The Casualties of Globalisation

This week’s edition of The Economist has a cover story about globalisation. The feature, entitled The Right way to Help Declining Places laments the populist movements that have recently risen to prominence.

It is no secret that The Economist detests the likes of Trump, Farage and Le Pen. The article beings with a foreboding message:

POPULISM’S wave has yet to crest. That is the sobering lesson of recent elections in Germany and Austria, where the success of anti-immigrant, anti-globalisation parties showed that a message of hostility to elites and outsiders resonates as strongly as ever among those fed up with the status quo.

The magazine suggests that governments should work in partnership with local colleges and universities to find more creative ways of spending tax-payers money. This rather tepid solution does not meet the enormity of a complex problem.  Given the current turmoil that British universities find themselves in. We have to wonder whether they would be productive partners in this relationship.

The logic of the legislators has been to assume that what works for London will work for other parts of the country. However, it is important to realise that not everywhere in Britain wants to be London. While some places like Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, Edinburgh etc. are ambitious. Many places do not want to be transformed, they simply want a better deal.

The left-wing and nationalist desire to legislate and protect communities is understandable albeit mistaken. The response of libertarians on this issue is often predictable; ‘we need to give people more freedom’. But what does this actually mean’?

It is often said in the liberal economic literature that ‘poverty is a gift’. Once wages drop and costs of doing business decreases, the area becomes competitive and business returns. While theoretically sound this idea runs into two practical issues.

Firstly in a society where we are used to a high standard of living such an ordeal would be politically impossible. Secondly, the word freedom is easily distorted. Asking hard-working individuals to accept steep wage cuts while others get tax breaks means we face condemnation for creating a ‘race to the bottom’.

In our current state of affairs, the outlook for these communities looks bleak.

The government’s economic regime is suffocating local communities outside the wealthy South-East. The UK is not alone here, in wealthy economies across the world stagflation reigns supreme.

Negative interest rates, high taxes and short-term investment are stifling many areas in the UK. In order to really help globalisation’s casualties, we need to radically liberalise our economy. Of course, a healthy financial sector is necessary and important. But even these firms are suffering anaemic growth and low returns.

A transition towards a more sensible economy would be painful at first. However, when all the financial tricks have been exhausted. There is little wonder wealth is accumulating in places like London.

An old truism says ‘if you love something let it go’. Contrary to what The Economist argues if governments want to help their ailing communities, they need to set their economies free.


  1. In theory the Economist (as a self described free market roll-back-the-state “Classical Liberal” publication) should be in favour of deregulation, lower government spending, and lower taxes – but in practice it is not.

    For example in the very issue of the Economist that this post refers to the publication attacks (yes attacks) both Donald Trump’s decision to end the ILLEGAL (ruled illegal last year) government Corporate Welfare subsidies to the insurance companies, and attacks Donald Trump’s proposed tax reduction and tax simplification.

    I am no fan of Donald Trump – indeed I spent most of last year denouncing him in the Republican primaries. But I despise the Economist magazine (and it is a magazine – that is a physical fact) a lot more.

    As for the idea of “working with the universities” (that bunch of Frankfurt School of Marxism trash) to “spend public money [i.e. taxpayer money] better”.

    Well I could respond with what I think about the “big idea” of the Economist magazine – but the internet is a public place, and I do want to upset people with curse words.



    1. Quite right,

      It does genuinely worry me that politicians are ignoring people in what we in the UK would call deprived areas.

      I have been watching the BBC’s 10 part documentary on the Vietnam War, It is easy for us to forget how politically explosive the politics of the late 1960s and early 1970s were. Even today it is hard to imagine federal troops shooting university students like in Kent state 1970.

      But this is perplexing- arguably the pressures ramping up across the western world are more severe than in the 60s and 70s. The middle east interventions are more ruinous than Vietnam, economic malaise is far worse than in the 70s, The tensions between black American communities and the police are as bad as they were in the Watts riots- I could go on.

      It is hard not to conclude that we are currently living in a political pressure cooker.

      I don’t think the writers at The Economist realise the extent of the problem.



