Liberalism’s Failure

Liberalism’s Failure, by Taylor Lewis.

The new battle lines are drawn: nationalism versus globalism; populism versus technocracy; provincials versus urban dwellers; God-and-country patriotism versus allegiance-less individualism. …

Socially immobile and invisible to the global economy, France’s working class is feeling the squeeze of modernity’s hypercapitalism. “In the shopping malls the cashiers are lined up like cattle for the slaughter,” said a sommelier by the name of Thierry Corona. “And immigrants arrive and they immediately get handouts!” …

The West has been beset with a bad case of liberal fatigue. The open borders, open trade, open society model inspired by the Enlightenment, honed by the U.S. Constitution, and codified by postwar governments and international institutions is beginning to sputter.

Society is as rich as it has ever been, and yet we’re more miserable than ever. What happened? The promises of globalism have all been delivered. Free movement of people and capital has been a boon for hedge fund profits and stock prices. Yet the prosperity hasn’t stopped anxiety from inching upward, or plain people from stupefying themselves with drugs. “Why is neoliberalism failing?” is the great question of the 21st century. …

Globalism brings  the wages of interchangeable workers to the same level everywhere — China, India, Poland, England. There are winners and losers. The elite are those who aren’t interchangeable, so they get good wages themselves, employ others cheaply, and get cheap goods — big winners. But…

Tracing the story of a Cadbury chocolate factory’s move from England to Poland, Meek details the decline of morale that follows the loss of local expectations. For nearly a century, residents of Keynsham knew that their local Cadbury confectionery plant was a source of employment. Then, on Oct. 3, 2007, it all changed. The word went out that the factory was to shut down and move to Skarbimierz, Poland. Just like that, come 2011, one hundred years of history were rubbed out thanks to a closed-boardroom decision. As Meek writes, the factory’s leaving meant the loss of “highly paid, permanent, solidly pensioned jobs…not because [the workers] had done anything wrong, or because their products weren’t selling, or because the factory was unprofitable, but because their Polish replacements could do the same job for less than one fifth of the money.” …

Talk of market temperance is unheard of in the higher echelons of Western society. Those comfortably seated in the high perches of prosperity have made their peace with profit-seeking. Hillary Clinton’s urging of her supporters to focus on racism and not Wall Street bonuses showed just how far today’s liberals are willing to go to keep their enriched positions. …

The stubborn little flame that is the middle class in these countries will only get hotter. It won’t be snuffed out by Walmart shelves stocked full of cheap Chinese trinkets. It won’t be extinguished with gobs of cheap labor imported from afar.

Immigration from the third world pours petrol on this fire.