example, would kill to be in Europe / USA.

I hope you meant this figuratively, because it is fair to say that it is a completely ridiculous statement otherwise.


Slavoj Žižek Explains Why He Chose Trump (Jan. 2017) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03k-NhQ3AKg


"I am convinced that if we are to get on to the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin [applause], we must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.

A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the Good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho Road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It comes to see than an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. [applause]

A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa, and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say, “This is not just.” It will look at our alliance with the landed gentry of South America and say, “This is not just.” The Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them is not just.

A true revolution of values will lay hand on the world order and say of war, “This way of settling differences is not just.” This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into the veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice, and love. A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death. [sustained applause]"

-Dr. King, Beyond Vietnam (1967)

http://kingencyclopedia.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/documentse...




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