      1. Well it was Chief Parker who introduced black officers into the LAPD – and he did it before the Watts riot. His real fault was his obsession with fighting corruption – (it is often forgotten that Chief Parker was a reformer – he came back from World War II filled with zeal to end corruption in the police), he took police off walking the streets (putting them in cars) and insisted on as little social contact between police officers and the community as possible – with the predictable result the LAPD got totally alienated from areas such as Watts (Chief Parker may have made the LAPD less corrupt – but he also made it blind and deaf).

        As for today – most of the police officers (including the Chief of Police) in such cities as Baltimore are black – that has not stopped Marxist organisations (such as “Black Lives Matter”) working hard to inflame tensions – with the result that the police have de facto withdrawn for some areas, leading to an increase in the murder rate of BLACK people in those areas (the murder rate had been in decline for decades).

        It was not “Federal troops” at Kent State – it was local National Guard (weekend “soldiers”) who panicked. Of course the late 1960s and early 1970s were a time of when Communist bombings and shootings were common in the United States – this has carefully been put down the “Memory Hole”. But there is still no excuse for cowardly “weekend warriors” panicking and opening fire. Although the M16 is a poor weapon for hitting people with – an M1 or even an M14 can be used as club (to deal with students who are coming at you) an M16 can be used that way – but it is a weak design (as a club) and tends to break. Policemen with batons and shield, not National Guard with M16s, were what was needed.

        As for Indochina – the Communist aggression in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia (backed by both the Soviet Union and Mao’s China – inspite of their differences) involved the murder of millions of civilians by the Communists (mass murder the media carefully ignored – concentrating only on American abuses). Morally the Vietnam war clearer that even World War II – which, after 1941, involved an alliance with “Stalin” one of the largest scale mass murderers in human history. Militarily the strategy the United States followed was utterly absurd (see Admiral Sharp’s “Strategy for Defeat” and Colonel Summer’s “On Strategy”), but that is NOT what the “Anti War Movement” was complaining about. If Julie from Chicago is about the lady will tell you more.

        The Vietnam War was not “economically ruinous” – indeed the share of the economy that went to the military did not really go up much during it (and there was a balanced budget in 1969). The real harm the Vietnam war did was to the military – with spending that should have gone on new ships and aircraft (and so on) going to current (war fighting) spending instead. The increasingly threadbare American military of today (with its ageing equipment and lack of spares) can be traced all the way back to the 1960s – although Ronald Reagan partly reversed the decline in the early 1980s.

        As for today – “war fighting” spending is now a trivial proportion of the Federal budget. The Welfare State now dominates Federal spending. Such things as Food Stamps (only created in 1961) and, far more, government health care spending (unknown before the 1960s).

        As for British politicians “ignoring people in deprived areas” – actually the British government is spending money like a drunken sailor and calling it “austerity”.

        Although I think we agree that what the government thinks of as help actually destroyed local communities – and has been destroying them for a very long time in Britain.


  2. While I am waiting for my comment to turn up, I will write another comment.

    The Spectator magazine has just outdone the Economist magazine in ignorance and stupidity.

    The Spectator wants the government to borrow 50 billion Pounds (on top of the vast borrowing the government is already doing) and spend the money on covering what little is left of the South East of England with yet more urban sprawl.



  3. My apologies, the local Guard “soldiers” at Kent State were still armed with M1 rifles as late as 1970 (not M16s) – the rifle used by American soldiers in World War II.

    The M1 can easily be turned round and used as a club – there is no need to fire it on students. Of course the Guard claimed they had come under sniper fire, but there is is no proof of that (my view remains that they panicked – especially as the students shot were quite some distance away).



    1. Thank you for your comments Paul- Very enlightening.

      I definately agree the late 60s early 70s in many ways still has a massive impact on our world today. Part of the reason the Veitnam war was so controversial was how it was handled politically. We went from a culture that generally trusted politicians to a society that emphatically does not trust their elected officials. The lies and deceit that went into conducting that war was staggering.

      But then, the anti-war movement helped galvanise the wave of libertarians who dominated the scene in the 1980s. Rothbard being the most famous.

      Watergate was perhaps the least serious scandal of that period. Which says a lot.

