27 September 2016

Strangers & Globalisation

This is another para that I've decided to cut from an essay, but don't want to just throw away. I wish I'd kept more of these edits over the years!
"The concerns over immigration in the UK need to be seen not simply as racist or some kind of phobia to strangers (i.e. xenophobia). We are social primates, for us xenophobia is a feature not a bug. Outsiders cause us stress, mostly because we don't know what norms they follow. If we are not assured that most people are following the norms most of the time we will naturally (and completely normally) be anxious. It goes to the heart of our being. It's all very well for liberals to scoff, but I think we've seen recently that liberals don't really understand people. They have fluffed a number of important confrontations because they treat people with contempt. In the UK it has meant leaving the European Union at an inopportune moment. In the USA it has allowed Donald Trump to get the Republican nomination and put him ahead in the polls as I write. We are seeing a general resurgence of nationalism and tribalism - because this is less stressful for most people than globalisation and mass migration. The break down in the Balkans. The rifts along religious and ethnic lines in the Middle East. Britain leaving the EU. In the background many Scots want to leave the UK; Catalans want to leave Spain and so on. In Europe we are also seeing the rise of far-right, nationalist, political parties. For Europeans to be entertaining Fascism again is by the far the most striking augury of our times. We cannot simply override the needs of social primates and expect them to be content. And discontent is an unpredictable force in society."
"Globalisation was instituted in the 18th Century and then reinstituted in the 1970s and 1980s because it makes more profit for the 1%. It's not because it makes the world better, unless by "better" you mean the rich get richer. The four freedoms of the EU, including the free movement of labour and capital are central pillars of Neoliberalism. They undermine pay and working conditions in richer countries which means that companies make more profits. And then they allow those companies to take their profits offshore to tax havens where government cannot tax them. Globalisation is not for the little people, not for the 99%, there is no benefit to ordinary people in globalisation."

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