      Compared to the 1960s we live in a passive and apathetic time. The economic crash of 2008 should have had more serious ramifications than it has done. It is interesting too see lefties romticise the occupy movement, when it was in fact a horrendous failure. Furthermore, unlike the Great Depression or the 70s downturn, the 2008 crash has seen no serious change in our economic programme. Perhaps the consequences of this event will be more long term.

      It is becoming increasingly apparent that the current stock of political leaders are unable to offer a viable alternative to debtocracy…



      1. Yes – neither side in the 1960s trusted the government. The left hated President Johnson for not being a Marxist (he was a Big Government Populist – what the Romans would have called a Populari) and the right hated Johnson (and Nixon – by 1971, the imposition of price controls) for not wanting to actually win the war and for having no coherent set of beliefs to counter Marxism with (the same was true of Nixon). Even during the Korean War there was no real intention in Washington D.C. to actually WIN the war (which could have been done easily – remember China was utterly smashed by many years of war with Japan, and America was half the entire production of the world) – but for ordinary people, civilian or military, the political games are not what war should be about. Such things as not blowing up the bridges into China from Korea made no sense to ordinary people – because ordinary people assumed the objective of war is victory (which was not the objective of the ruling elites in government).

        Of course most people are neither right or left – they are just baffled. But, in a confused way, the general public got the general idea that politicians were not to be trusted.

        Baffling that many of the same people who distrust politicians want government to do everything.


  4. For the view from the reportorial floor in 1981, see the piece “How to Lose a War: The Press and Viet Nam,” at

    This is as presented in Session 12 of the “Myths of Viet Nam Conference,” held in July of 2004. Most of the speakers were V-N vets, or reporters. There are transcripts of all the proceedings, and also A-V of many, though the quality of these is not so great. Recommended, and especially Session 8, which includes a presentation by Prof. Robert F. Turner, who is an attorney and the co-founder of the Center for National Security Law at the U. of Virginia. (Probably retired by now.)

    For those who subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Turner wrote an article in April, 2015, entitled “Saigon’s Fall Still Echoes Today.” I don’t subscribe, but the piece begins,

    Four decades ago this week, in what was then Saigon, I was trying to facilitate the evacuation of orphans as North Vietnam’s armed forces approached the city. I had left the U.S. Army after two tours in Vietnam and had returned to do what I could to help as America fled a war — a fight for freedom — that it had shamefully chosen to forfeit.

    Dr. Turner also wrote an excellent book, Vietnamese Communism: Its Origins and Development, which unfortunately is out of print. Amazon may have used copies; also check eBay and See the editorial description at,204,203,200_QL40_&dpSrc=srch


    Also reportedly very good is Mark Moyar’s book Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965. Mr.Moyar discusses his book on C-Span at

    C-Span’s description:

    Moderator was John Norton Moore [Co-founder of the UVa Center for National Security Law]. Mr. Moyar talked about why he thinks it was important for the U.S. to go to war in Vietnam and examined the build-up to our full-scale involvement in the mid-1960s. He argued that South Vietnam President Diem, who was overthrown in 1963, has been wrongfully characterized in the U.S. as being an incompetent tyrant. He also criticized the coverage of the Vietnam War by David Halberstam and Neil Sheehan and said that Ho Chi Mihn was not a nationalist leader as is commonly believed. After his presentation he responded to questions from members of the audience.

    This official book launch took place at the Hilton Garden Inn in Fairfax, Virginia, under the sponsorship of the Center for National Security Law of the University of Virginia.

    He also discussed the book in a talk before the U.S. Army War College, available at



  5. I’ve just finished watching the C-Span video of Dr. Moyar’s presentation on the V-N War, as linked above (to, and it will certainly be an eye-opener to those whose interest in it is serious. He explains how a good deal of what has been denounced as claptrap and lies by the press and pundits over the years is in fact confirmed in records and statements from Hanoi and other sources.

    Dr. Turner introduces Dr. Moyar, and mentions a bit about his own findings and bona fides in this area.

    It’s a “must-see”!



    1. Thank you Julie.

      Some of my first political memories are of the Vietnam war – and it distresses me (and, I dare say, it distresses you even more) to see some libertarians trot out (as truth) the lies of the Marxists and the Fellow Travellers.



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